Summer is here and with the long, sunny days and warm temperature comes the opportunity to have heaps of fun with your canine best friend. However, summer also creates some dog ownership challenges and if you aren’t fully prepared, you could potentially be putting your pet in danger. To help ensure that you can enjoy the season, here are our 8 top tips to protect your dog this summer.
1. Never, ever leave your dog in a hot car
You’ve almost certainly heard this before, but the importance of this rule just can’t be underestimated. Many owners love to take their dog out with them wherever they go, but what do you do when your canine pal isn’t allowed into a restaurant or store with you? You might think it’s safe to leave them in your car for a short while, especially if you crack the windows. However, you may be surprised to learn just how quickly the temperature within your car can rise to dangerous levels. It can take mere minutes for dogs to develop life-threatening heatstroke. Temperatures inside a car can reach 160 degrees if it is parked it the sun, and still 90 degrees in the shade. All vets advise responsible pet owners to leave their pet home on warm days and to never, ever leave them in a vehicle.
2. Get your pet’s parasite protection is up to date
Parasites exist all year round, but some, including ticks and mosquitos, are especially prevalent in the warmer, summer months. If your dog is spending more time outside, they will be more likely to pick up parasites too. As a responsible owner, protecting your furbaby against harmful and unpleasant parasites and the diseases that they spread should be one of your top priorities. There are lots of different treatments to make this possible, from topical ointments, collars, and shampoos to orally-taken tablets and even injections. Your vet will be able to advise you which varieties will be best for your dog.
3. Don’t walk your dog during the hottest part of the day
Walking your dog is probably such an integral part of your daily routine that you head out with them automatically. However, it may be necessary for you to adjust your schedule during the summer months. The sun heats up everything that it’s rays reach, including the ground. Asphalt, sand, and metal get particularly hot and it is possible for your pet to burn their paws if they walk on the ground during the hottest part of the day. Rule of thumb – if you can’t stand outside barefoot, neither can your dog. Save walkies for early in the morning and last thing at night.
4. Let your dog take a dip
It isn’t just humans that like to cool off from the hot weather with a dip in the water. Many dogs love splashing around and giving your canine pal access to a cool pool in your backyard will give them the opportunity to cool off independently. Just make sure the water isn’t too deep.
5. Check your dog’s swimming ability
While we are on the subject of water, you shouldn’t necessarily assume that your dog can swim well. Many do have a natural ability to cope well in the water, but animals can get into trouble in the pool just as easily as humans can. Make sure your furbaby can get in and out of the pool without assistance and that they can swim sufficiently. Take extra care if you let your dog swim in lakes or the sea, where weed and tides can make the environment more challenging.
6. Protect your pet from sunburn
Your furbaby may be covered in a fluffy coat, but this doesn’t offer complete protection – especially if they have short hair or a light-colored coat. If your dog is spending time outdoors, overexposure to UV radiation is a very real possibility so you should take steps to keep their skin safe by using veterinary-approved sunscreen.
7. Keep your dog secure
Summertime means lots more time spent outdoors. Whether it’s chilling in your backyard or heading out on adventures to parks, beaches, or wilderness trails, you want to feel reassured that your furbaby is perfectly safe and won’t get lost. At home, you can reinforce your boundaries and keep your yard as secure as possible. However, when you are out and about, you may want to consider keeping your dog on the leash. Even if their recall is usually excellent, sometimes the excitement of new places, people, sounds, sights, and smells can hamper their ability to return.
8. Be food aware
Summer means BBQ food, picnic, and lots of other yummy treats. It can be tempting to share some of these with our furry best friends, but many human foods simply aren’t safe for canine consumption and so you should take special care not to leave these unattended and within reach of curious, hungry dogs. Take time to remind yourself of the foods that can be dangerous for dogs – such as grapes, onions, corn, meat on the bone, and alcoholic beverages – and make you and any guests aware that they aren’t safe to be shared.
For more tips on protecting your dog this summer, don’t hesitate to speak to our expert veterinary team.