Warm Weather Wellbeing For Your Dog
It’s National Dog Day on August 26th! We’ve collaborated with canine experts to offer useful advice for caring for your dog over the summer.
Nice weather is so often great when you’re a dog – more outdoor time with your favourite human, doggie paddling, tasty treats falling off al fresco tables and more. However, when a blazing Bank Holiday or a late Indian summer hits, the warmer temperatures can be uncomfortable, stressful and perilous if you are wearing a fur coat. Calling on experts from leading pet lifestyle and dog-friendly holiday destination PetsPyjamas and their Veterinary friend Dr Marvin Frith, along with Pet Teezer’s grooming expert, Daniela Forshaw, we share their tips for ensuring your dog remains comfy, safe and well.
- Avoid daytime travel where possible. Cars and public transport become rapidly hot and dogs can’t sweat like us and rely on panting to cool down, so travelling puts a dog under unnecessary stress and danger. If you must travel with them, make sure you have a bottle of water and a collapsible bowl to hand – a cooling vest is a good idea too
- Never, ever, leave your dog in a car– even on a cloudy day, with the window open or in the shade. Cars are like ovens; they heat up exceptionally quickly, so a dog can die of heat stroke in as little as half an hour
- Provide plenty of access to water and think of novel ways to encourage them to hydrate such as feeding them slightly more ‘wet’ food or with ice treats such as frozen chicken stock ice cubes
- Offer shade or cool. Indoor or outside, provide spots for your dog to rest and cool off. Cooling mats, which chill with the pressure of your dog’s body, will also help keep them cool
- Walk sensibly. Avoid exercise on really hot days and lead-walk only early in the morning and later in the evening to avoid the most intense heat and hot pavements, which can burn paws. Determine if the pavement is uncomfortable for your dog by placing the back of your hand on the pavement. If it’s uncomfortable to you then it’s the same for your dog’s paw
- Use sunblock where appropriate. Lighter coloured, thin-coated dogs or those with exposed pink skin can get sunburnt so protect them with a pet-specific sun block and again avoiding intense sun. Their nose and tips of the ears are at most risk, but other parts can burn too. Conversely, darker coated animals and those with a denser coat will also find it slightly more difficult to regulate their temperature
- Care for sick, elderly and puppies. Dogs which are elderly, with chronic disease or on medication may also find it difficult to regulate their temperatures in the hot weather, so monitor their tolerance and make these recommended changes should you be concerned. Consult your vet if in you are concerned
- Be vigilant. Watch for signs of heatstroke – lethargy, panting, dizziness, gloopy saliva, collapse. Call your vet immediately if you think your dog has heat stroke. Get your dog into the shade (in an air-conditioned room if possible) and lower his temperature slowly with cool, wet towels placed over his body. Offer him small amounts of water
When it comes to grooming; Pet Teezer and Daniela advise:
- Resist the buzz cut. You might think shaving off your dog’s thick coat will help reduce their body temperature but it can actually have the opposite effect and shaving short, raises the risk of sunburn. A dog’s fur has a way of regulating so unless you really think it’s causing them distress, leave as is and concentrate on brushing
- Groom regularly (at least twice a week) to fur tip top and to spot any hidden problems brought on by the summer season such as grass seeds, ticks and fleas. Be sure to pay attention to paws too – checking in between their toes for ticks, grass etc.
- Keep your dog’s undercoat in check.The warmer temps increase shedding and a loose undercoat is a trap for bacteria and can contribute to overheating. Whether a heavy shedding breed such as the Golden Retriever or Pomeranian or light (Labradoodles, Shih Tzu’s, West Highland Terriers etc), the PetTeezer DeShedder will keep rogue fur at bay. Plus, the configuration of the two-teeth technology means the excess fur stays in the brush and not left on your carpet
- Keep your dog’s coat tangle free! Tangles can easily turn into matting, which can cause skin irritation, restrict body movement and is uncomfortable to undo. Top tip – if your dog has enjoyed playing in water and got muddy/sandy, use your PetTeezer while the fur is still wet to draw out any dirt and water. Tangled wet dirty fur will turn to matts if left to dry without brushing
- Keep ears tangle free and clean to prevent infection and expensive trips to the vets. Whether it’s dangling in their food or water, or from mouthing play with other dogs – ear fur can easily get tangled. Metal tools can scratch, pull and hurt whereas the Pet Teezer De-Tangling Brush is gentle for the sensitive ear area, both inside and out. Check the ear canal too and if yours’ is an avid swimmer pay extra attention, as those with fold over ears can be prone to infection. A squeezed out, damp cotton wool will help clean out gunk or remove excess moisture from their ears.
Remember hot cars kill dogs so if you see any animal in a car on a warm day, call the RSPCA 24-hour national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.
(compiled by Alexandra Frith, Bark and Beyond PR UK)