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Ask a Vet: Get going this summer; take along your pooch

POSTED: June 15, 2014 1:00 a.m.

The sun will come out tomorrow. Annie told me that in a song, but given how the past few months of alleged “spring” have gone, I began to doubt.

But no more! It was almost 90 the other day!

Your pets notice this, too. Just like their respective humans, they are more active in warmer weather and their metabolisms change. Your pets’ cells actually gear up and work harder when it’s nice outside. So take advantage.

At this time of year, many people walk or jog with their dogs. That’s great, but remember to stay hydrated — all mammals should — and watch where you’re going.

Walking on hot pavement or broken glass is easy with shoes. Remember your pet most likely left his at home. Plus, cars are everywhere.

Many clients want to get their pet involved in outdoor activities that involve more than simply walking or jogging. An Olympic sprinter couldn’t keep up with a border collie at a full run, so that’s probably not an option. Instead, try these:

Camping is wonderful fun for some dogs. Dogs are like some people and consider it horrifying. But if you camp with your pooch, watch him around fire and water. Vaccines and parasite prevention will help protect as well.

Boating is a tough one. Some dogs love water and swim like a fish. Some dogs sink like a rock. Either way, a canine life preserver is needed, just in case something unexpected happens, and your pet’s paddling abilities are impaired.

Hiking goes along with jogging. Watch those tender foot pads wherever you go.

And now for where I may differ from some other veterinarians. I do not recommend you bike with your dog. No bicycle. No motorcycle.

I’ve seen the cute pictures of a dog in a side car wearing goggles. But I’ve also seen dogs from motorcycle crashes. And a dog connected to a bicycle is more likely a recipe for a viral video than a reliably enjoyable companion for a brisk ride.

Now go enjoy the weather!

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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