Summer time means warm weather, sunshine, and hopefully lots of outdoor fun with your pooch! However, when the air starts to get really hot your dog can easily get upset, become dehydrated or unwell. This is why it is essential that you keep your pet cool during those hot summer days.
Keep reading to learn a few simple but important summer safety tips for dog owners:
Water is an essential element for life for all living beings. When the temperature starts to rise you must ensure your dog has always plenty of clean, fresh water available to drink.
Just like humans it is quite easy for your pooch to become dehydrated and overheat. You may want to consider adding a few ice-cubes to your pup's water bowl or even feeding one or two directly to it. Check the water level often throughout the day to see if you need to replace or refill the bowl, and never leave the house without making sure there is sufficient water. If you are going out for a walk or even for a swim at the beach, carry a bottle of water with you so that your dog can get some refreshment while you're out together. If your pup is naturally not a big drinker, you can easily provide part of the required hydration by researching recipes for some yummy doggie popsicles.
Another common summer event for people is the dreaded sunburn. Being outdoors for extended periods of time without UV protection can cause our skin to burn, and in some serious cases induce a heatstroke. Well, sunburn is a real possibility for dogs as well, especially those that are kept outside.
Pooches with light skin tone and short or thin coats are particularly prone to sunburn and skin cancer. If you own a short-haired breed such as Greyhounds, Chihuahuas or even French Bulldogs you must do everything possible to prevent their skin from getting burnt. Apply sunscreen on your pet’s skin about ten minutes before going outside every day in the hot summer sun. A dog-friendly sunscreen should be perfume free, non-staining, and containing UVA and UVB barriers similarly to products made for humans. With a little research and maybe some advice from the vet you'll be able to find a number of options available on the market that are specifically made for furry friend.
In case your pup is a long-haired breed, don't underestimate the negative effect long-lasting exposure to the sun can have on your dog and try to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
Our four-legged friends can suffer from heatstroke when exposed to hot and humid conditions, constant exercise or due to respiratory diseases. Unfortunately, the major cause of heatstroke in a dog is often the careless action of the owner who may leave a pup waiting in the car or outside a shop directly under the sun.
If you're heading for a long day at the beach and know there is no shelter from direct light, maybe consider leaving your dog at home in the cool air-conditioned environment. However, in case you are unable to leave your pooch on its own for too long be very careful and watch out for any sign of overheating: constant panting, eyes wide open, red gums. Certain dog breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs are more prone to heat exhaustion due to their shortened face and could begin feeling the heat during the car ride to the beach. Always travel with a window cracked ope or turn on the air-con in your vehicle to prevent the temperature from rising excessively. Give your pup frequent breaks in the shade, fresh water and a few treats so that they can hydrate. And don't stretch it: if you notice any sign of discomfort and excessive panting immediately head in the shade and look for a water tap so that you can run a cool shower over your pet's entire body before heading back home or to the vet in extreme cases.
Many of us will head to the pool or seaside during summer looking for a way to beat the heat. Well, your dog may enjoy the same options!
Depending on your living arrangements and the size of your dog, consider purchasing a baby pool. This simple solution not only will allow your pet to cool down but will also provide some extra fun in the summer heat. If you choose to install a plastic pool, be mindful of your pooch's safety and avoid any potential choking or drowning hazard. Another option if you have a backyard could be to give your dog a good hose down, a great choice for those pups that are not too keen on being submerged or walking into a water basin.
In case your apartment doesn't have access to a courtyard, consider using air-conditioning in the warmest hours of the day or maybe a simple fan. Your dog will show its appreciation by relaxing in front of it while getting a few extra cuddles!
As we all know, the insect population drastically increases in the summer time. Like most people would choose insect repellents for themselves, dog owners should consider protecting their animal companions as well given they are vulnerable to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, fly bites, spider bites, bee stings and many more. Most of these insects carry diseases that can make your pooch extremely ill, and even kill it. Speak to your veterinarian to determine the best preventive measures against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and heart-worms.
Another important aspect to consider is anything that may attract a variety of insects to your garden which may then pose a risk to your pet's health. Be mindful when buying harmful chemicals or pesticides in your backyard as many of them can be toxic to dogs. With a little research and expert advice, you'll find a wide range of less invasive pest control measures.