Dog Days of Summer

Merritt Milam | May 22, 2017

Tips for playing with your dog this summer

Hip, hip, hooray, the dog days of summer are finally here! At Wags ‘n Whiskers in Birmingham, we could not be more excited to spend this season playing outside with our dogs in beautiful Alabama! Whether we are hiking Ruffner Mountain, swimming in Lake Martin or laying poolside around town, we love enjoying summertime to its fullest with our furry friends.

While we know the best part of summer is relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors with our dogs, there are several tips pet owners need to keep in mind while enjoying this season.

Never Leave Your Pooch in the Car

Alabama summers can become extremely hot, leaving both humans and their pets easily dehydrated and overheated. When dealing with the extreme heat of the summer, remember to never leave your pet in the car, even for a minute with the air condition on or the windows down. Birmingham’s hot and humid summer days will cause the temperature in the car to hastily rise to dangerously hot temperatures. For example, according to the Humane Society of the United States, on an 85-degree day with the windows cracked, temperatures in the car can rise to above 102-degrees within 10 minutes. After 20 more minutes, temperatures can reach over 120-degrees, which can cause permanent organ damage or lead to death. Always be thoughtful and prepared when you’re driving with your pet, and think about whether you will need to stop to run some errands. If that is the case, research the places you’ll be stopping to see if they’re pet-friendly. If they aren’t, it’s always safer to either drop your dog off at Camp Wags for doggy daycare or leave your pet at home to keep him safe from the heat. For more information on ways to protect your dog from the scorching summer heat, check out our blog about national heat awareness day, which discusses humidity, exercise and signs of a heat stroke.

Prepare for Safe Summer Swims

In Alabama, most of us spend those lazy summer days and long holiday weekends hanging out at Lake Martin, Logan Martin Lake or Smith Lake with our pups in tow! While there are several dog breeds that love water, there are many such as pugs, bulldogs, and other dogs with short snouts that are not suited for swimming. Always remember that swimming is tiring and it’s easier for a dog to drown when he is tired. To be safe, invest in a dog life vest – we love Ruffwear’s float coat! While it may be tempting for your dog to drink lake water, it’s not good for them. Lake water can be home to parasites and algae, which can make your pup sick!

Feed Them Healthy Summer Snacks

Watermelon is the staple summer fruit in the South and is the perfect snack to help keep you cool during the June and July heat. Lucky for dog owners, sharing our favorite snack with our pups is a healthy, nutritional treat. Watermelons are packed full of potassium, vitamin A, B6 and C and are mostly water, which is a great way to hydrate your dog on a hot day. There are a few things to keep in mind, however. Make sure to remove the seeds when feeding watermelon to your pooch, as it could cause a blockage in their intestines. Additionally, be sure not give a dog the rind to chew on because it could upset their sensitive bellies.

With these tips in mind, you and your dog are set to have a blast this summer!