I feel we should never deny our dogs the glory of socializing with other dogs, playing, running, swimming and exploring the outdoors, just to keep them ‘safe’. Let dogs be dogs and live fulfilled dog lifes! The risks just have to be managed. I want to stress that I am not a vet or a veterinary assistant, but to deal with emergencies I followed a ‘Canine First Aid & CPR’ workshop. It might also be reassuring to know the Mui Wo SPCA clinic is only 15 minutes from our home.

So, what emergencies can occur? The main thing is: when dogs play with other dogs, they sometimes play rough. Since I am not a professional dog trainer, fights can happen. I have my dog first aid kit to treat injuries and the SPCA is close by.

Then there is the Hong Kong summer heat. To avoid heat stroke we only have short walks when the Hong Kong Observatory issues a ‘hot weather warning’, or when I feel it’s too hot to roam the fields. We can compensate this lack of exercise by playing in the garden, or go to the beach for a swim! Also, extra indoor playtime will drain the dog’s energy during these hot, hot, hot summer days.

Other things to beware of are diseases, like tick fever and leptospirosis. I check for ticks daily but it’s very important you give your dog proper anti-tick treatment as it’s always possible to miss a tick that has attached itself to your dog. Leptospirosis spreads through water ways (and it can even spread via wet grass so it’s really impossible to completely rule out contamination). I let my own dog swim in streams but if your dog is not allowed to, I’ll respect that of course! Please note you can get your dog vaccinated against some strains of leptospirosis. Contact your vet for more information about diseases in Hong Kong, prevention and vaccination options.

Ah, but what about the famous Lantau snakes? They are here, we sometimes see them slithering around or sun bathing on the concrete. However, according to my internet research and asking around, cases of dogs getting attacked by snakes are relatively rare in Hong Kong. But as snakes still scare and fascinate me at the same time, I went to a very informative “Snake Talk” here on Lantau in the summer of 2014. Click here for a report on some very interesting things I’ve learned that morning about snakes and dogs. Recommended!

Susan practicing CPR on a dummy dog at the Whiskers ‘n’ Paws Canine First Aid & CPR workshop (photo credits: Whiskers ‘n’ Paws)