WHAT YOUR DOG NEEDS YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE SUMMER
(3 minute read)
Summer’s here, and whilst that means more opportunities to spend time outside with our dogs, it also comes with a few challenges. Dogs are particularly susceptible to the heat. Whether you’re out and about enjoying the sun, or just going for a normal walk, we need to take care. Especially on very hot days. As well as the temperature, there is a range of other seasonal things to be aware of too. Here are some of the main risks and potential problems, and some ideas for how to look after your best friend during the summer months.
Dogs are particularly sensitive to the heat, so staying cool and avoiding the hottest parts of the day are important.
Staying cool – find shade in forests rather than open parks and grasslands, or from buildings or covered areas. Try to avoid concrete pavements that retain the heat. On very hot days, try stepping onto the pavement in your bare feet. If you find it uncomfortable, your dog will too.
Make sure your dog has a cool, shaded area at home. Remember, during particularly hot spells, keep your doors, windows and curtains closed during the day, and open them later at night when the temperature outside is lower than that inside. Open windows during the day often just allows hot air in, raising the temperate of your house.
Dampen a large towel and place in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Fold it up and lie it on the floor as a mat for your dog. If they seem uncomfortable in the heat, try using a water spray bottle and a fan to cool them down.
Check online for recipes for chilled and frozen treats for your dog, and add ice cubes to their water.
Staying hydrated – when out and about, always have a supply of water for your dog, ideally in a PINGUI water bottle and bowl. Dogs cool down by panting, which makes them more thirsty. And avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day – usually between around 10am and 5pm.
Dogs, like humans, can be affected by pollen and hay fever, however, it’s usually their skin (rather than the eyes and nose) that are most affected. Is your dog scratching or nibbling their legs or abdomen, or rubbing their ears or muzzle? Is their skin red and/or flaky? With high pollen levels around this year, it could be hay fever. Consider using medicated wipes and shampoos, and dietary supplements.
After a walk in a field, park or forest, dogs may pick up seeds, especially between the pads of their feet. These can cause irritation, and even get under their skin. Check your dog’s feet, and eyes and ears, after walks. If you think your dog has a seed stuck in their skin, speak to your vet.
Small, oval-shaped insects that feed on blood, ticks feel like a small bump on your dog’s skin. First, locate the tick – and DO NOT squeeze it (doing so increases the risk of infection). Wearing gloves, use a tick remover to twist the tick off your dog. Dispose of the tick – do not squash it. Spray the affected area of your dog with a gentle antiseptic like Leucillin. Again, if you’re worried about your dog having a tick, speak to your vet.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your dog’s health, always consult a vet.
Do you have any ideas or advice for keeping your best friend safe in the summer? Share your thoughts below.