Monday, May 20, 2013

Fun In The Sun: The Mindful Dog's Summer Tip Guide For You and Your Dog

Summer is just around the corner.   With this wonderful season comes wonderful fun:  BBQ, going to the beach, hiking and camping and so much more.  And so many of us want to share that fun with our dog(s).  So here are a few tips from us on having fun with your pup and keeping him safe and healthy!

BBQ:  Who doesn't love bbq?  Everything tastes better off the grill.  And of course, many of us like to "share" a  bit of that with our pup.  However, be careful what you share.  Corn on the cob is delicious but the cob can lodge in a dog's throat or intestines and cause damage or worse.  For us meat eaters, how awesome are bbq ribs?  And, of course we would love to give that leftover  bone to the dog but please don't.   The only safe bones for dogs are raw because when bones are cooked, it makes them brittle and susceptible to splintering which can rupture a dog's trachea and/or intestines.  Onions and garlic are also dangerous for dogs.  So let your pup enjoy a bit of that rib without the bone or scrape a little corrn off the cob for him.  This way, you both enjoy the bbq with no dangers.

HIKING:  Summertime hikes are so enjoyable and it's even better when we can bring our dogs along to enjoy the trees, the forest and the mountains.  Just be cautious of the unwanted visitors that can come with that wonderful jaunt.  Depending on where  you live, there can be poisonous snakes to be wary of.  Many people we know undergo rattlesnake prevention courses with their dogs to teach dogs to stay away from poisonous snakes.  There are also vaccinations in case your dog is bitten which can extend their life  until proper care is obtained.  However, these vaccinations are highly unpredictable and can cause very dangerous side affects.  Our advice is prevention.  Stay on the trail and even though it may not seem to be as enjoyable, keep your pup on a leash.

Other party poopers for hiking are fleas and especially ticks.  You can give your pup a good flea and tick bath after hiking to kill whatever got on him but a lot of people prefer a prevention program.  Our personal experience is that Frontline and Advantix no longer work effectively for fleas, and our cousin found  several ticks on his dog using Frontline Plus.  For fleas (and also heartworm prevention), Revolution works very well.  Others are having good luck with  Comfortis.  There are several other brands on the market as well, but we are not familiar with them all and only want to offer advice on the ones we have had personal experience with.   A word of caution:  if you choose  to use a treatment, which in many cases is necessary, just  remember it is a pesticide you are putting on your  dog.

SWIMMING:  To us, one of the greatest joys is watching a dog swim.  They are the best swimming instructors!  If you can do the doggie paddle, well, you can swim!   If your dog is one who enjoys showing off his doggie paddle ability, that's wonderful!  But dogs, like humans, can tire or get caught on something in the water which can become a drowning hazard.  If you want to avoid this possibility, there are excellent life vests for dogs to prevent anything  like this from happening.  You don't have to, of course.  Just make sure to NEVER leave your dog unattended while he/she is swimming regardless of whether they are in a swimming pool, lake or oceon.

SUMMER HEAT:  Keep him/her cool and well hydrated. Take lots of shade breaks when hiking.   Make sure to take along plenty of water for both of you, and be careful of surfaces becoming too hot for the pups pads.  Their pads are tough, but can still get burnt from scalding hot surfaces in severe heat temperatures.

GEAR TO HELP YOU OUT:  There are several wonderful companies out there that put out gear for your pup such as  boots for them for hiking on rugged terrain or hot surfaces and also to put on when they have an injury.  There are life vests for swimming, portable water bowls for anytime you and your pup are away from home, even special vests (swamp cooler vests) to keep their body temperature down and so much more!  The company we love to use is Ruffwear and you can check out their website at  

We are certainly not trying to put a damper on anyone's summer fun with their dog.  Go out and have a wonderful fun in the sun time with them!  We hope the tips we have offered can help to enhance that fun for both of you.  Happy Summer everyone!


  1. Does Revolution substitute Frontline and Heartguard then?

  2. yes for fleas & heartworm, but does not work for ticks.