Summer's here - off and on, at least. And when it's on, it's a time to enjoy the heat.
Apart from opportunities at the beach, picnics, backyard barbecues, and various outdoor activities that the summer sunshine affords, it also has its hazards - especially for family members whose special needs can be easily overlooked during the fun and festivity of summer enjoyment.
Dogs cannot cool themselves as effectively as we humans can, so special care has to be taken to ensure they don't suffer from crippling - or fatal - heat stroke.
Dogsafe (www.dogsafe.ca) canine first aid instructors offer some tips to keep your four-footed friends cool in the summer heat:
- Always keep some cool water handy to drink. Don't assume there will be water easily available on a walk or downtown.
- Freeze a chunk of rope or porous dog toys after soaking them in broth or canine electrolyte replacement - a great cooling treat.
- Take your dog swimming, hose him down lots, or provide access to a wading pool or lawn sprinkler. Have your dog wear a life jacket when enjoying a swim in deeper water.
- Avoid direct sun exposure, to prevent sunburn, overheating and skin cancer. This is especially important for dogs with short white hair and pink skin.
- And never leave your dog in the car on a warm day - temperatures can soar within a few minutes, regardless of whether or not the windows are open an inch or two or the vehicle is parked in the shade.
You may notice that many of the tips for dog safety can also be applied - perhaps with some modifications - to your children. It's no coincidence, after all, that the first children's rights legal victory in North America was won in a New York courtroom a century ago, by invoking the SPCA Act.