A Hot Topic; Enjoy Summer With Your Dog

26th Jun 2024
min read
Biscuit
Biscuit

As summer has finally arrived in the UK, the warmer weather brings both opportunities and challenges for dog owners. Ensuring your furry friend stays safe, comfortable, and healthy is crucial. We’re here to help you manage your dog during the summer months, covering heat management, exercise precautions, grooming, skin care, travel and transport, outdoor activities, and festivities. 

Heat Management

Hydration: Keeping your dog hydrated is paramount. Ensure fresh water is always available, and consider adding ice cubes to their water bowl to keep it cool. During walks, always carry a portable water bottle and a bowl. 

Cooling Spaces: Create cool and shaded resting areas for your dog, both indoors and outdoors. Fans, air conditioning, and cooling mats can help maintain a comfortable environment. 

Avoid Overheating: Recognise the signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog is overheating, move them to a cool area immediately and contact your vet. 

Exercise Precautions 

Cooler Hours: Walk your dog during the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower to avoid the midday heat. Any temperature above 19°C can cause heat stroke or other complications if exercised too vigorously, and extreme caution should be considered above 24°C. 

Paw Safety: Hot pavements can burn your dog’s paws. Test the ground with your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Stick to grassy areas, use protective booties or do not walk your dog at all until a cooler time of day. 

Moderate Activity: Limit vigorous exercise during hot weather, opt for shorter, more frequent walks instead of long outings. 

Grooming 

Regular Brushing: Brush your dog regularly to remove loose fur and prevent matting, which can trap heat and cause discomfort. 

Appropriate Trimming: While some breeds benefit from a summer trim, avoid shaving double-coated breeds as their fur helps regulate body temperature and protect against sunburn. 

Bathing: Regular baths can help keep your dog cool and clean, but avoid over-bathing as it can strip natural oils from their skin. 

Skin Care 

Sun Protection: Dogs with light-colored fur or exposed skin are susceptible to sunburn. Apply dog-safe sunscreen to sensitive areas like the nose, ears, and belly. 

Allergy Management: Summer can bring seasonal allergies. Watch for signs such as itching, redness, and ear infections. Consult your vet for appropriate treatments if you see any signs of this. 

Insect Protection: Use vet-approved flea and tick preventatives, as these pests are more active in warm weather. Check your dog regularly for ticks, especially after walks in wooded or grassy areas. 

Travel and Transport 

Car Safety: Never leave your dog in a parked car, even with windows cracked. Temperatures can rise quickly and become fatal. Always ensure proper ventilation and cooling when traveling. 

Travel Preparation: Plan your trips with regular breaks for your dog to hydrate and relieve themselves, making sure you have water available at all times. Use sunshades and travel during cooler parts of the day if possible. 

Comfort in Transit: Ensure your dog is comfortable and secure during travel. Use a crate or a dog seatbelt and consider providing a familiar blanket or toy to reduce anxiety. 

Outdoor Activities 

Water Safety: If your dog enjoys swimming, always supervise them around water bodies. Ensure the water is clean and safe, and be cautious of strong currents. 

Barbecue Caution: Keep your dog away from barbecue areas to prevent burns and ingestion of harmful foods like bones, onions, and chocolate. 

Outdoor Fun: Engage in safe outdoor activities like fetch or frisbee in shaded areas but avoid overexertion and provide plenty of water breaks. Playing in a sprinkler in the garden is a great fun way for your dog to play safely and stay cool. 

Festivities and Events 

Noise Anxiety: Summer often brings fates, festivals and loud events. Create a safe, quiet space for your dog at home, and consider calming aids or behavior modification techniques if they are noise-sensitive. 

Identification: Ensure your dog’s ID tags and microchip information are up to date in case they get frightened and run off during busy events. 

Social Gatherings: If attending outdoor gatherings, keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t consume harmful foods or get overwhelmed by the crowd. 

Follow these guidelines and you can ensure your dog enjoys a safe, healthy and happy Summer. Stay proactive and be mindful of the heat to make the most of the sunny days with your four-legged friend!