Our dogs really are a part of the family- they’re funny, loyal, adorable and as owners, we always want to do what’s best for them. You might feed Fido a good quality food, take him to the vet for regular checkups and make sure he gets enough exercise- but did you know there are lots of additional risks that come along with the summer weather? Here are a few things to bear in mind when it gets warm outside.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Just like in people, both dehydration and heat stroke can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal in dogs. Your dog should always have a plentiful supply of cool, clean water- be sure to check bowls regularly as they can get through it when it’s warm quicker than you’d think. Your dog should also always have access to a cool, shaded area. Preferably inside the home, but if you choose to keep your dogs outdoors, then proper kennel areas need to be provided. During heat waves or in hot climates, fans or an AC system will need to be used. Carefully monitor your dog’s water intake, and check for dehydration by gently lifting the skin at the back of the neck. If it doesn’t quickly return to its original position, it indicated dehydration. Sunken eyes, excessive panting, thick saliva and pale gums with a red tongue are all symptoms to keep an eye out for. If your dog displays any of these, get them to a vet immediately.
In hot climates, especially on black colored surfaces, pavements can heat up to almost 140F (60C). This is enough to cause burning, scarring and permanent damage to dog’s paws. It’s something that’s easy to overlook since as humans we have shoes on pretty much constantly when we’re outside. These kinds of temperatures are most likely to be achieved during the middle part of the day, so stick to walking your dog in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. It also prevents them from getting the dehydration/ heat stroke issues mentioned above too. Test the pavement with your hand before setting off to make sure, and be aware that asphalt and other dark surfaces will get considerably hotter
Fleas and Ticks
During the summertime, everything comes alive. The plants and flowers are in bloom, and the animal and insect population explodes. What this also means is there are more pests around. Using a good flea & tick prevention product ensures these pests aren’t feasting on your dog and causing havoc. You’re most likely to find fleas and ticks in long grass, and since the fields and meadows are likely to be on your walking routes while the weather is nice, you’re almost certain to run into them.
It seems like common sense to never leave a dog in a car on a hot day, but unfortunately many meet their end this way each year. It’s an incredibly painful and drawn out process and something that you should never, ever risk. Even if you think you’re just popping out of the car for a few minutes, don’t do it- if you need to get out of the car at any point then leave your dog at home.