~courtesy of The Jackson Sun~
(Family Features) Before heading outdoors, make sure your pet is ready for the season. Dr. Kemba Marshall, PetSmart veterinarian and pet care expert, knows it's important to pay extra attention to your pet when temperatures climb.
"Pet parents can make sure their pets stay comfortable, happy and healthy by preparing for the day ahead," says Dr. Marshall. She suggests these tips for pet parents looking to include their canine companions in warm-weather activities.
Keep pets groomed.
A winter indoors often leaves pets with dry skin, tangled fur and a thick undercoat, which begins to shed when the weather warms. Take your dog to a professional grooming salon, like those found in PetSmart stores, to help keep them cool with services like a bath, brush or hair cut to remove loose hair. Have their skin and coat moisturized with a soothing conditioner and their nails trimmed.
After grooming, brush your dog frequently and trim nails regularly to keep them clean and minimize dirt and debris collected from playing outdoors. Keep grooming tools, such as the Martha Stewart Pets Massager Brush and nail clippers, handy by hanging them behind the back door or tucking them into a basket.
Keep pets hydrated.
Pets need lots of water, especially when it's hot. Be sure to pack extra bottles of water for your dog when heading outdoors for a long hike, walk, jog or trip to the park. "Remember, if you're feeling hot, tired and thirsty, your pet likely feels the same way," says Dr. Marshall. Wet food also helps pets stay hydrated, so consider adding wet food to dry kibble, along with extra water.
Keep pets sheltered.
While the outdoors beckon pets to play, high temperatures can be dangerous. Keep your pet indoors during the hottest part of the day to help them avoid such conditions as dehydration, heatstroke and paw injuries from overheated pavement.
Consider taking your dog to an indoor play center to keep them happy, such as the Doggie Day Camp at PetSmart. They'll spend the day interacting and exercising with other dogs and trained pet-loving professionals while you're at work or running errands.
Keep pets pest-free.
Pets are susceptible to a variety of bugs and pests - especially fleas and ticks. While fleas can trigger allergies and dermatitis, ticks may carry zoonotic diseases, which can be passed to humans. Purchase preventative collars and topical treatments to protect your pet. And after every outdoor trip, inspect pets carefully for ticks and other insects to ensure their safety.
Get pets ready to hit the road.
- Prepare pets for a long road trip in a crate by taking them on short drives while running errands around town. Your pet will acclimate to traveling in his crate before your vacation. Remember, however, not to leave pets in hot cars while you go into a store.
- Try using pheromone sprays and toys, which may help the pet feel calmer while inside his crate. Avoid plush toys, which can shred and be ingested.
- Dog training classes are a good way to be sure your pet is comfortable in different environments and around new faces.
Going camping with pets.
- Protect your dog's feet with hiking booties. Come into the store with your dog so that booties can be fit properly. Always remove the booties when you reach your destination or return to the campground so paws don't get overheated.
- Avoid direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day and walk in shaded areas when possible.
- Always keep a fresh supply of drinking water on hand for your pet, and be sure to offer water at least hourly while hiking.