Now that the rain has stopped and the sun is well, sort of shining, it is the perfect time of year for you to get out the walking boots and take your furry friend for some summer adventures. Swap the smartphones and TV for fresh-air and exercise and treat your dog to a fantastic walk or special day out.
But although the excitement of those sunny days is upon us, it’s important you know the danger this poses to your beloved pets.
In 2018, during the summer’s record-breaking heatwave, 64% of vets across the UK reported treating animals for heat-related conditions, with dogs suffering particularly from heat-stroke, burnt paw pads and heart conditions. As some of you may know, dogs cannot sweat and therefore are extremely vulnerable to overheating, even at times when you think they look fine. With this in mind, owners should take extra precaution to make sure your four-legged friend is cool, hydrated and happy this summer.
Don’t leave your dog in the car – It’s common knowledge that leaving a dog in a car can be fatal, as temperatures inside cars can double within an hour. Even leaving your dog in a car with the window open isn’t enough on hotter days, so if possible, take your dog with you when leaving your vehicle, or try to avoid days out where you’ll have to leave the dog unattended for a while. Every year, hundreds of owners gamble on their pets’ lives – don’t be one of them.
Keep them hydrated – With the sunny weather, dogs are likely to enjoy more precious playtime outside and won’t stop having fun just because it’s hot. Therefore, it is crucial you make sure they have plenty of water for when playtime is over. Fill up their bowl with fresh water regularly, and maybe put a few ice cubes in there to help them cool off from their run around the garden. If you notice your dog panting like me after a 10-minute run, make sure they take a drink and refrain from physical activity for a short while.
Avoid walking at the hottest times of the day – Although this may be difficult to fit around your schedule, walking your dogs either early in the morning or later in the evening is a sure-fire way to ensure they don’t overheat. It’s hard enough walking yourself at 1pm on a hot summers day, so imagine how a dog feels having to deal with wearing a furry coat as well. Unlike us, dogs don’t have the luxury of trainers or boots and can often burn their paw-pads on the pavement; yes, even in the UK! Walking in the morning and at night should prevent your pets from feeling the burn and having to tip-toe around for the next few days.
Buy some doggy sun-cream! – It’s not just you who should be worried about turning pink in the heat this summer, some dogs need protection too! If your pooch has a light-coloured nose and ears, they may be susceptible to sunburn which can be extremely uncomfortable for them. Luckily, there are many affordable bottles of doggy sun-cream on offer in local pet shops and online, which could come in handy on those long weekend walks around the countryside.
If your dog is excessively panting, struggling to get up, or you are concerned about its health in any way this summer, contact your local vet immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your best friend.
Summer is a time for families to get together and enjoy the beauty that the outdoors has to offer. Don’t let these months be ruined by a dreaded trip to the vet; stay cool, be aware of the dangers and keep on top of your dogs health this summer.