Summer is just around the corner, along with hot weather and blue skies, giving us more quality time to spend with our furry friends outside.
However, the summer season can sometimes be an uncomfortable one to man’s best friend. During this time of year, dogs feel the heat just as much, if not more, than the rest of us.
From avoiding hot pavement surfaces to regularly staying hydrated, it’s often tricky for dog owners to navigate the summer season.
In preparation of the warm weather ahead, here are some top tips from PitPat ambassador Rory Cowlam on how to keep your dog cool…
Dogs suffer from severe thirst in extremely warm weather. Look out for keys signs of dehydration in your pet, including: excessive drooling and panting, dry gums, sunken eyes and lethargy.
If you’re going out and about, make sure to take plenty of fresh cold water – it’s not just you that will need a top up every now and again.
It’s handy to take a portable bowl with you so that your dog can drink from anywhere with ease.
Consider ice cube treats
Get creative by getting an ice cube tray, adding a few bits of meat, veggies, fruit… whatever you like, and then top up with low salt meat stock.
Not only will your dogs LOVE them but they also help keep them cool.
Avoid the hot parts of the day
Dogs enjoy sunbathing just as much as their owners, however, direct sunlight can overheat them so keep your pet in the shade as much as possible.
If you leave your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds and it’s burning – it’s too hot!
Be sure to stick to the mornings and evenings as the sun isn’t at it’s highest so the temperature will naturally be cooler.
This is even more important for all you rachycephalic (smooched face breed) owners! Dogs cannot sweat and instead regulate their temperature largely through panting, so these breeds find this harder to do.
Keep your pet off the pavement
When on a summer stroll be aware of the effects hot surfaces, notably cement, can have on your dog’s wellbeing. Paw burning, an increase in body temperature, overheating and exhaustion, can all effect your pooch.
Consider carrying a water spray with you when out with your pet. Using it on your dogs paws and stomach every so often when out for long walks in the heat is the perfect way to counter any sore paws and overheating.
There are also a number of dog-centric accessories on the market to counteract overheating.
Furthermore, dogs are no stranger to sunburn. Try to keep dogs in the shade to minimize the effect of burning and apply sunscreen on sensitive areas such as the nose, ears and anywhere with thin fur.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for dogs during the summer. However, be cautious of strong tides and the effects of drinking salt water if you are visiting the beach.
Make sure that the water is clean and dry them off after, especially their ears. Remember if you wouldn’t swim in it, neither should your dog.
If you own a puppy or smaller dog, an alternative to a beach or lake swim is setting up a paddling pool in your garden.
However, be careful of over exercising your canine friend…
avoid over exercise
Over-exercising your dog in the summer can make them uncomfortable and can be dangerous.
There are many devices you can use to keep track of your dog’s activity, such as a PitPat which will monitor how much exercise your pet is doing and will help you to set realistic, healthy exercise goals.
Dogs are great at wanting to please their owners but make sure they aren’t going to hurt themselves, over-exercising can cause a lot of issues, especially if it’s hot out.
tailor their dinner portions
Dogs generally get more exercise in the nice weather (because of the owners mainly not the dogs) so consider tailoring their dinner portions to how much exercise they’re getting.
ban the car
When travelling long distances dogs tend to get agitated in cars, especially in heat, with car sickness being common.
Where possible, do not take your dog in the car as it gets super hot, super quick.
If you do need to complete a necessary long car journey with your dog, visit your vet before you set off to determine whether dog suffers from motion sickness or has a phobia of travelling. Often motion sickness is stabilised with anti-nausea tablets.
Remember to keep your pet strapped in either on a leash or dog crate to avoid trouble with the police.
Finally, do not leave your dog alone in a hot car. Hundreds of dogs lose their life each year due to heatstroke after being left in cars on hot days.
Don’t throw sticks (Yes, really!)
As important as it is to get your dog running to shed those calories, sticks cause all sorts of injuries including life-threatening wounds. You’re actually much better throwing a ball.