As the weather is starting to get warmer it is important that you know how best to keep your dogs cool and healthy during the summer months. As much as we all love to frolic in the sunshine it is important to remember that dogs suffer from sunburn, dehydration and overheating just like we do!
Before summer starts take your dog to the vets for a check up
Visit your vet to ensure your dog is protected from parasites such as heartworm, which is more prevalent during the summer, and for the management of fleas, ticks and other nasty diseases. You should also talk to your vet about suitable sunscreens for your dog. Using a sunscreen or insect repellent that is meant for people on your dog can lead to bad chemicals, such as DEET, being absorbed through the skin that may then make your dog ill.
Know the warning signs of dehydration
As dogs do not sweat much it can be hard for them to cool down. If your dog shows the following signs they may be dehydrated:
- Frantic panting
- Dry gums
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of skin elasticity
Tips to prevent dehydration
- Ensure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water. Check your dog’s water bowl regularly to ensure that they have clean, fresh water, this includes cleaning the bowl daily to prevent any nasty build up of bacteria. You should also make sure to take water out with you when walking your dog, travelling in a car or going for a day out at the beach.
- Make sure your dog has a cool, shady place to keep out of the sun. If your dog is kept outside you should try to bring them inside, if possible, to ensure that they do not overheat in the sun. You can keep your home cool for them by leaving the air-conditioning on, providing them with a wet towel to cool down on or by leaving a window open. When leaving windows open make sure to use screens or to only open windows that they can not jump out of as they may get excited by adults or children out on the street and try to join in! If you have to keep your dog outside, or are spending a lot of time in the garden or at the beach make sure they have somewhere shady to cool down. Small inflatable pools are a lovely summer treat for dogs who need a cool off. When at the beach your dog may want to take a dip in the sea to cool down, if so, make sure to wash them off with fresh water after as the salt water can become rough on their fur and skin.
- Schedule walks and playtime at cooler times of the day. Choose to walk or play outside with your dog in the early mornings, evenings and night time so that they do not get too overheated when exercising. When walking your dog always check the pavement is not too hot as this will burn their paw pads – you could invest in some doggie boots to prevent this from happening.
- Never leave your dog in a car. This should not need to be elaborated, cars are like ovens for dogs when the weather is warm. Just don’t do it!
- Keep them well groomed to avoid overheating. Talk to a groomer about what is best for your dog. Some dogs may benefit from a hair cut for the summer months to prevent overheating. Be sure to always leave at least an inch of hair to help protect your dog from the risk of sunburn.
By ensuring your dog always has access to fresh, clean water and somewhere to keep cool you can both enjoy the lovely summer weather.