We all love summer, in particular when we experience spells of good weather. Warm sunny days are a real treat for everyone, but as the temperature rises it can affect our pets too, although they can’t let us know if they’re suffering so it’s important to help your dog stay cool in the heat and enjoy the summer months.
It’s not just us humans that suffer from the negative effects of the sun; dogs can be victims of sunburn, and even skin cancer, too. With this in mind, be careful not to use sunscreen designed for humans on your dog, as the chemicals they’re produced with can irritate their skin and also be harmful if ingested (and we all know dogs’ tendencies to lick their coats!). There are special sun lotions formulated for pets, available in pet stores, but the best option is to minimise the time your dog spends exposed in the sun where possible. Dogs’ hair has insulating properties and in fact helps to keep them cool, but this is not commonly known amongst pet owners who often believe getting their coat trimmed will help. Certain breeds are more susceptible to catching the sun than others, including those with white and lighter coloured fur so they will need extra protection from the sun.
It should go without saying but never leave your dog in a parked car; even with the window cracked, cars rapidly overheat to unbearable temperatures and this could lead to sunstroke. Likewise, you should avoid tying your dog up outside in the sun – if you need to leave them temporarily then be sure to find a shady spot such as under a tree. Dogs enjoy being outside on nice days, so ensure there is always a cool, sheltered spot accessible for them in your garden then there’s no need for them to miss out.
With long, bright days, summer is a great time of year for enjoying the outdoors even more with your pet and means great exercise for both of you! As the weather improves, try to select cooler times of the day to take your dog out such as mornings or early evenings instead of the heat of the day. If you are doing more strenuous activity with them, such as fetch or Frisbee in the park, make sure you observe if they seem to be getting tired or overheating – excessive panting or appearing lethargic are signs of this. Taking a bottle of water along with you is ideal to help re-hydrate your dog or also use it to cool them down.
Dehydration and heatstroke are the main concerns for dogs when the weather gets hot, however both can be quite easily prevented by taking the right steps. More than ever, in summer it’s vital to keep your pet hydrated so make sure they have a plentiful supply of water accessible to them at all times, including an extra bowl in the garden. Pet fountains, such as our Drinkwell range, are a great way of providing a constant supply of fresh, filtered water which means no need to worry when you are out. Heatstroke can develop very quickly and the symptoms to look out for include panting, apparent dehydration, extremely high temperature, a fast heartbeat and if your dog appears anxious. If you notice any of these signs, ensure you seek immediate advice from your vet.
Now you know what to consider you and your pet can enjoy the benefits of summer together – safe and happy.