Courtesy of NY Daily News

As the weather heats up it is nice to spend time with your loved ones.  But just as your kids need protection in the heat your dog needs a little extra care too when the sun the shining.  Here is some important advice for keeping your pooch pampered and comfortable in the summer.

The hydration challenge; when the temperature rises so does your dog’s need for water.  Make sure you put out plenty of fresh water at regular intervals and encourage your dog to drink, particularly if they have been running around or been on a long walk.  Excess drooling and lack of energy are both signs of dehydration so monitor your pet and if they seem uncomfortable bring them into the shade for a rest. If you have a puppy they might be desperate to be outside in the nice weather all day long and encouraging rest could be more difficult. Try introducing new toys in a covered area so that your perky puppy can still have fun whilst finding time out of the direct sunlight.

Change your routine; if you are used to walking your dog during the day you may want to consider changing your walking routine to favor a morning or evening walk. This stops you both being outside exercising in the heat of the day. If you can’t avoid an afternoon walk make sure you take plenty of water both for you and your dog, consider cutting the walk short and plan a route that takes in plenty of shady places to rest.

Take them swimming; another great way of exercising your dog during the summer whilst keeping them cool is to take them somewhere they can swim or play in cool water.  Be careful not to let them get out too far if you are taking them to tidal waters however as this can get dangerous fast. If you don’t have access to a lake, reservoir or sea you could always set up a paddling pool in the back garden but be sure to have a towel on hand as a wet dog can play havoc in a clean, tidy home.

Image from SPCA Florida

Keeping on top of grooming; now is the time to get serious about grooming. If your dog has a thick winter coat get it trimmed by a professional dog groomer but make sure you don’t cut it back too short otherwise you could be taking away your pet’s natural sun block.  Light but full fur coverage is ideal.  Likewise keep your pet’s nails well trimmed as they are likely to grow more quickly in the summer and this will prevent scratches or cuts if they need a little scratch.  

Be on your guard; speaking of scratches, the summer brings ideal conditions for fleas and ticks to multiply and take up residence in your dog’s coat, so be vigilant. Whilst most insects won’t harm your dog they can make it very uncomfortable for them so make sure you take precautions. You can treat your dog for fleas using an over the counter flea treatment as well as using a good flea collar. You can ask you vet or go online to find the top best dog flea collars on the market as you will want one that is comfortable and allows your dog’s skin to breathe. There are some insect nasties that you will want to be aware of that could do more than make your dog uncomfortable.  With increased outside play it is easier for your pet to pick up worms which can then effect your dog’s appetite and general well being. You may also find your dog eating  insects not all of which are harmless. A nasty sting might earn your dog a trip to the vets but are usually just painful rather than causing any long-term damage. Be extra careful with insects that feed on fecal matter however such as crickets or grubs – this really could be bad news for your poor pets health.

Don’t be tempted to spoil them; your children might like nothing more than an ice cream to cool them down in the heat but don’t be tempted to give your dog one – it won’t be a treat and could cause serious health problems. Foods containing xylitol for instance can lower your dog’s blood sugar levels or worse give them liver problems so if in doubt cut the sweet stuff out.  Instead you can give your pooch ice cubes as a safe way of cooling them down and ensuring good hydration.

Check they are welcome; the summer is also the time for vacations but not all vacations are doggie friendly so before you pack up check that your furry friend is welcome and if not how you are going to care for your pet whilst you’re away.  If you choose a pet sitter or kennel make sure your dog has plenty of time to get to know them and adjust so that they don’t get too upset and despondent during the break. If your dog is feeling down whilst you’re gone they may not eat and this could unearth a whole set of health problems.

Give them room to breathe; you have probably seen the warnings about dogs dying in hot cars. This is one of the biggest threats to dogs during the summer as owners leave them asleep to go shopping and don’t want to leave too much of a gap in the car window for security reasons.  Even with the windows down a car can have significantly higher temperatures inside compared to outside. These elevated temperatures can quickly and quietly cause your dog fatal heat stroke so beware.  The best advice is don’t leave your dog in the car at all on a hot day.  It is much better to take them with you and enjoy the summer together in health and happiness.

The summer is a great time to enjoy your dog as you can spend more time outside playing with them. If you follow this advice your dog will learn to love the season as much as you do.

 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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