DEAR DR. FOX: We live in an adult community where we are not allowed to fence our yard, so we must walk our dog on the black asphalt streets.
In the summer, the asphalt becomes so hot that you can feel the heat rising off the street. Please remind dog owners of this danger.
When walking dogs on the street, remember that they are closer to the hot tar, which makes them feel much hotter than you realize -- especially smaller dogs, whose entire bodies are close to the ground. Also, a lot of inside dogs do not have tough calluses on the pads of their feet to protect them.
Take off your shoes and stand on the asphalt to get an idea of just how hot the pavement feels to your dog. The problem is worse for dogs who are jogging with their owners or running alongside a bike. They don't get a chance to stop and cool down.
When it's too hot to walk on the street, we load the dog into the car and head for the nearest park. You can imagine how much cooler it is, walking along the tree-lined trails. And it's a treat for the dog to spend extra quality time with their favorite person. Just remember to bring water for the dog. -- K.W., Whiting, New Jersey
DEAR K.W.: Thank you for your letter, which I hope all people with dogs will read and take to heart.
Not being mindful about hot sidewalks and roads when out walking and jogging -- or leaving the dog in a hot car even for a few minutes -- is an all-too-common error of judgment and perception.
Loving one's dog calls for mindfulness and empathy.
POISONS IN THE WATER
Don't let your thirsty dog drink from or play in stagnant pools of pond or lake water. Take fresh water and a bowl with you wherever you go. Dogs need to drink water to cool down and may need forcible restraint to be kept out of an inviting pool of water in which blue-green algae have proliferated. Blue-green algae cause illness in people and pets. In Minnesota, we've seen two human illnesses last year, and many dog deaths after they either swallow contaminated water or groom themselves after swimming. Dogs exposed to the algae can experience gastrointestinal distress, rash, respiratory difficulty, weakness, liver failure and seizures, and certain cases can be fatal.
BLUE BUFFALO DOG FOOD RECALL
Blue Buffalo Co. of Wilton, Connecticut, is voluntarily recalling a limited batch of its Life Protection Formula Dog Food product due to the presence of excessive moisture and mold. Customers can return affected product to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Those with questions may call Blue Buffalo Customer Service at 855-201-4331 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
Report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by visiting fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
BOOK REVIEW: "The Dog Diet Answer Book" by Dr. Greg Martinez.
This book gives me hope and affirmation. I was demoted and almost lost my job at my last place of employment for endorsing a book about animal nutrition, the validity of which this good animal doctor confirms in his assertions and advice on dog nutrition.
Every dog owner should devour this book and assimilate its practical instruction to secure and improve the health of their canine companions. Because of the importance of good nutrition from the start, this book is a must for all puppy-getters and ethical breeders.
In my Animal Doctor column, I have given the same advice for many years on how to treat chronic skin, ear, anal gland, digestive, urinary tract, neurological and other health problems in dogs -- first with the kind of nutrition and supplements that Dr. Martinez spells out in detail, and more.
I see his book as a signal publication confirming that the long-overdue pet food revolution is at last being supported.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)