As summer is fast approaching, we thought it was the ideal time to provide you with some summer dog safety tips and how best to care for your pets throughout the hot weather.
Dog Safety Tips – About Your Dog
Dogs love the summer just as much as their owners do, but they cannot protect themselves as efficiently as we can. Dogs can produce sweat, but not in the same way that humans do, and so they find it much harder to keep cool during the summer. The primary way dogs manage to cool themselves down is through panting. However, when there is only warm air available, your dog will struggle to stay cool.
It is so important to remember never to leave your dog in the car in the warm weather, regardless of whether the windows are open or not. Even if you think you won’t be gone for long, you can always get caught out of time. Temperatures inside a car can rise approximately 20 degrees within just 10 minutes. Even if you think it is cool enough, the temperature inside your car can rise incredibly quickly, and it’s not worth the risk.
If it is necessary to take your dog in the car on a hot day, then remember to pack water and a water bowl and take your dog with you when you leave the car. If you notice a dog left in a car on a scorching day, then do not be afraid to call the police who will inform the RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.
Like humans, dogs are just as susceptible to danger from the sun’s rays, especially those dogs with light coloured on thin coats. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs, and even though fur will provide some protection from the sun, you should be applying suncream to your dog every 3 – 4 hours to the most delicate areas.
A sunburnt dog can suffer from inflamed, irritated and painful skin which can lead to flaky skin and hair loss. To protect your dog, invest in a sunscreen designed specifically for canine use. You should, however, avoid any suncream that contains para-aminobenzoic acid (also known as PABA) which is toxic to dogs if ingested. Look for a fragrance-free suncream with UVA and UVB protection.
When applying the suncream, pay particular attention to most delicate areas of skin, for example, your dog’s ears, nose, mouth and back.
Other than panting and drinking water, your dog has no other way to cool themselves down. In order to prevent dehydration, your dog will want to drink more water so make sure to provide them with constant access to cool water. Feeding your dog wet food rather than dry biscuits is also a good way to help increase their fluid intake.
Make sure to encourage your dog to stay in the shade because exerting themselves in the heat is more likely to make them dehydrated. If dogs lie in direct sunlight, they are much more likely to overheat and cause themselves heatstroke. If you think your dog has spent too much time in the sun, then look out for excessive panting, drooling, distress, excess saliva, a body temperature higher than 40 degrees and bright red gums. These are all signs and symptoms of heatstroke.
Because of their lack of shoes, dogs are particularly susceptible to burns from surfaces. Make sure to test the surface you’re about to walk on with the 5-second rule. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds, and if you are unable to hold it there for that long, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Where possible, make sure to walk on the grass or equip your dog with boots.
You will notice your dog start to limp, refuse to walk or start to lick and chew their feet if they have received a burn. Make sure to also look out for blisters, redness or missing parts of their paw pad. You can soothe their burns by placing cold compressions or ice packs on the affected paws. Keep their paws clean and take them to the vets as soon as possible. Paws are a difficult part of a dog’s body to heal, and they may require special bandaging dressed by a nurse.
During the summer, hookworms and heartworms are much more prevalent and can infect your pet through the pads of their feet. To help prevent parasites, ask your vet for a prescription for dog wormer tablets. Hookworms are tiny, blood-sucking parasites. Due to the number of nutrients they strip from a dog, they can be fatal in young dogs especially. Hookworms are not common in the UK, but they are present in Europe.
Heartworms, on the other hand, are thin worms that can grow up to 12 inches long and that live inside a dog’s heart. If untreated, they can lead to congestive heart failure. For fleas, ticks and mosquitos, ask your vet for a pet-friendly insect repellent. K9 Advantix II®, which can be prescribed for by your vet, repels mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and flies for up to 30 days. This is a necessary investment for your dog as the summer weather approaches.
Being a dog owner, you should already know that alcohol is extremely toxic to a dog. And with summer being BBQ and outdoor party season, it is vital you keep alcoholic beverages away from your pets. It is also essential to make sure other fluids that your dog may be tempted by, due to the heat, are out of reach. Fluids in your garage, such as anti-freeze, are especially fatal for your dog if ingested. It is vital to always keep all toxic liquids out of sight and reach of your dogs.
Overall, here are the most important ways to keep your dog safe and protected this summer. If you are an existing dog owner, new dog owner or looking for dogs or puppies for sale, make sure to read and understand this guide to safeguard your dog’s health and happiness throughout the year.