Have you ever thought about how stressful summer activities can be for your pets? Here are seven common stressors to watch for this summer, and how you can help avoid them.
- Heat Stress. Naturally, dogs are most active first thing in the morning and again in the evening, then they tend to sleep during the day-time hours. Try to give them exercise during these peak times, which will cut down on time in the sun and reduce heat stress in your dogs.
- Burnt Paw Pads. Avoid walking your pets on hot sidewalks or pavement. Surfaces that may not seem hot at first can burn the pads of their feet and leave painful wounds. Always test the pavement with your hand and if it is hot to the touch, rethink your walk. Instead, opt for that morning/nighttime walk, and keep it short! Alternatively, hikes are great to get your pets off the beaten path and onto new adventures. But, make sure you are up-to-date on flea, tick and heartworm preventative practices before venturing into the woods.
- Fireworks. Be aware of fireworks, especially in late June and the first week of July. Knowing when and where they will start going off is helpful for preventing unnecessary stress for your pet. It may also be helpful to play the radio or sound machine for your dog during the loud booms to help distract them from what is going on outdoors. Avoid letting them outside at night, if possible, as this a prime time for animals to run away from home. In fact, more dogs run away on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year! Even in a fenced-in yard, dogs have been known to escape when scared. Try to schedule a walk for early in the day so they are more tired during the louder hours.
- Uncommon Foods. Certain items your dog will ingest this summer, like Friday’s BBQ dinner scraps or drinking too much pool water, can easily upset its stomach. Be aware of these unusual foods and substances that your pets may encounter, especially during parties when they are less supervised.
- Road trips. Road trips are fun for the family, but sometimes man’s best friend is not as excited about that time in the car. Common reactions from road trips include heavy breathing, diarrhea and going off food. Be prepared for this kind of reaction if you plan to travel with them on board this summer.
- Boarding. Alternatively, if you can’t take Fido with you on your road trip, they will have to be boarded or stay with a caretaker. This change in routine, new smells, new people and not seeing YOU can be very stressful for your pets, which can trigger varying forms of digestive upset.
- Unsafe Water. Before jumping in this summer, do your research on blue-green algae in ponds and lakes in your area. It is extremely toxic for pets (and humans, too.). Many state departments will have tools on their website to help you know which bodies of water are at risk and should be avoided.
Although we cannot rule out stress altogether for our pets, we can do our best to minimize the effects of stress this summer. When anxiety gets the worst of them, don’t forget about Vitalize® Dog products that can help your animal deal with these common stressors.
The prebiotic Amaferm® in our products is proven to increase stool consistency, appetite, digestibility and overall skin and coat health. Supplement your dog every day with Vitalize Dog, or give Vitalize Dog Recovery Gel as-needed for stressful situations. Don’t forget to give them a good gut feeling this summer!