FUN IN THE SUN: SAFEGUARDING YOUR PET AROUND THE WATER AND FROM THE BURNING RAYS OF THE SUN

Keeping your Pet Safe around the Water

With summer fast approaching, you want to make sure that your pet is well
protected and enjoys the warmer temperatures just as much as you do.
Unfortunately, some pet owners do not realize that their canine friends are not
natural born swimmers, so dog drownings can and do occur.

What's more, dogs can get sick if they drink from the water in lakes or ponds
or suffer ill effects from ingesting chlorine.

So, if you are planning on taking your dog on a summer vacation or a hiking trip, make sure you also carry a lot of fresh water with you.

How Dog Drownings Occur

In the case of drownings, most of these unfortunate mishaps occur when a dog swims out too far and does not have enough energy to return. A dog who is tired too who goes into the water may drown because he does not possess the stamina to continue swimming. Dogs can drown as well if they fall into, say, a swimming pool and have difficulty getting out of the water. Getting caught in a stream's current can also make it impossible for a dog to swim back to shore.

Buy your Pet a Life Jacket

So, if you plan to be around the water this summer, make sure you stay with your pet at all times. Buy your pet a life jacket to ensure his safety, especially if he is an older dog or puppy. Dogs that generally have difficulty swimming are Doberman pinschers and basset hounds. Therefore, breeds that feature short legs and heavy bodies or long legs and lean bodies, in many cases, can have problems with swimming. You can check for your dog's agility in the water by observing his expression or body language. Dogs that are not natural-born swimmers often look wide-eyed, have laid back ears, or convey an undue amount of nervousness.

Dry off your Dog after He Swims in a Pool

However, if your dog is confident about taking the plunge and likes the water, then make sure you thoroughly dry him when he is finished swimming. Remove any chlorine, salt or chemicals from his coat. Dry his ears as well to lower the possibility of infection.

Sun-sensitive Breeds

In addition to keeping your pet safe in and around the water, you'll also need to make sure that he is protected from the possibility of sunburn too. Just like people, dogs are susceptible to the effects of the sun's UV rays. Usually, dogs with shorter coats or ones which are paler are more vulnerable. Sunburn typically appears in such areas as the nose, the ears, inside the legs, and around the abdomen. The breeds most likely to get sunburn include the:

-- Boxer
-- Dalmatian
-- Weinmaraner
-- Greyhound
-- American pitbull terrier

Preventing Sunburn

Even if you don't own any of the aforementioned breeds, you should take the following sunburn precautions. For instance:

-- Keep you canine indoors from 10:00 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon, or during the peak hours of sunlight

-- Dress your dog in a t-shirt if he is prone to burn and goes out during the hours when the sun's rays are the strongest

-- Provide a shady area in the yard for him to play or rest, or keep him shaded with an umbrella if you go to the beach

-- Apply a sunblock or a sunscreen to exposed areas, such as the ears and nose. Make sure that the SPF is at least 15 and that the sunscreen does not contain zinc oxide or PABA, both which can be toxic

Read the Label on the Sunscreen before you Buy It

Zinc oxide or PABA can cause a dog to become ill if they are ingested. For example, symptoms resulting from overconsumption of zinc can lead to lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver or kidney failure. Therefore, try to find a sunscreen especially made for pets, taking special care to note the ingredients. That's because some of the ingredients, such as propylene glycol or octyl methoxycinnamate, (featured in pet sunscreens that are considered "safe") can cause possible health problems. Some screens even contain zinc oxide and PABA - two of the ingredients that you should avoid.