Warm weather means more outdoor time for dogs. It also means dangers for dogs. Don’t let hidden warm weather dangers lurking in the shadows ruin the time spent enjoying the great outdoors with your dog. Aside from the higher temperatures, there are a whole host of indoor warm weather issues that pose a danger to dogs. From toxins to insect bites, and chemical free ways to enjoy spring and season, here are 10 particular elements we pay attention to this time of year and encourage you to do the same.
1. Fleas and Ticks
New data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates the number of reported cases of diseases transmitted through the bites of blood-feeding ticks, mosquitos, and fleas has nearly tripled nation-wide over a 13-year span. From 2004 to 2016, a total of 642,602 cases of diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas were reported to CDC. Even scarier, the combined incidence of reported anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis, which are tick-borne bacterial diseases, rose almost every year, as did spotted fever. Our very own dog, Dexter, knows all too well about these statistics, as he was a victim of a tick immune-mediated disease in 2017, which thankfully is now in remission. Of note, the disease nearly killed my dog. You read that right: A tick nearly killed my dog. Prevention is key.
Our friends at Dr. Harvey’s have a non-chemical based solution to add an additional layer of prevention to your dog’s flea and tick prevention routine. Since learning of the Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Protection Spray, I keep a bottle in the storage closet and a bottle in the dog’s travel bag for our frequent walks and park adventures. You simply spray this herbal protection on your dog before and/or after going outside. It has no dangerous chemicals in it, no nasty DEET, and no perfumes in case you or your dog have allergies or sensitivities to added scents. Since it is made of essential oils and organic material, it is gentle, has a natural herbal fragrance, and an affordable layer of additional protection. We firmly believe the more non-chemical protection you can provide to your dog, the better off you will be to win the battle against fleas and ticks.
“Paw-“er Tip: We check Dexter after every outdoor experience by running a double row flea and tick comb through his coat.
2. Chemicals in Flea and Tick Prevention
Preventing the majority of the dangers of warmer weather can be achieved with a bit of due diligence. Avoid dangerous chemicals that can harm your dog, seep into his or her bloodstream, and cause horrible side effects or even death. I will never again use a chemical-based spot on for my dogs for a host of reasons, all of which are safety issues that involve my dog’s health and overall well being.
Because I live in a densely populated with ticks and fleas area, knowing what NOT to apply to my dog is imperative. Fleas and ticks aren’t fond of a dog who is generally healthy, so a good diet is part of the plan to keep fleas and ticks away. It isn’t the panacea and only factor.
Regarding chemicals, we are all about caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. My mantra is this: I will not apply anything to my dog nor have him ingest something that I would not use or ingest myself. A chemical flea preventative nearly killed my first Cocker Spaniel, and I never want to risk chemicals bothering my dog.Back in 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noticed an increase in pet incidents being reported involving spot-on pesticide products for pets. An investigation revealed improper usage for some of those reported incidents, but not all. The sheer volume of dog parents I’ve met and the experiences with my own dogs and chemical spot-ons has taken us on a path of non-chemical preventatives against fleas and ticks.
In addition to non-chemical spot ons like the one mentioned above, I also bathe my dog with the Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Protection Shampoo.
Fact: Not all dog shampoos are created equal and moreover, many of them could actually do serious damage to a dog’s skin and internal organs. Realizing this, I talked to my friends at Dr. Harvey’s and started using their herbal protection shampoo as a safe alternative to chemical shampoos and as an additional layer of defense against fleas and ticks. Avoid any dog shampoos that contain: Sulfates, parabens, phosphates, DEA, perfumes, or synthetic dyes. You want a shampoo that is cruelty free.
Easy to rinse and containing none of the dangerous additives or chemicals, Dexter smells fresh, his coat glistens, and most of all, I feel good in knowing he is fighting off fleas and ticks. Bonus points because Dr. Harvey’s products are never ever tested on animals.
3. Expired Food and Treats
This is one of those, “Oh My Dawg, why didn’t I ever check that” things that dog parents tell me they are not doing on a semi-regular basis. We check to see if our human milk is expired and we certainly don’t eat bad fruit or veggies, so why should we expose our dogs to edibles that are bad? When is the last time you checked your dog’s treat and dog food expiration dates? Sometimes, the container or package that contain dog food and treats is the culprit; other times, it is human error.
