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 need to make sure that our dogs are healthy, happy and not suffering from the effects of the heat. This article covers the essentials of car travel, garden hazards, summer pests, heatstroke and the prevention of sunburn.
If you are planning on taking a journey, consider first, is it 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 for a refreshing, cool drink of water for your dog. While you are 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 in fact. Never, ever, leave your dog alone in a car for whatever reason! If you do need to pop to the high street, please leave your dog at home.
We all love to spend time in the garden during the summer, but we need to make sure 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. Ensure before you purchase any items for your plants, that you carefully read the labels to make sure 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 be well advised on your garden flora.
When out walking
Your dog wont understanding his own limits, and he will keep on walking even though he is suffering from the effects of extreme 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 heat of the day, the tarmac on the roads and pathways can be extremely hot, and can damage your dog’s pads. Try taking your daily walk through the woods, in grassed parks and on the 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 us off the shelf sprays, collars and drops, or you use 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 play thing. If he does get a sting, it’s not usually an emergency situation so long as you act quickly. With a bee sting, remove the sting with tweezers trying not to squeeze the poison sac, bathe the sting wound with bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water. Wasp stings have no sting to remove, so just bathe the area with lemon juice or malt vinegar.
A dog is unable to 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 at first pant more than usual, may sound distressed and agitated. 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 at all times. 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 like to 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 easily get sunburnt. Use a pet-friendly sun block on the nose, forehead, tips of ears and any exposed areas.