Help get your pet ready for summer

Summer is just around the corner, so as you’re probably starting to think about getting yourself ready for the holiday season you should be doing the same for your pet too. Here are some ways to help keep them happy and healthy over the warmer months. Trust us, they’ll thank you for it!

Seasonal grooming

Just as we like to groom ourselves to look and feel our best in time for summer, your dog can also benefit from some pampering to help them shed what’s left of their winter coat. Regular brushing (and bathing) will help remove loose and moulted hairs, but if you have a long-haired breed then it can also be a good idea to take them to have a trim to keep them comfortable in warmer temperatures. Be careful, however, to keep this to a minimum and if they already have a short coat then avoid this altogether as dogs’ fur acts as insulation by helping to regulate body heat and protects them against sunburn. If you’re not sure how much is safe to take off then ask your vet for advice.

Visit the vet

Making sure your pet is in full health prior to summer, and the risks the season can bring, is very important. So arrange for a trip to the vet for a general check up and also to see if they’re up-to-date with vaccinations. When the weather is good, more people are often out with their dogs, meaning yours can come into more contact with other animals than usual, which increases their risk of catching contagious conditions such as kennel cough. If you know that your pet suffers seasonal allergies, then it’s also a good chance to discuss this with your vet and arrange for any required treatment to help ease the symptoms. 

Summer-proof your garden

One of the best things about summer is being able to spend more time outdoors, and what better way to spend an afternoon than enjoying the sunshine with your furry friend? So you can relax without worrying about them having too much sun exposure, make sure that there are plenty of shady areas for your pet to stay cool and comfortable. If you don’t have any shade naturally, then investing in a large outdoor plant or umbrella can be a good solution, or why not plant something in time for next year? Dogs are crafty, and can find their way through small spaces, so check that any fence or boundaries you have are secure and don’t have any possible escape routes. 

Keep them hydrated

Your dog should have a source of constant fresh water available to them all year round, but it’s even more vital during summer to help prevent them suffering from dehydration. Just as we need to up our intake of water in the heat, so do our pets; investing in an extra water bowl, such as a travel one, is ideal for taking on walks and trips or think about a more advanced solution such as a pet fountain. Our Drinkwell range has a fountain suitable for pets of all sizes, to help provide constant access to fresh, filtered water – perfect for those summer months! On especially hot days, ice cubes can be a refreshing and enjoyable treat for your dog, and try putting a few in their water bowl to help keep it cool.

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The security benefits of having a pet

As pet owners will know, there are countless benefits of having a dog, one of which is the feeling of increased security they can bring. Many of us feel safer at home with the knowledge that our canine friend is to hand should we feel threatened by potential intruders. Break-ins are a terrifying experience, in particular if it happens while you’re at home, so the presence of a dog can be a very comforting factor both to help prevent and provide protection should the worse happen. Dogs’ barking can work to deter burglars and alert residents and neighbours and studies show that burglars are less likely to target houses where dogs reside due to the increased risks of detection, arrest or injury. Their acute hearing means your dog will likely be alert to any usual noises or disturbance often before a break in, so helping to increase our sense of security and peace of mind.

There’s a reason why they’re called man’s best friend – dogs are fiercely loyal creatures and won’t think twice before putting themselves in danger to protect and defend you. Their immediate barking at any potential danger to you or your family can help alert others and raise the alarm. And it’s not necessarily the case that it’s just larger dogs who are better for security; they may look more intimidating, but small dogs can have just as lively a bark and it’s this noise which can make all the difference as an alarm.

Dogs have very quick reactions, more so than humans, and will most often act immediately upon detecting anything unusual. This fast action can be enough to scare off an intruder, or may be the difference between alerting you in time to get to safety and call the police. Another highly useful advantage of our furry security guards is that they come with their own very effective weapons – their teeth and claws! Anyone who’s experienced the power of a determined dog’s jaw will know their vice-like grip will clamp on to something (or someone) until they decide otherwise. For those who wouldn’t feel confident or comfortable defending themselves in an emergency, this can be very reassuring to have a willing and ‘armed’ protector constantly nearby.

So not only do they bring us companionship, joy and even benefits to our health and wellbeing, but dogs also help us to feel more safe and secure. And after all, we think a furry alarm system is the best kind any day!

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Keeping your dog safe when out for a walk

Being a responsible pet owner means keeping your furry friend safe at all times, and this includes daily walks – something we do so regularly that it can become easy to overlook the more common dangers and risks out of habit. Have a think about your walking routine and whether you’re doing everything you should to ensure your dog’s safety while they enjoy their daily exercise, like some of these simple steps:

  • Always keep your dog within view so that you’re able to keep a close eye on them; if you can’t see them then you won’t know if anything happens which may put themselves, or others, in harm’s way.
  • Sniffing is natural for dogs, but make sure it doesn’t go any further – be careful not to allow your dog to eat or drink anything unfamiliar; it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Make sure anytime you’re out of the house that your dog has proper identification on, this can be in the form of an ID tag or microchip. The Control of Dogs Order (1992) states that ‘any dog in a public place should wear the name and address of the owner either inscribed on the collar or a name plate or disc attached to it’, so be a responsible owner and follow this at all times.
  • Nice day? If the sun is out and you’re planning on going for a walk then check the temperature of the pavement before you set off. In summer, they can get very hot so if it’s too hot for your hand then it will also be too hot for your dog’s paws!
  • Take some water along with you. This way, should your dog become tired or dehydrated, or something happens which means you’re out for longer than expected, then you’ll be prepared. It also prevents them from being tempted to drink other unknown water sources which can cause an upset stomach.
  • Walks through parks or the countryside can be full of all sorts of objects your dog will come across. Some are prone to eat anything, regardless of any dangers, so be aware of their actions and look out for this. Sticks and rocks can be especially dangerous, causing intestinal blockages if swallowed. If this is a persistent problem then keeping your dog on the lead or making it wear a ‘basket’ muzzle can help you to spot and prevent this behaviour, or keep them busy with other activities such as playing with an interactive toy (our Busy Buddy range is ideal for this).
  • The warmer seasons mean higher pollen levels and also fleas, both of which dogs can have allergies to. Other irritants include grass and various plants, so if you notice your dog suffering from a reaction or symptoms such as scratching, sneezing or even losing fur that seem to be heightened by time spent outdoors then it’s likely they’re suffering from an allergy. Your vet will be able to help you identify what’s causing it and advise on any suitable treatments.
  • Dogs are more likely to pick up ticks on walks in the summer too, which can carry diseases that are transmitted to dogs when they are bitten. Using repellent sprays can prevent ticks from settling on your dog and biting them.

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Filed under Dogs, General, News, Pets