Its summer, a season we enjoy spending outdoors with our canine companions. With a little planning and precaution, we can make a walk in the park, trip to the beach, or a camping excursion safe and enjoyable for our pets this summer.
15 ways to keep Fido happy, healthy, hydrated, and by your side during the dog days of summer.
1. Planning a road trip this summer with the family pet? If your dog or cat only rides in the car for trips to the vet, prepare your pet in advance for an enjoyable vacation by taking short, fun excursions to a nearby park or lake.
2. When taking your dog on vacation pack these doggy supplies to make it a success: a collapsible water bowl, jug of water, portable doggy bedroll that rolls up tight for transporting, a neon leash and collar, life jacket if your trip includes swimming, dog toys, treats and dog food.
3. Dogs with flat faces and short noses (brachycephalic breeds, such as the pug, bull dog and Pekinese) are more prone than other breeds to breathing problems, which are exasperated in the summer heat. These dogs are also susceptible to overheating, so it’s best to keep them out of hot or humid weather conditions.
4. Never leave your pet inside a parked car. It only takes 10 minutes when its 85°F for the temperature to reach 102°F inside the car. In thirty minutes, it can reach 120°F. Lowering a car window partially does not reduce the temperature inside. In this scenario, pets can suffer fatal heatstroke in a matter of minutes.
5. Pets, like people need to acclimate to a change of climate. If you will be vacationing or moving to a more humid, drier or tropical location this summer, initially limit time spent outdoors. Exercise or walk your pet in the coolest hours of the day, early morning and evening to allow everyone time to adjust to the new environment and weather conditions.
6. Keep in mind that all dogs don’t know how to swim. Practice the buddy system with your pets. Always accompany your dog when wading or swimming. Even if your dog loves to swim, put a bright colored life preserver on him when in the water, boat or canoe. When wading in the ocean, or any moving creek or river attach a rope to the life jacket to keep your dog safe and within reach.
7. Dogs have been known to run off when startled or excited. Use a bright neon dog collar and leash when walking your dog at night to help you easily locate him if you become separated.
8. Never walk your pet on hot pavement. Besides blistering his paws, the heat rising from hot asphalt or concrete can especially cause small animals to easily overheat. In hot weather exercise your dog on the grass or in shaded areas. When in urban areas where hot pavement cannot be avoided put canine boots on your dog to protect his paws.
9. Long haired pets should be brushed and bathed regularly to remove hair as it sheds and to help keep him cool and comfortable. Rinse or bathe your dog after swimming in saltwater or in a chlorinated swimming pool to avoid possible skin irritation.
10. Fur not only helps keep pets warm in winter, but also provides protection against the heat, excessive sun exposure and sunburn. If your dog will be enjoying time outdoors this summer, consider trimming instead of shaving to prevent sunburn. Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker makes this recommendation on her website, www.healthypets.mercola.com, “While I typically do not recommend shaving your pet, if yours has a long coat, spends time outdoors during hot weather, and doesn’t object to a shorter coat, consider giving her a summer cut. Just take care not to go any shorter than an inch, because her coat provides protection from sunburn.”
11. Provide a shady spot or a shelter for your outdoor pets, ideally one that blocks direct sunshine, yet allows some airflow to circulate. Dogs like to lie in the dirt when it’s hot out. Under that huge shade tree construct a small raised bed and fill it with garden soil. Set up a canopy or pup (dog) tent when going camping or swimming. Don’t want to invest in a pup tent? Tie two ropes or a clothes line around the arms of two folding chairs spaced several feet apart. Drape a huge beach towel, bed sheet or tarp over the ropes to form a temporary shelter for your dog.
12. Pets need a source of fresh drinking water on hand throughout the day. Select a water bowl that cannot be easily overturned for outdoor pets. Larger dogs can drink water from a cooler or trough. Remove the lid to prevent it from shutting. Change the water daily. Freeze water in an empty ice cream bucket and add the block of ice to the water container to keep it from getting hot during the day.
13. Provide fun, wet ways for your dog to cool off outdoors in hot weather. Employ a water sprinkler, slip-and-slide or a kiddy pool partially filled with water, for dogs to splash, soak and enjoy. Standing in water helps reduce your pet’s internal temperature. Provide a wet towel for your dog to lie on when resting outside during hot weather.
14. Instead of giving your dog ice cubes which may cause dental damage give her frozen blueberries or peas as a treat to help her cool off on a hot summer day. Freeze beef or chicken broth in Popsicle molds for a safe broth-sicle snack your dog will love.
15. When keeping your dog indoors during hot weather, she will appreciate resting in a room with cool tile floors, under a ceiling fan, and away from sunny windows. If you keep your dog in a pen, place a frozen water bottle inside for her to lean against.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
You don’t have to live in the sunshine state to pick a fresh lemon from your very own lemon tree. Regardless of where you live, you can grow potted lemons, oranges, tangerines, limes, kumquats, and grapefruit. When growing citrus outside the citrus belt, the trees must be kept indoors in the winter, or when temperatures drop into the 30s or below. During the warm months of the year potted citrus trees can be moved to an outdoor deck or patio. Container citrus trees are a unique ornamental feature for your interior and outdoor living spaces. Another bonus, when a citrus plant flowers, it exudes a sweet perfumed fragrance.
Where to Purchase Citrus Trees
Citrus are raised commercially in the states of Arizona, California, Texas and Florida. There are many garden nurseries that sell live trees in these states. Citrus stands/centers which sell bags of fresh fruit often have potted citrus plants for sale. Some states such as Florida prohibit the export of live citrus trees out of state. Check state agricultural regulations before attempting to transport a citrus plant out of its native state.
Check your local garden center this summer for dwarf varieties suitable for containers.
