Keeping Dogs Safe While Outdoors
Almost exactly a year ago our little dog ran into the street and was hit and killed by a car. We now have Morgan who is about 10 months old. We've been tethering him to a stake but plan to put up a fence so he can run and get a little more exercise. What else can we do to keep him safe yet allow him to exercise outdoors?
Outdoor exercise is on the minds of pets and people as the weather warms. It's as beneficial for our animals as it is for us. But they also face dangers from cars, fences, other animals, insects, and heartworm disease. You cannot provide 100 percent protection for your dog but you can take some steps to minimize the possibility of a tragedy like the one that took your old pup. Fencing an area where the dog can run is a good start. Training to avoid warm weather hazards also is important. Start gradually by taking Morgan on short walks through the neighborhood. This will make him familiar with his surroundings in case he escapes from the yard. The walks also will limber his joints and muscles for more strenuous exercise. Make sure that Morgan is up-to-date on his vaccinations and is taking heartworm preventative medicine. His rabies and (if required in your area) dog license should be securely fastened to his collar along with your name and phone number. Neighborhood children, meter readers, and others who may go in and out of the backyard may leave the gate open and let Morgan escape. A sign or chain should take care of the situation. Check Morgan regularly for ticks, fleas, and other pests, especially if you are in a wet or woody area. You will protect him -- and help keep the pests out of your house. The best protection against insects is a bathed, brushed, and trimmed dog. As the temperatures rise, it will be crucial to have shade and a ready supply of water in the yard for Morgan. Heat stroke can be a serious threat in hot, humid weather. Among the most common complaints of dogs in summer are rashes, itching, and shedding. The culprits usually are fleas, insect allergies, some plants, pollen, and heat. Severe problems should be treated by a veterinarian. Make sure Morgan is indoors when your yard is treated with herbicides and pesticides. Until the chemicals dry, they can get on the feet of a dog who will lick them and get sick. If you take these precautions, Morgan should have a safe, happy and healthy summer.