When the lazy days of barbecues and swimming pools roll around, you can make them even better by sharing them with your Boxer.

By following a few summer pet safety tips, you can keep your furkids healthy and enjoy the months of sun and fun:

* Never leave your Boxer unattended in the parked car. Though it may seem cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. Boxers are susceptible to heat stroke and possible death in these conditions. If you need to run some errands, leave your Boxers at home.

* As you're outside enjoying the warm weather, keep your Boxer leashed. It will keep her from getting lost, fighting other animals, and eating and drinking things that could make her sick.

* All dogs should have proper identification at all times. The AKC suggests a collar with an ID tag, along with a tattoo or a microchip.

* Water, water everywhere. Whether you're indoors or out, both you and your Boxer need access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check their water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full. If you and your furkids venture forth for the afternoon, bring plenty of water for both of you.

* Beware of insect bites. If your Boxer is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurs or there have been multiple wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take your Boxer to the vet.

* When you are driving, do not let your Boxer stick its head out of the car window ... this may lead to eye or ear injuries. Also, do not let your Boxer travel in the back of an open pickup truck. Your Boxer could be injured in an accident. (My neighbor's dog was killed when he tried to jump out ... he had ridden in the truck bed many times before with no problems ... very sad.)

* Boxers need sunscreen too. Though they have fur to help protect them, your Boxer can get sunburned, particularly if they have light skin and hair (i.e. White Boxers). Sunburn in Boxers can cause problems similar to those that it can cause in people, including pain, peeling, and skin cancer. So keep your Boxer out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and when you do go out, rub a bit of sunblock (pet approved kind only) on unprotected areas like the tips of her ears, the skin around their lips, and the tip of their nose ... about 30 minutes before going outside.

* Talk with your veterinarian about Lyme disease, and flea & tick prevention medications.

* Heartworm is a common problem for dogs. Take your Boxer to a vet for a heartworm check every spring and follow your vet's advice for heartworm precautions.

* Watch out for antifreeze. Hot weather may tempt your Boxer to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it's extremely toxic. When you're walking your Boxer, make sure he doesn't sneak a drink from the street.

* Most lawn and garden products may be hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within your Boxer's reach are not toxic. Coco mulch is poisonous, for example.

* Be cautious on humid days. Humidity interferes with a Boxer's ability to rid themselves of excess body heat. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, Boxers pant. Air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body. As it is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when your Boxer is in close quarters.

* Make sure your Boxer doesn't overexert themselves. Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog at a healthy weight, which helps his body stay cool, overdoing it can cause him to overheat. Keep the walks to a gentle pace and make sure he has plenty of water. If your Boxer is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it's time to stop.

* If your Boxer is out of shape (or elderly), don't encourage him to run on the sand. Running on a beach is strenuous exercise, and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament.

* Elderly, very young, and ill Boxers have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer days. Dogs with snub noses, such as Boxers, have a hard time staying cool because they can't pant efficiently, so they need to stay out of the heat. Otherwise, heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death.

* Overweight Boxers are also more prone to overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death.

* Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun's heat is most intense.

* After a day in the lake, rinse your Boxer off with fresh water.

* The outdoors exposes dogs to the elements. Dogs may need extra brushing and bathing to stay clean and healthy.

* Bring them inside. Boxers shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and dogs can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your Boxer in the backyard, keep a close eye on them and bring them in when you can.

* No matter how careful and responsible you may be, accidents can happen. Make sure your vet's phone number is close at hand and available to all family members.

Have fun & Be safe!

By-the-way, even though this post was written for Boxers,
many of the tips can be applied to all dogs (and cats).

~ Portions provided by the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org) and the American Animal Hospital Association (www.healthypet.com). ~ 


date Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1 comments to “Summer Safety with your Boxer”

  1. Vicky
    June 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Great tips for all pet owners. Happy Hopping!

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