By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
There is nothing that beats preparation, especially if you’ve got Fido on a summer outing.
The list of potential summer pratfalls for your doggie seems endless, with mosquito bites and tick attacks to fleas and sunburn, this time of year presents hazards aplenty.
Fortunately, you and Fido can frolic freely if you take the correct steps to prevent a doggie disaster.
The occasion might be a weekend staycation, picnic at a local park, a weekend at a beach or mountain resort, a daylong hike, or a weekend camping trip in the woods – gosh, I hadn’t thought of all those things to do with the mutt.
Anyway, there is a handy checklist put together by dog experts that can help you avoid the worst of the potential dangers, including the danger of poisoning your dog as you try to protect it.
Dogs can get sunburn too – I know my blond little WeHo does, so apply a children’s sun-protection product with a minimum SPF of 15 to hairless areas (especially the snout and inner thighs) or areas exposed by a part.
Beware! See to it the product contains no zinc oxide, which is highly toxic to dogs and, if licked, poses its own dangers to Fido. Geez, life’s hard.
A new discovery, called nontoxic neem oil, is another biopesticide that prevents fleas, mosquitos, and other flying menaces from coming near you or your dog. Neem is also effective at treating any type of temperature or chemical burn, which makes it perfect for soothing a sunburn.
If you’re camping or picnicking, sprinkle a few drops on the ground near your tent or blanket for an invisible shield against pests
3. When ticks attack
Neem is no match for disease-spreading bloodsuckers. To shield Fido against ticks, pack up a few teaspoons of diatomaceous earth in a small receptacle, Just these few teaspoons of the nontoxic white powder, massaged through the coat down to the skin, is enough to keep Fido protected from disease-carrying ticks. (The powder actually desiccates the tick’s exoskeleton, killing it.) When your dog gets wet, dry him off and reapply.
4. Fido first aid
You’ve got yours. And it may even match your dog’s. Bring a bottle of vodka and tweezers. If ticks do get to Fido, disinfect the area with the booze (yes, you may drink the rest), and pull the ticks off with the tweezers. Animals hate the strong smell of rubbing alcohol, so will respond to the lack of odor of vodka As you want them to, calmly.
Well, vodka may be all well and good, but it does nothing to hydrate a person – or a dog. Dehydration is no fun for Fido, and dogs get thirsty quickly, whether in the city or the country.
So bring along a collapsible dog water bowl for handy hydration of the hounds around you.
6. Stow it and go
It’s best if you centralize all this stuff into a single bag you can grab and run with when the feeling strikes. That bag will vary from breed to breed, simply because of any “extras” you might pack along (WeHo hates to go somewhere without his ball) or based on the size of your dog.
Pet shops, especially in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, have a terrific selection of bags of any size, shape, material and design. So whether you’re a leather daddy with a rotty or a diva with a puff ball, the right bag is out there for you.