Stale food should be avoided, as bacteria can quickly infiltrate improperly stored dog food. Double-check that all containers are airtight and sealed properly. Dispose of any expired canned foods. Consider introducing a healthier dog food and dog treats into your pup’s diet. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for a fresh start.
I went into sugar shock, of the metaphoric sense, on a recent trip to a box store. As I perused the dog treat aisle, the number of dog treats with sugar as an ingredient was shocking, to say the least. The correlation between overweight dogs in the United States and Canada and the improper balance of ingredients in what they eat is alarming. Diabetes is on the rise in dogs. Just say no to sugar.
As a Dr. Harvey’s fan of over 20 years, one of my dog’s favorites is Le Dogue Bites, a totally natural, single ingredient dog treat. Le Dogue Bites are tiny bits of meat with no fillers. These treats contain no added salt, sugar, preservatives, coloring agents or any synthetic ingredients. He also plays with his indoor doggie games filled with Le Dogue Bites. I feel good about them because he is eating healthy and doesn’t even realize it. We gave our Facebook Cocker pal, Angus, some of the Dr. Harvey’s Sweet Potate’r Chews, and his reaction speaks for itself:
4. Noise Phobia and Thunderstorm Fear
Imagine this scenario: Someone walks into the room you are in, and unannounced, without warning, said person presses the button on the loudest air horn ever. You are startled, upset, perhaps shaken, and the sound won’t stop. The person brings 50 of his or her closest friends to your area and each person has their own air horn. The sound of each air horn is louder than the previous one. This goes on all day and you never know when the next air horn will go off. You aren’t allowed to leave because the doors are locked.
In the course of the day, you should remember to eat and drink and go to the bathroom, where of course, the air horns could go off at any time. You should go about your normal activities of daily living.
Does this sound like fun?
Welcome to what fireworks and thunderstorms feel like to dogs who fear them.
We are implementing a few things this year for our fireworks and thunderstorm fearful dog. One of the items we are using is the Dr. Harvey’s Relax stress and anxiety supplement. What I like about it is its ease of use, the fact that its a powdered supplement that may be used as an all-natural aid to calm dogs, without harmful side effects. You can use it all the time if you have a super anxious dog just to take an edge off, or according to the Wendy Shankin-Cohen, President and CEO of Dr. Harvey’s, “This supplement can be used as needed. Some people give it on any day when they know there will be stress, i.e., a vet visit, groomer visit, car ride, separation, bad weather or fireworks. Other people use it daily for very anxious dogs who need it daily. It is safe to use daily or intermittently as needed.”
A scoop is provided in the container, and you use it according to your dog’s weight. It does not need to build up in the body and works quickly, within an hour after being mixed in food.
5. Water Dangers
6. Lethal Landscaping and Toxic Plants
Don’t expose your dog to seemingly innocuous spring pet poisons like:
- Lily of the Valley
One of the pet insurance health agencies states that these are some plants are reported to be toxic to dogs, cats, or rabbits:
- Day Lily
- Death Camas
- Easter Lily
- Lily of the Valley
- Morning Glory
- Tiger Lily
There are many other poisonous plants…many of which may be in your household or garden right now. Proceed with caution.
Airborne allergy sufferers, this is going to be a rough year. Have you seen the viral pollen video making its rounds online? A New Jersey man wanted to show just how problematic the pollen is this year, so he drove a backhoe into a tree at work, capturing a seasonal storm of pollen shooting into the air:
Now imagine your dog. He or she walks all over this stuff, whether in the woods, on a tree-lined street, or on concrete where pollen and other airborne nasties land and make their way onto your dog’s paws and coat. The word “allergy” gets tossed around like a rubber duck on ocean waves. What some call an allergy might just be a food sensitivity in dogs.
There are food allergies and there are food intolerances. There are dogs who are sensitive to certain food ingredients and there are dogs who have allergic reactions to things in the environment. There is a subspecialty of veterinary medicine that involves dermatology. Seek a specialist if symptoms are ongoing. Do you seek the help of a specialist in times of need? The same should hold true for your dog.
Pollen is something that people are allergic to and it manifests as sneezing or stuffiness. With dogs, they may sneeze but are more likely to develop skin or ear infections or start biting or scratching themselves. The reason for this is that allergens get absorbed through a pet’s skin whereas with people we inhale pollen.
