Well folks, summer is here (although those that live up north might argue it never left). We've compiled our top 9 tips for helping your dog survive the summer.
1. Bring them inside
If you are feeling the heat and have retreated to the cool of the house, your dog is probably just as uncomfortable as you are. Bring your dog inside to enjoy the air conditioning or lie under the fan with you.
2. Give them something cool to lie on
If your dog can’t be inside or prefers to be an outdoors pooch, be sure to give them somewhere cool to lie. A raised bed will allow the breeze to flow underneath and keep them extra cool. If they aren’t a fan of beds, you can give them a wet towel or an ice pack to lie on when they feel the need to cool down. You can even purchase specialised cooling mats that will help keep your dog cool on those hot days.
3. Keep them cool
Dogs don’t sweat through their skin to cool down like humans do. Instead, they pant to cool themselves down. You can help your dog cool down by wetting their feet or misting their face with water.
They might also appreciate a shallow pool of cool water to lie down in, but you should never leave your dog unattended around pools, no matter the size. Your dog may also enjoy a swim at the beach or in a creek or river.
If they aren’t a great swimmer, you can purchase an EzyDog Flotation Device to help them stay afloat. Check that any creek or river your dog enters is clean and free from algae as some types, such as blue-green algae, are toxic to dogs. Give your dog a good rinse in fresh water after they have been at the beach to prevent the salt from drying out their skin and coat.
They might also enjoy running around under a sprinkler, but be sure to dry their ears properly after they have been in the water to avoid ear infections.
4. Staying hydrated
Your dog should have access to multiple sources of fresh, cool water at all times during the summer months. Ensure the container is easily accessible and kept in the shade. Ceramic dishes are a great choice because they help to keep water cool. If your pet isn’t a big drinker, encourage them to keep up their fluids by adding carrot juice, chicken broth or pieces of fruit to their water.
You can also feed your dog more wet food in the summer months which will help keep them more hydrated than if you were to feed them dry food only. Check out our range of dog food including wet food from brands like Advance, Hills and Royal Canin. If your dog eats a special variety of dry food that isn't available as a wet food, you can always add a small amount of water to their dry food.
5. Avoid the hottest times of the day
The best times of day for walking and playing during summer are the early morning or early evening times when there is daylight, but the temperature can often be many degrees cooler. You should still be wary of hot surfaces, especially in the early evening. If you are not sure if it is too hot to walk your dog, place your hand on the surface of the road or footpath. If you are able to keep it there for more than 5 seconds, it should be safe to walk your dog. You should also bring water and a bowl along on all your walks so your dog can stay hydrated. The
Instead of playing more strenuous games like tug of war during summer, encourage your dog to engage in games that don’t require a lot of running around. You can hide toys or treats for your dog to sniff out, place treats in a for them to discover, or make a frozen treat for your dog to lick away at on those days when it is too hot to move.
6. Sun protection
Dogs with lighter coloured fur and hairless breeds such as Chinese Crested dogs can be prone to sunburn, particularly on their ears and noses. Fortunately, there are dog safe sunscreens available to protect those precious pink noses. Check out our range of sunscreen for pets including the Petkin range and Filta-Bac cream.
7. Monitor dogs at risk
Certain breeds of dogs are more at risk of developing heatstroke in the warmer weather. Short-nosed and flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, French and American Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds are more likely to suffer the effects of heatstroke due to their shortened snouts. Older dogs, dogs that are overweight and dogs with heart or breathing problems are also more prone to heatstroke.
8. Grooming for summer
Dirty and matted fur is excellent at trapping heat, so you should make sure your dog is well-groomed before summer begins. You should never shave double-coated breeds such as Huskies and some kinds of Shepherds as the double coat actually helps to keep them cool. If you are not sure if you should shave your dog to help them cope in summer, check with your veterinarian. We stock a wide range ofto help prepare your dog for summer.
9. Never leave dogs in cars
This is a message that just doesn’t seem to get through to some people because every summer there are stories of dogs dying in hot cars. NEVER EVER leave your dog in your car during the summer months. Even if it is for a short period of time and even if you have wound the windows down. The temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels in a matter of minutes and cracked windows do not allow enough airflow to circulate to make any difference. If you see a dog left in a hot car, call 000 immediately.
Things to Watch Out For
There are many dangers unique to summer that a dog owner should watch out for. Here are some of the more important ones to be aware of this summer.
Water intoxication is rare, but occurs when a dog has swallowed a large amount of water in a short space of time. It can cause brain damage and may lead to death. It commonly occurs when a dog has been swimming or playing with water from a hose or sprinkler. You should keep a close eye on your dog when they are swimming or playing with water and if you suspect they are swallowing a lot of water, you should remove them from the water source and allow them to calm down. Limit their time in the water to ten minutes at a time to give them a chance to catch their breath and lessen the chance of them ingesting large amounts of water.
Signs of water intoxication to watch out for include:
- Pale gums
- Loss of coordination such as swaying or falling over
Treatment: If you suspect your dog is suffering from water intoxication, you should take them immediately to your vet as they require treatment urgently to correct any electrolyte imbalance.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration is one of the most common concerns that dog owners are faced with in summer. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, they may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Sunken eyes
- Lethargy or depression
- Dry mouth
- If you grab the skin on the back of their neck, how quickly does it go down? A dehydrated dog’s skin will flatten slower than a hydrated dogs.
Treatment: encourage your dog to drink water but do not force them. If symptoms persist, take your dog to their veterinarian.
Signs of heatstroke
A dog can develop heatstroke if they are exposed to high temperatures for an extended amount of time. If a dog has heatstroke they may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Increased temperature
- Rapid breathing or panting
- Excess or thick saliva
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Fatigue or depression
- Glazed eyes
- Muscle tremors
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
Treatment: Heatstroke can be life-threatening and you should take your dog immediately to your nearest vet. To help them cool down in the meantime, you should wrap them in cool, wet towels, paying particular attention to cooling down their belly, groin and under their arms. You can also use a fan to cool them down. Never put a dog with heatstroke into iced water or attempt to cool them too rapidly as they may go into shock. Do not force your dog to drink water.