7 Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy In The Heat
As Summer leads to warmer weather and more time outside, K9 Magazine has compiled 7 Summer care and safety tips to help pet owners keep their canine companions happy, cool and safe in hot weather. Summer is an incredible season for outdoor fun with our dogs, however, some people forget to take measures to keep their dog safe as temperatures rise and daily activities change.
Never Leave Dogs In Hot Cars
Remember that a parked car can be like an oven and can become dangerously hot in only a few minutes so never, ever leave your dog in a parked car - even if you're only just nipping into a shop and don't expect to be long, please don't risk it. Dogs are not efficient at cooling themselves. They cannot perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Panting and drinking water helps to cool them, but if they have only overheated air to breathe in a parked car, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.
Stay Protected In The Sun
Light-coloured dog coats can invite damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, leading to sunburn and possible skin cancer. If your dog is light-coloured and he lacks black pigment around the eyes, ears and nose, keep him out of the bright sun. Look into suitable sun blocks, such as the PetScreen SPF 23 recommended by pet health experts at Petremedies.co.uk. This sunscreen is quick drying and contains three different sunscreen agents to give animals broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB components of sunlight.
Dogs should always have access to cool shade and fresh water in the summer heat.
Beat The Heat Outdoors
It seems like the perfect weather for those who take part in agility or similar dog sports outdoors, right?
Well not quite – unless you can help your dog to keep cool outdoors. Look into suitable coats which have cooling qualities. For example, the Hurtta Cooling Coat recommended by Camddwr Canine Ltd, who have over 20 years experience competing in the dog world. A coat in the sun may sound counter intuitive, but this coat enhances your dog’s natural cooling system through the use of modern sun-reflecting materials and cooling through water evaporation.
This coat is designed to make your dog more comfortable in hot weather and when exposed to the sun. Whether you’re out for a walk in the sun, or training more active dogs and competing in outdoor shows, this product is ideal. The coat cools the dog’s back and chest and helps to make the heat more tolerable for your dog. The belt is adjustable to ensure a close fit, and there is a detachable belly flap. Hurtta have thought of everything – there’s even an opening on the back allowing a leash to be fed through when using a harness.
Rules Of The Road
An unrestrained dog in a vehicle is dangerous to everyone in the car, including the dog himself. Secure your dog in the back seat with a safety harness or in a pet carrier fastened to a seatbelt. Another option is to install a pet barrier or crate to keep the dog in the back area of your vehicle. Dogs riding in the front can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy.
Avoid allowing your dog to hang his head out the car window – he could suffer eye injury from flying debris or worse. When stopping the car along your journey, attach a lead to the dog’s collar before opening the door so he can’t escape. Use a lead to walk your dog.
Cooling dog mats and non-spill dog bowls can also be great additions to any journey to keep your dog hydrated and cool on the go.
You might notice your dog's appetite changes as they become lethargic in the hot weather. Frozen treats, healthy vegetables or raw dog treats frozen for example, can be a great way to give your dog a cold treat helping them to keep their mouths nice and cool while rewarding with a healthy snack.
You can also integrate something such as Johnson's Vita-Cool tablets into your dog's diet. Easily added to your dog's food, these tablets work to protect your pet against dietary deficiencies which can cause symptoms such as lethargy and a loss of appetite.
Waterproof Your Dog
Many dogs enjoy swimming, no matter how clean or dirty the water. If your dog has had a dip in a lake or river, rinse him off to avoid ear infections, eye infections and pesky clingy insects which can imbed themselves into his fur.
If your dog loves to jump into your swimming pool or paddling pool, make sure he knows how to get out safely. When a dog falls into a lake or river, his instinct tells him to turn around and get out from the point at which he fell in. However, in a swimming pool, a dog may drown if he follows this instinctive action. Therefore, teach your dog where and how to get out of the pool regardless of where he went in.
Not all dogs like or know how to swim. If your dog appears eager to give swimming a try, let him get used to it gradually. Refrain from throwing a nervous, inexperienced swimmer into the water.
Fear Of Thunderstorms
Fear of thunderstorms is common in dogs. Many dogs can sense a storm coming from the rapidly falling barometric pressure. Your dog may show anxiety even before the storm can be heard.
Dogs can sense fear or discomfort from people, so it is important you develop a calm attitude toward storms. Let your dog stay close, and try to distract him with play. Do not try to comfort him in a sympathetic voice; this will sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion.
Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
Provide your dog with a safe place to be during storms, whether inside or out. Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog always feels safe and secure. If a storm is brewing, lead your dog to his special place to help him feel calm and protected.
By taking these precautions, you and your dog can enjoy a healthier, fun-filled summertime.