It is coming to that time of year again: summer is fast approaching. As the warm weather draws nearer, it is time to start thinking about how to care for your dog’s health. This can involve creating a preventive care routine, purchasing reliable dog health insurance, and taking it to regular vet checkups to lower the risks of a serious illness or injury. Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature in the same way that humans do, which means they often struggle in the heat. So while it might be tempting to drag your dog along to the pub or the beach with you, it can be really bad for their health. Read on to find out more.
Symptoms To Look Out For
High temperatures can have adverse effects on your four-legged friend, and there are several symptoms that could tell you that your dog is overheating. Firstly, dogs tend to try and cool themselves by panting because they cannot sweat through their skin as other species can; therefore, excessive panting is the first thing to look for as a sign that your dog is beginning to overheat.
Next, you should do your best to keep an eye on their gums because bright red gums can also be a sign of overheating or even heat stroke. Finally, is your dog lethargic? If your dog seems to be really low energy or if it becomes unsteady on its feet or reluctant to move or get up in general, then you need to get them cooled down. If you see any of the above symptoms, then it is worth taking your dog to the vets.
Breeds That Are At Higher Risk
There are several dog breeds that are more likely to struggle in the warmer weather than others, and these breeds will need to be watched more closely during the summer. Firstly, any dog with a flatter face or smaller snout. This is because these breeds tend to already be more likely to experience breathing difficulties. This means breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs and Pekingese, any dog that snorts, grunts, or snores a lot. The hotter weather can exacerbate these breathing difficulties and make it harder for your dog to catch its breath.
Dogs that have a thicker coat or longer fur can also feel the heat more. Their fur traps the heat and makes it harder to cool themselves back down. If you have a Husky, Pomeranian or Chow-Chow – or any dog with a thick coat, then get them groomed regularly in the summer months to keep them cool.
Bigger breeds can be at risk in the summer simply because of their size. Bigger dogs have to work harder to cool themselves down; this means breeds like Great Danes or Bernese Mountain Dogs, although the same can be said for overweight dogs too. Overweight dogs are already under more strain because their body has to work harder to complete all of their processes, which means they are more likely to feel the effects of the heat. Finally, as a general rule of thumb, older dogs will also need more care in the warmer weather because they tend to be more sensitive to the heat too.
Walking Your Dog
Dogs, like humans, need exercise regardless of the weather outside, and in fact, walks can be transformative for your dog’s mental and physical health. However, walking your dog in the summer can be risky. You should always avoid walking your dogs during the hottest part of the day; this usually means between the hours of 11am and 3pm, but it is better to take them in the early morning or late afternoon if you can.
When you are out walking, you want to keep the pace nice and relaxed; go slowly on hotter days to ensure that your dog doesn’t have to work too hard to keep up with you. Walking your dog in the summer can lead to burnt feet as well as overheating. You should always check the pavements and roads by placing your hand on them before taking your dog out. If you cannot hold your hand comfortably on the surface for at least five seconds, it is too hot for your dog.
In an ideal world, you will be able to plan your walks and find routes with more than enough shade or free-running water that your dog can play in to cool down. If you are concerned that your dog is not being stimulated enough or if it is too hot or you don’t have enough time to take them for good walks in the summer, then you can do some training exercises or play with them. Check out Time For Paws; they have a lot of dog training supplies that can make your dog feel more fulfilled and mentally stimulated.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool
Luckily, there are several things that you can do to keep your dog comfortable and cool during the summer. Firstly, you need to be monitoring their water intake. You want to encourage them to drink as much as possible; this means having plenty of water bowls inside and outside the house. Remember to top up said water bowls regularly with cool water.
For dogs that enjoy splashing about in the water, you might also want to think about investing in a small paddling pool for them. They can play in the water outside, stay cool and enjoy the summer. If your dog tends to spend more time indoors in the summer, then a cooling mat, fan, or damp towel can do wonders.
Dogs & Cars
A lot of dog owners like to take their pets with them on days out during the summer, and this can be fun for the whole family. However, there are a few things to remember if you plan on taking your dog in a car this summer. First and foremost, you should never leave your dog in a car unsupervised for any length of time; it can be fatal. Secondly, you should always carry extra water with you and a Tupperware or a small bowl for your dog to drink out of during the journey. Finally, dogs need to be secured in the car with a seatbelt; this is for your safety and theirs.
The Bottom Line
Dogs are man’s best friend, and for good reason. They make great pets, and as such, we want them with us all the time. This simply is not practical, and it can be dangerous for your dog too. Make sure that you have taken the necessary steps to keep your dog safe this summer.