If you’re anything like us, we can’t wait to spend long summer days with our furry and non-furry family members. The sun is shining (hopefully), beach walks, hikes and days in a cosy little beer garden await – lovely!
Though summer is a special time of year, it’s not without its risk to our friends. When spending time outside (just like with our kids) there’s hazards to consider. For example, heatstroke, sunburn, insects and much more.
Our first recommendation is to pop to the pet shop and get your friend some identification, not only is it illegal to leave the house without a collar and ID tag but it will help people to return your friend to you in case of an emergency or an adventurous hound.
Read on to ensure you’re taking all the right steps to keep you and your companions safe and healthy over the coming months.
Many of our friends in the summer months go on merrily without a change to their diets, but when the hot weather arrives you may grow worrisome if your companion becomes picky or simply refuses dinnertime, but don’t worry this is often just a phase.
In the warmer months they may spend less time on walkies and more time on naps and seeking out cool corners to rest in. This rest time will undoubtedly influence how much of an appetite they have, as their energy requirements reduce. Yet, many of us don’t take that into consideration and continue to feed the same amount every day, follow your dog’s guidance here and decrease where necessary.
It may also be a good idea to consider adding a wet food to your companion’s dish too. This will help with adding a little more hydration and attracting those who are feeling extra picky. But remember, they may be eating less so we must take this into consideration and reduce their biscuits and or treats too, carefully ensuring not to over-feed your friend.
Who doesn’t love a nice walk in the warm British summertime, we get to stretch those legs, take in our gorgeous surroundings, and spend time with our four-legged family member – it’s a win/win situation.
In the summer, it’s best to take full advantage of the bright mornings and the light evenings as the afternoons can get too hot for our friends, resulting in some potential health hazards. Read on to hear our top tips when walking your dogs at summertime.
• As mentioned above, avoid the hottest parts of the day, and instead enjoy the mornings and evenings with your dog. Being aware of how far your friend can travel, some dogs especially seniors and brachycephalic breeds may be able to walk further on cooler days.
• Find a lovely route that’s at least partially shaded.
• Try to avoid any strenuous activity, for example the temptation your pup might have to run about with another dog. This over-stretch could cause your friend issues in the heat.
• Bring water with you!
• Look out for signs of overheating and heatstroke.
• Consider putting a cooling mat down in the car for the drive home.
• Invest in some dog sun cream for our sensitive friends, paying particular attention to any areas that could catch the rays – like their ears and belly.
• Watch those paws! Be sure to try the pavement first with your hand if it’s too hot for you to walk on – it’s too hot for your pet.
HOW TO SPOT HEATSTROKE IN YOUR DOG
Recent evidence shows that in the UK, dogs that experience heat related illness, do so after exercising or left in hot and confined areas.
For dogs, they only have a couple of ways to cool down, these include panting, vasodilation, and a little sweating to the paws (though this is a minor way for them to cool off). Catching heatstroke early, can mean the difference in life or death for our friends so, it’s important to know the signs:
• Heavy panting – does your friend look distressed, are they panting a lot more than usual (even in the heat).
• Fast breathing & higher heart rate – what does their chest look like? Are they breathing at the same rate they normally would.
• Red gums & tongue – look in their mouth, does everything look normal?
• Excessive drooling – this one speaks for itself!
Though the heat will affect all our friends, some may be affected more than others, it’s important to also consider other factors, such as:
• Their age – senior dogs and very young pups could be vulnerable.
• Setting – where they are. Typically, dogs left in hot cars or cages in the sun become victim to the heat very quickly.
• Hydration – they’re left without water for long periods of time.
• Weight – our friends who are carrying a little more will have a harder time in the heat. If their fitness is poor, this too will increase vulnerability as they try to exert more energy on warmer days.
• Breed – pay special attention to our long-haired friends and short-nosed breeds too!
If your friend or another dog is suffering from heatstroke, you will need to reduce their body temperature gradually and get to work with some basic first aid:
1. Re-locate your friend to a cool spot.
2. Try to immediately cool them by pouring cold water over their body.
3. If possible, have your dog lie on a wet and cool towel – never place the towel on top.
4. Offer water to your dog, so that they may drink small amounts.
5. Once the dog is cool, get them to a vet as a matter of urgency.
If you see a dog in distress, like a car - assess the situation – if you’re not happy and they’re showing signs of heatstroke, it’s best to call 999 and or the RSPCA to follow their instructions.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG COOL IN HOT WEATHER
We’ve now established how dangerous and quickly our friends can suffer from the heat and under the sun. So, what can we do to prevent this from happening by keeping our friend’s cool? Well, quite a lot:
• As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to look after your friend in the heat is to walk at suitable times.
