Summer is here and how marvellous it is to be walking in glorious sunshine surrounded by other people enjoying the current UK heat wave. How ever, your dog might not be loving the rise in temperature quite as much as you perceive so here is some quick tips for keeping your canine companion cool this sunny season…
Seems pretty simple and logical and you may be rolling your eyes at me like “durr, obviously my dog needs water”, but what you might forget is that you will need to be refilling and cleaning that bowl much more often that usual. Besides your dogs extra water intake to remain hydrated emptying the bowl every few hours, the rise in temperature will also be evaporating the water quicker. You might want to relocate the water bowl so that it is always in shaded spot away from any windows to keep it cool and lasting a little longer.
Keeping your dog’s water bowl fresh and clear of scum will ensure your dog is not put off hydrating themselves by a murky, half emtpy, luke-warm water bowl. Adding ice cubes to your dogs water when you go out will help keep the water cool and also act as a slowly added water supply. If your dog is not a big water drinker then add some water into their dinner and mix it up to secretly hydrate them.
2. Walkie Times
Now that it’s summer you must resist the temptation to walk your dog during the day in the hottest times. The pavements beneath your protective footwear are lava hot and will burn your dogs paws causing severe pain, blistering and possible infection.
Try to go before the sun really heats up and rises high in the sky and after it has dropped in later evening. Alternatively, find somewhere that is completely 100% grass such as a field or large estate where you can carry your dog to the cool grass and let them pad around freely. It is important to be well stocked up on water during as well as after the walk.
3. In The Car
Oh yes, i’m going to say it; do NOT leave your dog in a car. Even with the window open, it is too hot. Even in a shady spot with all 4 windows half way down, a car sat completely still in the humid heat will drive your insane, and if you still think i am being OTT on this subject, i suggest you go and try it, see how long you last before you wish to be zooming down a motorway at 70mph. A dog left in the sun or even just the heat, in a closed car can physically bake to death and in the UK this year it was made legal for members of the public to break into any closed car in the sun containing a dog.
When travelling in the car, please be sympathetic to the pure fact that automobile air con does not affect the rear of a car as efficiently as it does the front, and therefore you may have to suffer the ‘windswept and interesting’ look from open windows on the motorway oppose to air con that wont even cut through your dogs fur to relieve any heat.
Always travel with plenty of water and a bowl.
4. Pool Party
You don;t have to be rich to throw your dog a mini puppy pool party. Children’s sandpits and plastic paddling pools can be bought for next to nothing, fill it with water and watch your dog cool off in complete bliss. Get the hose on and give them a cooling spray, also a good way to allow your dog to exercise in the garden to relieve some energy without over heating. The water will also get off some of that excess hair pup has been malting all over your house.
5. Sunscreen & Shade
Sun cream is an essential item on our children’s and our own summer shopping list, so why aren’t we conscious of the dangers to our dogs’ exposed skin? White dogs and dogs with thin coats (eg. the greyhound, bulldogs) are particularly susceptible to sun burn but all dogs have areas that require keeping an eye on this summer: the muzzle and areas around the nose and mouth, the belly and undercarriage including around the genitals and the ears; edges, behind and exposed internal area. Specialist doggy sun creams and wipes are available online and large high st pet supply retailers.
Always allowing your dog the option to remove themselves from the sun to be in the shade is essential. Most dogs will choose to lie indoors usually on a lino, wooden or (the favourite) tile floor oppose to carpet as it has a wonderfully relieving cooling effect.
It is a strange fact that although when it comes to their birthday or Christmas, what they wear or even their discipline method (doggy time out is not effective), we treat our dogs like people, humanising them physically, emotionally and psychologically. Yet when it comes to summer we forget that they are as susceptible to things like dehydration, sun burn and sun stroke as children are, mistaking their open mouth panting in the baking sun for “a smile whilst sunbathing”… Every dog is different and whilst some may cope in the summer heat without issue, others, particularly those in the UK born in any time other than a Summer month, may be severely effected by the heat and humidty with extreme malting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and lethargy, even if kept in the shade. Be mindful this summer about your dogs condition and should any severe blistering or significant changes occur please consult with your vet.
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