Summer is commonly thought to be the time for vacations, sun and fun. Today our pets are often a big part of that....

The summer heat and sun can take its toll on our pets as well as us. Hot streets, sidewalks, beaches along with the intense sun can add stress to our playful pets. At times, we find ourselves feeling less hungry, tired all the time, a little moody and basically not feeling well.

Are we sick or are these symptoms brought on by the weather and environment?

If we feed our pets a diet primarily comprised of dry food and kibble, then they are already starting off dehydrated. In many cases their body is also fighting inflammation which can contribute to heat exhaustion. The dehydration also contributes to achy joints.

Now let’s observe what happens when you add a fun, physically challenging workout, whether it’s longer walks or runs, playing Frisbee or fetch, swimming and other activities on those hot surfaces. Are their feet burning? Are they panting hard to cool down? Are they pushing their limits to please us?

If your pet is to be a part of your summer fun and games, you need to take precautions and have the right products readily available. Start with a species appropriate healthy diet to maximize overall condition. Remember that an all natural, raw, wet food also can contribute to the body's hydration. Their appetite may increase as we increase activity. We recommend having cold natural spring water available and maybe adding an appropriate electrolyte supplement to it to maintain proper hydration. Their feet can be protected and treated with a natural paw protection wax or even a pair of puppy sneakers.

If you’ve removed their coat by grooming, you may need to provide a tee shirt if you’re going to be in direct sun. Remember some pets are also susceptible to sunburn. The tee shirt can also be soaked in chilled water to cool the body.

If they’ve been swimming, a cool shower to rinse off the salt, sand and chlorine is mandatory. There are excellent products, such as the Deluxe Pet Washer from Conair Pro, available to make this job easier. It is a portable device that can used both indoors and outdoors as well.

You should also have a good botanically formulated, non-drying shampoo available for bathing. This is important as you may need to shampoo more often than normal because of the swimming and salt exposure. Most of these botanical products can be used safely on a regular basis.

When you are traveling for vacation or even basic summer fun, your pet may be exposed to new and foreign environments exposing them to even more parasites such as fleas, ticks, various worms and heartworm carrying mosquitoes. There are great natural repellent and treatment products available that do not have the side effects like many of the veterinary drugs on the market today. Any preventative products may lose effectiveness because of the constant swimming and bathing. Again, most of these botanical products can be used safely on a regular basis.

These tips can help keep your pets both safe and healthy while you enjoy your time in the sun. The key is to be safe and to stay cool!

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