At last, it appears that the weather is improving and we can all enjoy some summer sunshine. Temperatures are soaring too, but this sweltering heat isn’t good for our furry friends, some of whom find it difficult to cope with the extra warmth.
As responsible pet owners, we must ensure that our dogs are healthy, happy and not suffering from summer dangers. This article covers car travel essentials, garden hazards, summer pests, heatstroke and sunburn prevention.
If you are planning a journey, consider whether it is essential to take your dog with you. If this cannot be avoided, consider some necessary points to help keep your pet cool on the journey. Take frequent breaks for toilet duties and a refreshing, cool drink of water for your dog. While sitting up front in the car, with the cool air blowing onto your face, remember it will be warmer in the back of the car where your dog is sitting.
Temperatures inside a stationary car can soon rise to around double the temperature outside within a very short period of time, minutes. Never, ever leave your dog alone in a car for whatever reason! Please leave your dog at home if you need to pop to the high street.
We all love to spend time in the garden during the summer, but we must ensure that the garden is also a safe place for our dogs. During the gardening season, many dangers lurk in the garden, with pesticides, pellets and chemicals likely to be used on the flowers and vegetables. Before you purchase any items for your plants, you carefully read the labels to ensure they are safe for your pets or research and use friendlier, organic methods of dealing with garden pests.
Keep your dog at a safe distance from your BBQ. Check that he cannot get access to your garden pond or pool without you being in the near vicinity. Several common household flowers and garden plants may be toxic to dogs, causing anything from severe poisoning to skin irritations. Research details and is well-advised on your garden flora.
When out walking
Your dog won’t understand his limits and will keep walking even though he is suffering from the effects of extremely high temperatures. If you notice that he isn’t walking to his usual pace, or appears to be breathing faster than usual, slow your walk down to give him time to cool off. Perhaps consider a game of ball in the garden once the sun has gone down and the air is fresher.
During the day’s heat, the tarmac on the roads and pathways can be extremely hot and damage your dog’s pads. Try taking your daily walk through the woods, grassed parks, and beach. If you need any information on any of the routes I take as a professional Dog Walker, I will be happy to let you have details of the best woodland trails and dog-friendly parks in the Finchley area.
The warm weather brings the arrival of undesirable pests, such as mites, ticks and fleas. Make sure you know the procedure for removing these, whether you use off-the-shelf sprays, collars and drops or natural remedies. Find a preferred method and utilise it.
Many dogs love to chase things that move fast, so a wasp or a bee is often seen as a plaything. If he does get a sting, it’s not usually an emergency, so long as you act quickly. With a bee sting, remove the sting with tweezers trying not to squeeze the poison sac, and bathe the sting wound with bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water. Wasp stings have no sting to remove, so bathe the area with lemon juice or malt vinegar.
A dog cannot sweat to cool down and will pant to regulate his body temperature. Recognise the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs, and be prepared to act fast. The dog will come at first pant more than usual and may sound distressed and agitated. The painting will become more excessive, and he may start to drool. The dog will then struggle to breathe, may have dark red gums, and be glassy-eyed. In the latter stages of heatstroke, body temperatures will have risen to such a high point that seizures or coma may occur, and ultimately, death.
Prevent heatstroke in its early stages by keeping your dog cool. If your dog does start to heat up, put them in a cool, shaded place, cover them with a damp towel and try to bring down his high temperature. Remember, prevention is always better than a cure.
Prevention of sunburn
Dogs enjoy the sun, just as we do, but don’t let them have excessive exposure. Provide plenty of shady places for them to sit and lie, and restrict access to directly sunny areas. Some dogs with exposed skin or white coats can very quickly get sunburnt. Use a pet-friendly sunblock on the nose, forehead, tips of ears and any exposed areas.