Summer dog care
10 tips to keep your dog safe throughout the summer months.
1. Provide ways for your dog to stay cool
You could lay down some damp towels for your dog to lie on, fill a hot water bottle with cold or iced water, put on a sprinkler in the garden or put a plastic paddling pool in some shade for your dog to splash about in. Your dog may find its own favourite cool spots, such as cool kitchen and bathroom tiles, or even inside the bath.
2. Keep your canine hydrated
Always allow your dog access to fresh, clean drinking water. If you’re taking your dog out for a walk, carry a bottle of water and give your dog regular, short water breaks.
3. Groom your pooch regularly
Keeping your dog’s coat clean and tangle free will remove loose fur and prevent matting which can trap heat. Consider clipping long coats for summer.
4. Don't forget the sunscreen
Dogs can burn in the sun just like humans so apply a waterproof sunscreen specifically formulated for pets. Lightly coloured or thinly coated dogs tend to be at a greater risk of burning but if you are unsure if your dog needs sunscreen check with your vet.
5. Walk your dog at sensible times
Try and walk your dog in the early morning or evening when temperatures are not so high – do not walk your dog in the midday peak sun.
6. Take care of your dog’s foot pads
If you’re out and about remember that hot surfaces can burn your dog's foot pads – street paths, patios and sand at the beach can get very hot. If it’s too hot for you to touch then it will be too hot for your dog.
7. Find other ways to occupy your dog that doesn’t involve too much physical exertion
- Teach your dog to search for toys or treats
- Encourage them to retrieve toys from a paddling pool in a shaded part of the garden
- Use food puzzles or freeze food to make doggy ice lollies so that using his brain tires him out rather than physical exertion
- Go for a swim at your nearest canine hydrotherapy centre (you will usually require a vet referral to ensure your dog is fit enough to do this).
8. Never leave dogs alone in a car
A car can become hot very quickly reaching lethal temperatures. Having a cracked open window or parking in the shade doesn't allow dogs to get enough fresh air to regulate their body temperature as they can only cool themselves by panting. This also applies to any other hot enclosed places such as glass conservatories or sheds.
9. Act immediately if you suspect heat stroke
Heat stroke within dogs can be fatal and develops when they are unable to reduce their body temperature. Look out for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, excessive salivation and lack of coordination, this can then develop to even more extreme symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or loss of consciousness.
If your dog has developed heat stroke act immediately - move them into a cool area, apply towels soaked in cool water to their head, neck and chest and let them drink a small amount of water or lick ice cubes. Never place them in to ice cold water as this can put them into shock or give them excessive amounts of water to drink. You should contact your vet for advice immediately.
10. Make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a tag
Whether you are planning on taking your dog for a day at the beach or bringing them along on your next camping trip, it is a legal requirement for all dogs in England, Wales and Scotland to be microchipped and wear a collar with an ID tag. This is also the best way for your dog to be identified should they go missing.