As we head towards the warmer months, we thought we’d write a quick blog on the best way to keep your dog safe this summer.
1. Don’t Leave Your Dog In A Hot Car
Now we know that people know this, but it’s always worth giving that little reminder. Dogs don’t sweat very much, and when they do, it does very little to cool them down. They tend to cool themselves through panting, so if there’s only hot air available to them it’s more difficult for them to get cool.
If a dog, or any other animal, is locked in a hot car in the sun, it can take only MINUTES for them to get heat stroke! This can then lead to suffocation.
If you are driving with your dog, make sure they have plenty of water and access to cool air, and when you park up, take your dog with you and don’t leave them in the car.
If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, then get them straight to the vet. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Excessive lethargy
- Dry gums
- Not eating
- Decreased urination
- Sunken eyes
- Decreased skin elasticity
2. Make Sure Your Dog’s Paws Are Cool
Dogs may have hardier skin on their paws, but they can still feel the heat and they can still get burnt. Pavements and metal surfaces can get really hot, so bear this in mind when walking in the sun or transporting in a truck or van that has metal surfaces. Not only can walking on these surfaces burn your dogs feet, but it can also lead them to overheat.
3. Make Sure They Always Have Shade & Water
Even when they’re in your home or garden, dogs can get incredibly hot in the sun and they require more water than humans do to cool down. Make sure there is always a shaded area in your garden and home, where dogs can retreat to when they get warm. They like to sunbathe, but will get hot very quickly, which can cause heat stroke. Having easily accessible water and shade will prevent this.
4. Protect From Critters
Over the summer months, parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are rife. If not protected, dogs (and humans) are at risk from things like heartworm and lyme disease.You can get insect repellent for dogs (don’t use the human kind), try to avoid stagnant water and, of course, make sure flea treatments are up to date.
5. Get Your Dog A Paddling Pool
Many dogs love water, so having a pool to splash about in is a great idea. They will periodically go into the pool, thus getting them cool on a regular basis. You don’t need to provide them with a full sized paddling pool, just a small, toddler-sized pool will be more than adequate and they’ll love it.
6. Not All Dogs Can Swim Well
Dogs instinctively know how to swim. If they fall into water, they will automatically start swimming. However, not all dogs are good at swimming. If they jump or fall into a large expanse of water like a pond, river or swimming pool, they may not be able to get out and could easily drown. Avoid leaving your dog alone near pools and ponds to ensure you can always help them if there is a problem.
7. Bee and Wasp Stings
The buzzing sound of a bee or wasp and the flitting about they do can be intriguing to a dog. However, this can lead them to get stung. If your dog does get stung, keep an eye on them for swelling. Often this will just go down naturally, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them and if you’re worried, call your vet for advice.
Stung dogs can also become irritated by the sting and can scratch and lick the affected spot a lot. This can lead to bald areas as they can pull out the fur. Again, if you notice this issue, contact your vet.
Yes, dogs can get sunburn, just like humans. Although many of them have a nice coating of fur that will protect them somewhat from the sun’s rays, there are some areas that are not so covered and at more risk. Those with lighter or shorter hair are also at greater risk from sun burn. Sun burn can be painful for your dog and if they are overexposed regularly to the sun, this can lead to skin cancer, just like in humans. You can purchase sunscreen especially for dogs, which you vet can advise on. Don’t just use the ones available for humans.
So there you have it, our top 8 tips to keep your dog safe in the summer.