It’s been a while since Zoe, my VP, had a cameo, and this list of pet tips seemed timely given the increasing heat, for pet owners.  On the “paws” of her first 5K :), it’s a great reminder that hydration is critical for pets.

Thanks to Brad Kriser, healthy pet expert and owner of Kriser’s, a specialist in all natural pet food, grooming and toys, for the following summer preparedness ideas to help pets and parents.

·         Beware Hot Asphalt and Hot Sand: Dogs’ paw pads can be very sensitive to that hot sun on the ground. Try to walk your dogs on grass or use a dense, barrier wax such as Mushers Secret to your protect pups paws.

·         Lather Up: Dogs who have received a summer cut or have light-colored hair are more prone to sunburn. Make sure to use sunscreen to ensure delicate skin stays protected.

·         Never Leave a Pet in Your Car: Even in 70 degree weather, a car left with its windows closed (or only partially opened) becomes much hotter than that very quickly, creating a hazardous situation for your pup that could lead to dehydration or even death.

·         Summer Picnic Red Flags: It’s fun to take your pooch along for the picnic, but don’t let him get into the picnic food.  Alcohol, grapes, chocolate, raisins, and onions are toxic to our pets.

·         Avoid Cocoa Bean Mulch: This popular backyard fertilizer cannot be used with families that have pets. It is very toxic to dogs, and if ingested in large quantities, is fatal. Use a nontoxic alternative such as cedar or shredded pine.

·         Dehydration: Watch for signs of dehydration including excessive drooling and panting, pale gums and lethargy. Keep fresh water with you and remember that it’s easy for you to get on the bike and ride 5 miles but it is a lot of work for your pet who may be out of shape from a long winter.  Editor’s Note:  This is really important – consider bringing ice cubes if you think your dog will gulp too quickly.

·         Fourth of July Safety: Avoid taking your dogs to a fireworks show or parade – crowds and loud noises can spike their anxiety. If you must, make sure that their collar and/or harness fits securely in case your pet gets nervous.