Summer days are coming, ice creams and sun cream are at the ready! But what about our furry friends? Summer can be particularly difficult for dogs to manage especially as their humans try to get out and about, enjoying the increasingly good weather.
Plan your exercise for either early morning or evening
While we’re excited to get out and work on our suntans, dogs can overheat quite easily. It is important to ensure their day is planned out so they still receive exercise without being out in the direct sun. It is best to plan to do all walks/exercise either early morning or evening depending on the weather. Even a cloudy day can still be very warm, especially for a dog in a thick coat.
Some breeds can be clipped to help keep them cooler during the summer months. For example Poodles, Shih Tzu’s and Cocker Spaniels etc. However, some dogs, especially ones with double coats, such as a Golden Retriever, are more complex. Clipping may actually impact their ability to keep cool.
Dogs do not sweat out of their skin as humans do. Instead, they have sweat pads in their paws. This is something to be kept in mind when trying to keep a dog cool.
Five second rule
It’s easy to want your dog to participate in all the summer activities you want to do. However, practically that is not always possible and some precautions need to be put in place.
If you are going for a walk and you are not sure how hot the ground will be, place the back of your hand against the pavement. If you are not able to hold it there for at least 5 seconds then it is definitely too hot to walk your dog. When on the walk it is best to keep to a shaded area if at all possible. Walking on grass tends to be cooler and its best to take water with you. Collapsible bowls are available in most shops and is easy and light to carry.
Keeping your dog entertained, and cool
While walks may need to be flexible there are other ways to keep your pet cool and entertained. Kongs can be filled with dog safe treats such as dog food, natural yogurt and dog safe peanut butter. These can be frozen for your dog to enjoy.
Lickimats can also be used in a similar way to keep your pets entertained. It is best to use these as a meal as opposed to an extra treat, as often in the summer exercise can be reduced due to the heat and so the excess calories could lead to your pet gaining extra weight. Ice cubes can be placed in water bowls to keep it cooler for longer or fed as an extra crunchy treat.
Cool mats, paddling pools and water features can all be used to keep your dog cool depending on your own dogs’ preference (or aversion!) to water.
If in doubt keep your pooch at home
While taking your dog for a day trip to the beach sounds incredible, often they can overheat, especially as typically there isn’t a lot of shade. It is best in these instances to leave your friend at home where they can keep cool and chill while you top up your tan. Where possible, keep the house cool by closing curtains. Ensuring they have access to fresh water and if necessary, a fan depending on how they cope with the heat.
Under no circumstances should a dog be left in a car. Even if placed in the shade cars heat up incredibly quickly and become very dangerous places for a dog to be kept in. If unsure about whether your dog can join you on a day trip it is best to keep them home.
Summer is nearly here (hopefully with some beautiful weather!) for you and your furry friend to enjoy. Ensure you and your pooch stay as safe as possible. You wearing your sun cream and him staying inside during the hottest part of the day with a nice cold (dog safe!) ice cream.