Posted 4th May 2018 by Peter Byrne
Summer is here! With the warm weather finally upon us, chances are that your dog loves nothing more than basking in the rays of the sun. However, you need to be vigilant of your pet's sun-worshipping. Here's how you can help keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy in the sunshine!
1 Make sure your dog stays hydrated
This is important both indoors and outdoors. Make sure your dog has access to a ready supply of water when you're at home. When you're on a walk a bottle of water can be useful too - even if the dog won't drink you can pour a bit over it to help cool your canine down.
2 Cover up
Dogs can develop skin cancer just like humans. If your dog has a light-coloured nose or ears you should apply pet sunscreen. Even covering it with something like a tea towel can help to keep your dog cool and avoid some of the sun's rays.
3 Avoid the hottest part of the day
Make sure your pet avoids being outside during the hottest part of the day. This means you should avoid walking your dog from mid-morning to early afternoon; instead aim for early morning or late evening. If you do have to take your dog out during the middle of the day try to walk in shady areas.
4 Watch out for hay fever
Keep an eye out for any symptoms your pet could be exhibiting. Around a third of dogs suffer from hay fever, so be sure to take your dog to the vets should they begin to scratch excessively.
5 Signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke can be a significant threat to your dog. Symptoms include:
- excessive panting and salivating
- very red gums / tongue
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- a lack of coordination
- a rapid pulse
- in extreme situations, a loss of consciousness.
If your dog shows any of the above signs you will need to cool your dog down immediately before taking it to the vets. The best way to do this is cover it in cool but not cold water, while letting it drink small quantities of water until its breathing steadies.
6 Get rid of excess hair
If your dog has long, thick hair, you should consider a visit to the groomers. However, make sure that you don't get them cut too short, as this will leave exposed skin, thereby increasing the risk of sunburn.
7 Have a cool room
Try and set aside one room in the house which will be cooler than the other rooms. This will ideally provide good ventilation and shady areas so that your dog has a spot to retreat to should the heat get too much.
8 Don't leave the dog outside
Do not leave the dog in the car for prolonged periods of time, as temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels - even if the windows are left open. Similarly try and ensure that your dog will not be stuck outside in the heat for too long – some will love sunbathing but you have to make sure they don't stay outside for too long and face the risk of overheating.
Images courtesy of Katie Byrne