The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 9, 2013

Ryan Richardson: Readers share their own summer advice

By Ryan Richardson
Globe Columnist


It sure got hot and humid over the past few weeks here in the southwest corner of the state. Only here can we have a long winter segue straight into a balmy summer. Between the torrential rains and the highs already flirting with the upper 80s, I’m convinced that this summer is going to be a mix of everything.

This stormy start of the season made me want to revisit the summer tips I gave out. At the end of April, I talked about some precautions that you should take with your pets and I outlined a few ways for them to beat the heat.

While it was a good start, I was overwhelmed with a lot of responses from my readers. Many of you pointed out different things that I hadn’t thought of yet, and for that, I thank you. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I am a person to take advice well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss some more precautions that I take while championing some of the new ideas that were brought to my attention.

During this busy storm season, I’ve lost power more than a few times. I’ve been home for most of them, but unfortunately I missed one while I was at the office.

When I returned home after a late meeting, my apartment’s temperature had jumped into the 80s and my dog paid the price. She overheated, but thankfully was not hurt. It wasn’t something that had even crossed my mind, but I’ve since talked to my neighbors who work an opposite schedule as me.

If we lose power during the day, they will notify me so that I can make sure that my dog is taken care of. This is critical for when the inevitable triple digits will hit the city.

I received a rather lengthy email from a friend back home who reads my column. In our pet discussion, she asked what sunscreen I used on my dog.

My mind was blown away by this. My dog is light-haired and I keep her pretty trimmed. It never occurred to me that my dog can get sunburnt. After looking into it, this is actually a common, yet preventable occurrence.

There are dog formulated sunscreens to use that are non-toxic and are less oily than normal sunscreens. I suggest putting sunscreen on the nose, head and back areas or at least in places that your dog can’t easily lick off. A dog’s sunburn will be that much worse because dogs will more than likely scratch at a raw area.

Careful prevention can stop the pain associated with bad sunburn.

As summer hits, I also encourage you to take a minute and make sure that your shot records for your pets are up to date. If you need to take your dog in, a preventive dose of flea and tick medicine doesn’t hurt in addition to a Lyme Disease vaccine. Ticks are thick already and an extra dose doesn’t hurt.

Make sure you take the time to enjoy this summer with your pets. It will be a warm one, but it can also be a fun and safe one.