As the temperatures are due to rise again, Mypetzilla have written the following guidelines on how to keep your dog safe and having fun during the warmer weather.
Swimming safety tips
Swimming can be a great form of exercise for your dog and especially during the warmer days. Not all dog breeds like to swim so you will need to adjust your dog at their own pace and never force them to swim or throw them in the water.
If you decide to take your dog to the beach, you must check the tide timetable for the area you're visiting. It’s also worth checking that the beach is dog-friendly to avoid a wasted trip. If you decide to take your dog to the local river or lake, you must check that the current isn't too strong and that the river or lake is clean enough for dogs to swim in. If your dog was to swim in algae this can be toxic for dogs.
If your dog drinks the sea water this can make them sick and isn't very good for them. You must always bring fresh drinking water.
It's recommend that you wash the salt and sand off your dog’s paws after they've left the beach to help prevent irritation and their paws from drying out.
Lastly, if you suspect that your dog may have inhaled water it is worth you visiting the vets so that they can be checked out to prevent any complications.
Safe times to walk
When the heat is at its hottest, it’s advisable not to walk your dog outside. The best times to walk your dogs are either; early in the morning or later on in the evening.
If temperatures really do rise you should test the heat of the pavement. As a general rule, if the pavement is too hot for you to touch, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws.
If your dog needs lots of mental stimulation you should try playing games with them indoors, or teach them some new tricks.
Warnings for heatstroke
Unlike human’s dogs can actually suffer fatal heatstroke within a matter of minutes. The reason for this is; dogs are unable to sweat via their skin and therefore depend on panting to release the heat through their nose and paw pads to help regulate the temperature of their body and help them keep cool.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs
- Dog collapses
- Excessive panting
- Drooling from the mouth
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke you most move them to a cool place immediately. Wet their coat, with cold water not freezing cold water and contact your vet immediately.
Tips on keeping your dog cool and preventing heat stroke
Provide your dog with access to clean and fresh water at all times. If you have a bigger bowl it's worth filling this up to the brim and maybe providing another bowl somewhere else in the home. You must also carry a water bottle with you on the warmer days.
- On the hotter days, walk your dog early in the morning and late in the evening when the weather its much cooler.
- Under no circumstances should you leave your dog in the car in your absence, regardless if the windows are open. Dogs die in hot cars!
- Watch for signs of your dog overheating, which includes heavy panting and lethargic behaviour. If you recognise any of these signs you must stop what you are doing, move the dog to a shady area and provide some water. If you're unsure of anything ring your vet immediately.
- Dog breeds that have short noses such as boxers and pugs and those that might be overweight are prone to suffering from heat stroke only by simply running around.
- Freeze some of your dog’s tasty treats in water in an ice cube tray. This way the ice will cool them down, keep them hydrated and they will have their tasty treat at the end.
Looking after your dogs coat and skin during Summer
The majority of pale coloured dog’s breeds are prone to sunburn, mostly on their ears, noses, and areas where they have very little hair. Sun damage to a dog’s skin can cause severe damage, which may turn into skin cancer and needing extensive surgery. If your dog has allergies, exposure to the sun can make their skin issues worst.
It is important that you take care of your dog’s paws all the time, especially in the Summer months. If you feel that the pavement is too hot for your hands and feet, then it is definitely too hot for your dog’s delicate paws. To help prevent damaging your dog’s paws, its best to avoid walking them during the hours of 11.00am to 3.00pm when the sun is at its strongest.
It's advisable to buy a loose dog sized t-shirt that can cover your dog up so they don't get sunburn. ALso you can apply and non-toxic sun cream to the vulnerable areas of your dog, such as their ears, face,nose and hairless or very little hair patches on their skin.
If you have a long-haired dog breed you must keep on top of their grooming regime to help prevent their hair from becoming tangled and matted. A tangle-free coat will help protect your dog’s skin and will also help keep them cooler. If your dog’s coat does get dirty and matted they are at more at risk of flies attaching their eggs within the hair and then becoming maggots. You should seek expert advice from a professional groomer.
If your dog enjoys a nice swim the sea, you must remember to wash the sea salt of their coat to help prevent they skin from becoming irritated and drying out.