Summer dog care
Keeping your dog healthy and happy throughout the warmer summer months is all about careful preparation and forward planning. To help you stay on top of things, we've put together our top 10 summer dog care tips, so you can enjoy the sun in safety with your best friend.
1. Never leave a dog in the car
Leaving a dog alone in a hot car can be fatal – even opening a window or parking in the shade doesn't offer enough protection. Make sure you have a plan for any hot days so your dog isn't left alone in the car or any other enclosed spaces.
2. Always remember water
It's important to ensure your dog has access to plenty of clean drinking water all year round, but especially in the summer. If you're out and about with your dog, ensure you always have a bottle of water and a bowl for them.
3. Keep them cool any way you can
There are many ways you can help your dog stay cool when the temperature rises.
- Encourage them to stay in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight
- Put down damp towels for them to lie on
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold water
- Put the garden sprinkler on
- Keep a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash about in
- Invest in a dog cooling jacket
4. Plan your walks
Try and avoid taking your dog out in the midday sun. Early morning or evening walks will be cooler and more pleasant for your best friend.
5. Introduce new games
Introducing new games that don't involve too much running around is a good idea when the weather gets warmer.
- Hide toys or treats and let your dog sniff them out
- Use toys or treats to encourage your dog into a shaded paddling pool
- Freeze food or use special food puzzles to keep your dog stimulated without too much exertion
6. Remember regular grooming
Regular grooming and/or clipping will keep your dog's coat clean and free of knots. This is important as matting can trap heat.
7. Dogs wear sun cream too
Just like humans, dogs are at risk of burning in the sun if they're not protected – especially lightly coloured or thinly coated dogs. But the good news is you can pick up specially formulated sun cream for dogs at most pet shops. If you're unsure whether your dog needs sun cream, ask your vet.
8. Protect their foot pads
Hot surfaces can really hurt your dog's foot pads, particularly sand or tarmac. If these surfaces feel too hot for you, the chances are your dog's thinking the same.
9. Is your dog microchipped?
As a legal requirement, it's important to make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with an ID tag. In the summer you're likely to be outside a lot more with your dog so they need to be identifiable should they go missing.
10. Watch for signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke develops when a dog can't reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal. Signs of heatstroke include:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- A rapid pulse
- Excessive salivation
- Lack of coordination
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Loss of consciousness
If you think your dog has heatstroke, you need to act fast. Take them to a cool, shaded area. Apply towels soaked in cold water to their head, neck and chest and let them drink water or lick an ice cube. Never place them directly into ice cold water or give them too much to drink as they may go into shock.
Make sure you contact your vet or call Vetfone on 0303 334 0612 immediately if you suspect your dog has heatstroke.