Most of us look forward to warm days during the summer months, but for dogs it can be difficult to keep cool and summer can potentially be a very dangerous time.
As temperatures rise, with bright skies and longer days, it can be difficult to keep your pooch safe. According to Canagan, there are certain things you can do to keep your pet safe from the summer heat.
How to keep your dog cool during the summer months
- Make certain they have access to clean water at all times
- Ensure that they have access to shaded areas when playing outdoors
- Plan walks with your dog during cooler times of day, including early morning and late evening
- Putting a paddling pool in your garden or using a garden sprinkler can help dogs during very warm days
Preventing and spotting the signs of heatstroke
Dogs rarely sweat through their skin, so they rely on panting and releasing body heat through both their paw pads and noses, in order to regulate their body temperature and keep cool.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs can include:
- Glazed, glassy eyes
- Excessive dribbling
- Lack of coordination
If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you will need to help them slowly reduce their body temperature.
However, this must be done gradually, otherwise you may risk them going into shock.
What to do if your dog has heatstroke:
- Move your dog to a cool place - preferably a place where there is a draft
- Encourage them to drink small, but frequent, amounts of cool (not freezing) water
- Wet their coat with cool (not freezing) water
- If your dog collapses, you must call your vet immediately
How to protect your dog’s paws and spot signs of burnt paw pads
A dog’s paw pads are sensitive and can easily burn on hot pavements.
To check if the pavement is too hot for your dog, place your hand on the floor surface for a minimum of seven seconds, and if it’s too hot for you then it’s probably too hot for your dog.
Signs of burnt paw pads include:
- Limping or refusal to walk
- Pads appear darker in colour
- Blisters or redness of the pads
- There are parts of the paw pad missing
Other useful tips include:
- Encouraging your dog to only walk, and not run, in order to keep cooler when out for a walk. Playing less energetic games can also help.
- Swimming is great exercise for your dog and can be a good alternative to walking in the summer months. Swimming can also help to keep them cool. However, remember to be wary of tides at the beach and the currents in the river before you let your dog dive in.
- Pale coloured dogs are more vulnerable to sunburn, particularly on their nose and ears. You can apply a non-toxic waterproof human suncream or a specifically designed pet sunscreen.
- Warm weather is synonymous with peak flea and tick season. Keeping your dog protected from fleas and ticks is even more important during the summer months.
- Dogs are often exposed to ticks when walking through grassy areas and woodland. In the worst-case untreated ticks can lead to Lyme’s disease.
- Never leave your dog in the car during warm weather.