Can you believe we pulled out 53 foxtails/grass awns from River’s coat?!

Written by Richard Tao, DVM

San Luis Obispo and the entire Central Coast is a wonderful place to be a dog.  Not only is our climate near perfect all year round we also have acres of open space and miles of beaches for our pups to frolic and play in.  We can all relate to the sheer joy our pets feel when the comfortable days of spring and summer arrive.  Now, with all these great opportunities of outdoor adventure comes our responsibility as pet owners to make sure our doggie friends stay healthy while they enjoy these beautiful environs.  I am reminded of three specific things I feel we should all consider before we grab Fluffy’s leash and fly out the door.

First and foremost is the weather.  Spring temperatures can be unpredictable and even a cool day hike can turn into a scorcher in just a couple hours.  Dogs do most of their cooling by panting so our respiratory challenged dogs, like bulldogs and pugs, may need an extra break or a shorter outing.  The smooshed faced dogs have what is called a brachycephlic head and a smaller windpipe or trachea which puts a limit to their ability to pant and regulate their temperature.  A bulldog pushed on a hot day can overheat before they even know they themselves are tired!

Second is parasite control.  Although I see ticks year round they are at their worst during the spring and summer.  I recommend a good effective topical preventative like Vectra 3D or a Preventic collar for tick control.  A good post outing doggie”pat down” is also helpful for finding and flicking off those little bugs.

Third is foot care.  Dogs who suddenly take to the pavement after months of couch surfing often end up with blisters and torn up toepads.  Consider a set of booties or gradually acclimating them to rougher terrain.  May through October is also prime foxtail season.  Foxtails are those nasty little arrowhead like grass seeds that end up everywhere.  My dog (a golden retriever mix) has hairy feet which suck up foxtails into the smallest little folds of the toes.  Trimming and shaving her feet hair is one good way to make sure foxtails won’t imbed into her toes.

Now go out and have fun!  If you ever have any questions please call us.  We are here to help.