• Watch your friends for over-heating and signs of heatstroke.
• Never leave your dog alone in a car or crate in a hot area (even if the windows are open).
• Keep a particular eye on our companions who are young, senior, long-haired, and short nosed.
• Make them cooling treats, like stuffing your favourite Canagan recipe into a toy, freezing it and letting them lick away at it as a treat.
• Go for a swim or invest in a paddling pool in your back garden. Cooling pads can also work very well here too, especially if you’re off on a journey in your well-ventilated car.
HOW TO BE SAFE WHEN SWIMMING WITH YOUR DOG
Swimming is such a treat and for most dogs, you can see the pure joy on their faces as we approach the coast. However, just like us, there are hazards that we need to be aware of, whilst remembering that our friends can’t alert us the same way that our friends and family members may be able to.
Here are some points to consider when you go swimming with your dogs:
• Though fantastic swimmers, tides are extremely dangerous and must be treated with respect. Speak to the on-site lifeguard if you can and check the tidal updates for your area and read up on what to look out for – rivers have currents to – don’t get caught out!
• Though it may seem nice and cooling at the beach, on hot days your friend will still require a shady spot away from the sun and the hot sand – always be on the lookout for heatstroke.
• Water will be required too – allowing your dog to drink salt water is likely to cause sickness.
• Stay clear of lakes, rivers, ponds, and canals that look dirty or have any algae present. Read up on blue-green algae, this is highly toxic to dogs and should be avoided – if they do encounter it, contact your vet immediately.
• Be sure to check out any current restrictions, there’s nothing worse than making your way to a local beach for an evening stroll only to find out it’s closed to dogs in the summer.
• Rinse off! All that sand could be uncomfortable to our friends, so give them a nice refreshing rinse off and maybe a little paw treatment too.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR DOG’S SKIN AND COAT IN THE SUMMER
Talking about skin and coat health is one of our favourite conversations here at Canagan. We’ve spent years perfecting our recipes to ensure that it is not only highly nutritional but packed with skin and coat loving omega oils, so our friends can feel their very best all year long.
However, just like us, there is a little extra you can do in the summer months to help keep their skin and coat in the best condition possible:
• Be aware of sunburn – yep, our friends can get it too. Make sure you pay particular attention to sensitive dogs and those who have sparsely haired areas. You can buy specially made sun cream for your friends, simply chat to your local pet shop.
• Take care of those paws and only let your friend hit the pavement if it’s cool and comfortable.
• Make sure to keep your grooming up – matts and tangles are bound to make an appearance and a tangle-free coat will help to keep them cool.
• If you go swimming, don’t forget to wash the sand and salty water off their coat – otherwise, when it dries out you could end up with a sore and itchy dog.
If you have noticed any changes to your pet’s skin, like pigmentation, crusting or a scaly look – book an appointment with your vet.
FLEAS, TICKS, AND OTHER CRITTERS
Spring has sprung and so have fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks will love this weather and take every opportunity that they can to jump onboard your pet. So, we recommend keeping on top of your preferred flea and tick solutions over the coming months. If you would like to learn more about this subject, you can visit our previous blog on how to treat and prevent fleas in your pets.
Of course, fleas and ticks aren’t the only ones lurking in the grass. We can’t forget about buzzing bees and insects – all of which our pets love to chase. Look out for any swelling and difficulty breathing as this could indicate a sting. They could end up in our friend’s mouth so, be sure to get your pet to a vet as soon as possible, if you believe they’ve eaten a bee or equivalent and if they have been stung multiple times or look like they’re having an allergic reaction.
In the UK, Adders are the only venomous snake that could be found when on walkies and are considered dangerous if disturbed by our dogs. If treated quickly, our friends are likely to make a full recovery. If you can carry your dog, this would be preferred to help reduce the spread of the venom whilst you get them to a vet.
OUR TOP-RATED ACCESSORIES FOR PETS DURING SUMMER
Finally, before you head to the pet shop, we recommend adding these items to your list:
A dog water bottle – these are handy as they have a section built in for the water to escape to and your dog can drink from. A bottle/bowl all in one and easy to clip to your bag for travel.
Paw Butter – after a hot walk it’s nice to sit in the evening and massage a little paw butter into those dry feet. Your pup will thank you for it!
Cooling pad – great to take out of the freezer, they offer some relief to our friends in the hot weather. We like to pop it down in the back of the car for the journey back from our morning or evening walkies.
Toy stuffer – get to the pet shop and ask for a toy that you can stuff with our wet food and will survive the freezer. It’s the perfect cooling treat for your pup and a great distraction too!
Now, get out there and enjoy those long days with your family!
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet's health