Help your dog keep cool with our summer pet tips

While we all enjoy the outdoors in the summer time, it’s not always quite as much fun for our doggy friends, they can’t strip off the same to deal with the heat and heatstroke can have fatal consequences for them.  They can also become dehydrated easily and suffer from sunburn.

Help your dog enjoy the outdoors in summer with our safety tips:-

  • During warm weather your dog will still need a daily walk but try and avoid strenuous exercise and make sure you walk in the early mornings or evenings when temperatures are at their coolest. Always take water for your dog when walking in warm weather.
  • Remember that pavements and roads can get very hot.  Dogs lose heat through their tongues and the pads on their paws.  They can struggle to stay cool if walking constantly on hot surfaces so remember this and avoid if possible.  Try to let them walk on grass verges or take them to a field/park for some exercise.
  • Be considerate with old, young or overweight dogs, as they will be more sensitive to high temperatures. All short-muzzled breeds such as, pugs, bulldogs and boxers are also very sensitive to extreme temperatures and can overheat quickly.  Breeds that have double coats or bred for cold climates are also very susceptible to overheating.
  • Never, ever leave a dog in the car in warm weather.  Even in warm weather the temperature in a car can soar to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Leaving a window open is never enough to prevent your dog from overheating.  In warm weather never take your dog anywhere if you cannot take them with you, your dog will be much safer left at home.
  • Do not leave your dog in a conservatory or caravan in warm weather, even if the temperature is not high to begin with both can heat up very quickly in direct sunlight, and become unbearably hot.

Keep Your Dog Cool

Ensure your dog has access to shade and fresh, clean, cool water while outside in warm weather.  Make sure this is a bottom heavy bowl, which cannot get knocked over, or leave two bowls.  If temperatures are high consider giving your dog wet towels or blankets to lie on, a damp sandbox to dig in or ice cubes to eat.

Safety in the Sun

Groom your dog regularly to remove as much of their undercoat as possible as this will help your dog to regulate their temperature.  A haircut may help to keep them cool but never clip your dog’s fur so short that their skin is visible.  This could leave them more susceptible to sunburn.  Dogs with short or white fur and pink skin are very prone to sunburn.  Speak to your vet for advice on pet friendly sunscreen.

Water Safety

Always supervise your pet around water.  Even dogs who are great swimmers can get into trouble if they become exhausted.  Dogs live in the moment and won’t consider how to get out of water before they get in.  If you have a swimming pool teach your dog how to get out of it and make sure they don’t have unrestricted access to outside while you’re not around.

Garden Dangers

Keep your pet away from areas that have been treated with fertilizers or weed killer.  There are also common garden plants, which are poisonous to animals. Hydrangeas, foxgloves, hyacinths and many other plants are poisonous to dogs so ensure that these are removed from your garden or are planted somewhere your dog cannot access.  Car antifreeze can be a problem during the summer months as it is much more likely to leak from a car.  It has a sweet taste and is very tempting for dogs but extremely toxic.  If you suspect your dog has ingested any poisonous substance then contact your vet immediately.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke in dogs is a very serious condition that can have fatal consequences.  This is not an exhaustive list but some of the signs of heatstroke include:-

  • Loss of consciousness or collapse
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Unwillingness to move
  • Vigorous panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark red gums and/or tongue
  • Rectal temperature of 104° is a very serious condition but 106° or over is a life threatening emergency.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke then you must contact your vet immediately and take the following steps:-

  • Move your dog out of the sun and into a cool area immediately.
  • Cool your dog using wet towels or blankets, especially around the paws and the head.  Do not use very cold water as this can have the opposite effect and actually prevent your dog from cooling down.
  • Offer your dog cool water to drink or ice cubes to lick but do not force them.
  • Even if your dog seems to recover contact your vet anyway.  Dogs can suffer internal damage as a result of heatstroke and this cannot be seen so get your pet checked over just to be sure.

Parasites and Other Nasties

Parasites and other pests can be more rampant during warm weather. Groom your pet regularly not only to keep them cool but also to look out for any fleas or ticks that might be lurking.  Ensure you use worming and flea prevention products regularly and practice good hygiene.  Keep your dog away from other animal’s faeces and clean up regularly after your own dog. Mosquitoes can be out in force during the summer too and can carry heartworm disease. Talk to your vet for advice on the correct preventative products to keep your pet free from parasites.

Summer BBQ’s

Most of us love making the most of the summer weather, light nights and BBQs.  But unfortunately BBQs mean a lot of lurking dangers for pets so make sure your pet is kept away from the BBQ to prevent burns and never feed your pet food from the BBQ or leftovers, they can give dogs upset stomachs leading to vomiting or diarrhoea. There is also the risk of your dog eating foods, which are poisonous to dogs such as onions. Keep all rubbish, leftovers, food packaging etc. in secure bins. All are extremely attractive to dogs but they can lead to internal blockages and injuries.  Keep alcohol out of reach of pets, ingesting alcohol can be dangerous and your pet will already be more susceptible to dehydration and overheating if temperatures are high.

Health, Lifestyle

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