With summer just around the corner, most of us will be spending more and more time outdoors to soak up the sun and make the most of the fine weather. For dog lovers this means taking your furry family along for the adventures. But with temperatures rising, it is essential to take extra care of your dog to ensure they stay healthy and safe in the heat. We spoke to our resident dog expert, Lara Nobre to find out what you can do to ensure a safe summer for your pooch.
Don’t overdo it
On very hot days it is easy for your dog to overheat, especially if they are doing any physically demanding activities. Move their daily walk to the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late afternoon, or exercise them indoors to keep them cool.
Bonus tip: although the hottest part of the day is between 11am and 2pm, use your discretion before taking your dog out. If it’s hot for you, it’s probably too hot for them.
Bonus bonus tip: fill a kiddie pool with water and leave it out on a hot day for your dogs to cool off in.
Water, water, water
During summer it is very important that your dog has access to cool drinking water, especially on hot days. If their water bowl is outside, move it to a shady area to limit evaporation and the water becoming too hot to drink. You should also check on it regularly to refill. If you’re going on a long walk or drive in hot weather, remember to take water along and stop regularly to give your dog a drink.
Bonus tip: to encourage your dog to drink more, add a splash of chicken or beef broth to their water.
Dogs can get sunburnt too. Make sure you apply a pet-specific sunscreen to their nose, ears, muzzle and any place with exposed pink skin to keep them protected in the sun. Short-haired or light-coloured dogs might need to be sprayed with sunscreen all over for adequate protection.
Bonus tip: if you’re dog is limited to living outside, move its kennel to a shady part of the garden to limit exposure to the sun.
Don’t ever leave your dog in the car
Even with the windows partially opened, the temperature inside a car can rise well above what it is outside. Dogs also experience heat differently to humans, so even if the day doesn’t seem that hot to you, your dog might beg to differ.
Bonus tip: parking in the shade might seem like an acceptable alternative, but it’s not. Temperatures rise very quickly inside a car and can shoot up with a couple of degrees in just minutes.
Heat stroke and dehydration
Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, because they cannot sweat. Flat-nose breeds, like Pugs and Bulldogs, Huskies, and overweight dogs are particularly at risk of overheating, so keep an eye on them.
Signs of heat stroke to look out for can include excessive panting, thick or sticky saliva, weakness, dizziness and vomiting. Should you suspect heat stroke in your dog, immediately move it to a cooler area, give it water to drink, and call your vet.
To familiarise yourself with the signs of dehydration, check out our article here <link to Dehydration article>.
Have some fun
Bored dogs can become troublesome and act out if they are not physically and mentally exercised. A daily walk or run should suffice, but it won’t hurt to incorporate some fun activities too. Going for a hike is a great way to make that daily walk a little more exciting. You can even try swimming in a pool or lake, or playing fetch when temperatures are cooler.