A healthy, happy dog for summer and beyond
Dogs can have great fun during the summer months.
Breeds that love the water, like Labrador Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels will enjoy the chance to bound into the sea and rivers and lakes and ponds and puddles…anywhere really, and in my experience the muddier and smellier the better.
Even dogs that are not so keen on water will probably make the most of spending more time with their families outside. Children will be home for school holidays, the days are longer and the warmer weather generally means more hours per week spend in the garden or park, and having longer walks, through the woods or down to the beach.
It can be a wonderful time for the dogs themselves and for us as owners as we get to see our canines doing what they do best; playing, enjoying their walks and their families, and sniffing out messages from their fellow four legged friends.
But there are some potential problems for dogs during hot weather. Most of us, as loving pet owners will already be aware of what those issues are, but I do think its work quickly re-visiting those points to ensure our dogs have a healthy, happy summer
Dogs can become dehydrated and suffer from heatstroke very, very quickly. They don’t sweat and can only really regulate their body temperature by panting. We need to keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t suffer from heatstroke. Once we spot the symptoms – excessive panting, drooling, pale gums, lethargy and ultimately collapse – we need to act fast, cooling the dog down as quickly as possible and calling the vet if they don’t appear to rally immediately.
Prevention is always better than cure, so with this in mind, here is the Chapelstone guide to ensuring your dog stays cool and healthy and comfortable this summer.
Keep your dog’s bowl filled with fresh, clean water at all times. There should be a bowl of water next to his food bowl and near to his bed, and it’s a good idea to have a bowl of water in a shaded area of the garden too if he’s in and out during the day. If you pop his favourite treats into ice cube tray segments, top up with water and freeze them, your dog will love you forever. OK, I know, he does anyway.
If for any reason you need to leave your dog tied up in the garden, remember that whilst you may think you’ve left him in the shade, he could very well find himself tied up in full sun within a short space of time. The same applies to leaving a dog tied up outside a shop, something we hope you would only do in an emergency if at all.
If you are going out for the day and leaving the dog at home, ensure that as well as having access to water, he is in a cool part of the house preferably where there is a cool tiled floor to lie on. Consider leaving on a ceiling fan, or leave a small window open to allow a flow of air.
Keep him groomed. Choose the right brush according to your dogs breed. Furminators are great for getting the bottom coat out of double coated breeds; Zoom Grooms are gentler and do a great job too. If in any doubt, or if your breed requires it, find a good local dog groomer to keep him trimmed up during the warmer months. As well as feeling better and cooler, your dog stands less chance of falling victim to fleas, ticks and mites if his coat is clean and untangled. Despite your best efforts, he may still pick up some of these pests, so keep his bedding laundered regularly.
When it’s very hot, try to walk your dog either early in the morning or late evening, when it’s a good few degrees cooler. Watch out for that excessive panting too; they are not always sensible and can dash around at great speed with excitement and it sometimes means we have to be ‘policemen’ and slip the lead back on if they are running about too much. If you are going to go on the pavement or even on sand, check the temperature. If you think the surface would burn your bare feet then it’s going to be too hot for your dog. Also, be sure to take a water bottle with you and a collapsible bowl.
Finally…I have to add this although I’m sure I don’t need to even mention it to you fellow dog lovers…but please please please NEVER leave you dog in a car in the summer.
Even with the windows open. Even when the car is in the shade. Even when you don’t actually think it’s THAT hot out there.
Every year there are horror stories and every year I can’t believe it’s happened again. Don’t take the dog with you if you’re going to need to leave it locked in the car. Or just don’t go out.
Enjoy this summer with your dog. Keep him cool, play with him, give him your time and attention and have some great memories to take you through the next year.