We’ve written extensively here at Fidose of Reality about itchy dogs. At the very least, keep dog paws clean, wipe when they return home, bathe paws at least once or twice a week, and for ease of doing so, set up a little plastic tub to use right by your door so that you can stick the paws in it when you return from outside.
“Pawer” Tip: My go-to product that is ALWAYS in my purse and Dexter’s first aid kit is Harvey’s Organic Healing Cream. This is a miracle cream in a jar, and I am even using it. I am not one to be easily sold on claims of a product being a miracle, but this one sets the bar high. Dr. Harvey’s Organic Healing Cream is a combination of healing herbs in a base of organic shea butter. This cream is used for minor skin irritations, hot spots, rashes, cuts, sunburn and itching. It is great for human bug bites, too! I use it on Dexter’s paw pads: They are oh so smooth and soft now. Excessive or frequent walking or running can also wear a paw pad down. A common myth in among dog parents is that a dog’s paws need no protection; after all, they’ve been walking around without socks or shoes for thousands of years, right? True, but a dog’s paws do need protection.
8. Vehicle Dangers
Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Not only is he/she susceptible to heatstroke and/or death but also theft. UV rays are as harmful to pets as they are to humans, even in an air-conditioned car. Vet-recommended sunblock and in-car sun shades will keep your dog safeguarded en route and during your stay. A dog’s coat protects them in the summer and provides warmth in the winter, so use caution in grooming. short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. When traveling anywhere with a dog, ensure he or she is belted or in a kennel and has access to clean, cool water to stay hydrated.
9. Seasonal Injuries
Dogs are generally less active or even become couch potatoes (don’t we all) in the colder months. It takes time to go from very little exercise to let’s play outdoor mode! One of the most common tears in a dog’s leg is that of the cranial cruciate ligament, CCL, sometimes called ACL. We know this because we have dealt with two ACL tears and surgical repairs in our dog. Many times, a veterinarian will perform an in-office “drawer test” on the dog suspected of an ACL tear. It is a manual manipulation of the knee joint by a veterinarian. Here’s our Everything Guide to ACL Injuries that will help guide you and your dog if an ACL tear is suspected.
IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, affects the discs that cushion the spine: between the spinal column itself and the vertebrae. The discs bulge or herniated (burst) into the spinal cord space. Dragging the rear legs, a hobble gait, seeming off balance, or refusing to walk may indicate a spinal or disc injury
Start dogs out slowly with leashed walks, work into longer walks, and if the dog is trained for voice command and/or at a dog park, increase the amount of time and type of activity allowed.
10. Dry Skin and Shedding
Dry skin and excessive shedding is may be indicative of a health problem in dogs. After a long winter, a coat may get dry and the skin may show winter wear. Once your dog has seen a veterinarian to rule out any underlying causes, consider supplementation. One of my favorite supplements that I’ve used on both my Cocker Spaniels for over 20 years is salmon oil, which contains Omega 3. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are important fatty acids for both people and dogs because they cannot be made in the body. The only source of EPA and DHA for these species is through the diet and/or supplementation. Daily supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids helps support optimal health, so we do that.
In addition to helping with skin and coat, a quality fish oil capsule like Health and Shine from Dr. Harvey’s may help with heart health and circulation along with join stiffness and other inflammation throughout the dog’s body! You give one of these capsules per day in the dog’s food per 20 pounds of body weight. I just pierce the gel cap with a sharp knife and put the oil right on the food.
Shopping and Savings
Here are all of the products we mentioned above along with where you can purchase them. If you head over to the Dr. Harvey’s website and enter code FD119 at checkout, you will save 10 percent off your entire order.
Flea and Tick Preventative Non-Chemical:Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Protection Spray
Non-Toxic Chemical-Free Dog Shampoo: Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Protection Shampoo.
Anxiety and Stress in Dogs: Dr. Harvey’s Relax stress and anxiety supplement
Miracle Paw Cream: Harvey’s Organic Healing Cream
Fish Oil Capsules: Health and Shine
What do you do to prepare your dog for warmer outdoor weather? Any tips we missed? Questions? Let us know in the comments below. Have fun and be safe out there! Your dogs depend on you!