If you can’t find citrus plants locally, here are two nurseries that raise potted citrus plants, and ship them. You can order online, by telephone, or pick-up at their location.
Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA - (434)361-9134, www.ediblelandscaping.com and
Logee’s Tropical Plants in Danielson, CT - (888)330-8038, www.logees.com
Selecting Citrus Trees
If growing potted citrus is a new venture, do your research. Visit a citrus nursery website, such as the two mentioned above for helpful advice on selecting cultivars, containers, and plant care. The book, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in any home, anywhere by Laurelynn and Byron Martin, owners of Logee’s Tropical Plants is an informative guide to growing a variety of edible citrus and tropical plants in containers. In their book, the Martins state, “The ‘Meyer’ lemon is a great choice for first-time container gardeners and for any gardener who wants a gardening project that will provide results quickly and reliably.”
Although all citrus trees can be grown in containers experts note that dwarf varieties will survive years longer. There are also self-fruitful varieties available, which will eliminate the need to pollinate by hand when the plant is housed indoors.
Choosing a Container
Once you’ve decided which fruiting plant to grow, choosing the right container is next. The size of the pot will control the size that the plant will reach in maturity, thus dwarfing orange and grapefruit trees, etc. Plants given ample space in the pot for their root system to expand freely will grow faster and larger. In their book, Laurelynn and Bryon Martin state, “It’s best to increase pot size incrementally at each repotting. Choose a pot that is 2 to 4 inches bigger than the one the plant is currently growing in.” Most plants do best when the soil is allowed to dry between watering. Check to ensure that the pot: plastic, terra-cotta or unglazed clay has adequate drainage holes in the bottom. Although cement and wood half-barrels can be used, these containers are heavy and difficult to move. Self-watering pots aren’t the best choice for citrus as any water standing in the reservoir will wick into the soil. When this occurs the soil may become soggy, and more susceptible to damage or disease.
Potting the Tree
Watering and Fertilizing
It is better to give citrus plants a deep, infrequent watering instead of frequent shallow watering. Touch the surface of the soil. If it feels moist, don’t water. If the surface is dry, poke your finger into the soil. If it is dry an inch below the surface, water well. Generally, watering twice a week is adequate. Cool winter conditions will necessitate less frequent watering, than hot summer conditions.
Fertilize with a citrus plant food in spring as instructed on the label or follow the plant nursery recommendations.
As stated early on, move the potted citrus indoors when temperatures dip into the 30Fs. In spring plants should be slowly transitioned from an indoor to outdoor environment. In the fall the transition will be from outdoors to indoors. In the spring and fall, to help the plant adjust to a change of environment, place the trees outdoors during the warmer day temperatures and move back inside at night, for about one week. When wintering a citrus plant indoors place it in a sunny room preferably near a south-facing window. Mist the leaves once or twice a week, or use a humidifier in the room during winter.
Editor's Note: We winter our potted citrus trees in the sun room and move them to the outdoor patio late spring until late fall. We're growing grapefruit and variegated pink lemon trees, and are looking forward to enjoying fresh squeezed pink lemonade!
Photo Credit: Meyer Lemon Tree, above photo, Logees.com
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. .
When traveling across multiple time zones there are things that we can do before, during and after flying to help our bodies adjust, and lessen the effects of jet lag. Does this sound like you after a long flight, “Jet lagged brain, I burned breakfast, flooded the bathroom, and tried to use my driver’s license to pay for groceries?” Brain fog (difficulty concentrating or functioning) inhibits your ability to fully enjoy your vacation and to resume a productive routine afterwards. Jet lag may also include any of these symptoms: daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches, stomach discomfort such as constipation or diarrhea, and disruption of sleep, such as insomnia or waking too early.
What causes jet lag?
The globe is divided into 24 time zones. The clock changes one hour for every 15 degrees travelled east or west from the Greenwich Meridian, which is an imaginary line passing through Greenwich, London. Jet lag can occur after rapidly crossing time zones, which causes your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle, to be out of sync with the light-dark cycle of your new location. The more time zones you cross, and the direction you travel can affect the severity of jag lag, and its duration. Flying east is typically harder to acclimate to as you “lose” time traveling.
Although everyone traveling by airplane across two or more time zones is susceptible, those over 60 years of age are the most likely to experience jet lag. As we age, the ability to sleep at off times generally decreases, making it more difficult to adjust to sudden changes. Jet lag is temporary and is reported to take about a day to recover for each time zone crossed.
Strategies for minimizing jet lag
During the flight
Natural jet lag and travel aids
The supplement, melatonin has been found in studies to relieve jet lag as it promotes sleep during off-times. The Mayo Clinic states, “Your body treats melatonin as a darkness signal, and generally has the opposite effect of bright light. If you’re trying to reset your body clock to an earlier time, such as after flying east, you should take melatonin in the evening. If you’re trying to reset your body clock at a later time, such as after flying west, melatonin should be taken in the morning. Doses as small as 0.5 milligram seem just as effective as doses of 5 milligrams or higher, although higher doses have been shown by some studies to be more sleep promoting. If you use melatonin, take it 30 minutes before you plan to sleep or ask your doctor about the proper timing. Avoid alcohol when taking melatonin.” Allow up to ten hours for sleep after taking melatonin.
No-Jet-Lag is a homeopathic pill to prevent jet lag. Other natural products that may make air travel more comfortable are nasal hydration sprays, ear plugs that relieve air pressure discomfort during flight, and PSI bands, based on the principles of acupressure to prevent nausea and motion sickness. Discuss appropriate jet lag treatments with your doctor before traveling.
Safe and happy time travels.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Check out Lowell and Deborah's super sturdy and handsome DIY Gardening Potting Bench Plans.
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