Looking After Your Dog During Summer

Friday, August 10, 2012

Well, summer seems to have finally arrived in the UK and suddenly it is warm, really warm. Unfortunately in Edinburgh it is still pretty grey as well, but not having to take a coat out with me is absolutely wonderful. The dogs aren't enjoying it quite so much, Mania in particular has been really suffering. She's a dog designed for cold weather and lately she's been obviously uncomfortable. 

Dogs are naturally pack animals, where weaknesses meant being left behind, so they will try and hide any pain or illness as best they can. This means you need to keep your eyes on them to work out if something is wrong. It's good idea to keep an extra eye on them during Summer when the weather is warmer and you are spending more time outdoors. Here's some hints I've found useful keeping my pack comfortable.
  • I move the dogs beds away from the radiators, where they stay over winter, and into a cool, shaded part of the room. 
  • Try not to hug or pester your dog. As much as I would love to, playing with and cuddling the dogs is a bad idea, it's a recipe for over-heating.
  • Don't take walks during the middle of the day, I've moved my first and last walks to earlier and later in the day so that I can give the dogs a bit of a run without worrying about them. 
  • If you do want to go sit outside with your dog during the day try bring a bowl and plenty of cool water. If you can encourage them to lie down in the shade, dogs get sunburn too, especially if they have short, light or recently cut hair.
  • Avoid any unnecessary car journeys with your dog, and don't leave your dog in the car, sometimes even leaving a window open isn't enough. 
  • If you let your dog go for a swim then make sure to shower them down carefully after, this can prevent all sorts of nasty infections and creepy crawlies. Not all dogs like to, or can, swim, so never leave your dog unattended anywhere they can fall in. 
  • You can find some great ideas for iced dog treats on Pinterest, I love the idea of putting toys in there as well. 
Heat stroke is the biggest danger in dogs over summer. Signs to look out for are excessive panting, retching, inability to swallow (drooling), restlessness and eventually collapse. If your dog shows any of these symptoms first make sure you're dog has fresh drinking water, you can also try showering them down with cold water. Never put your dog in an ice bath, this will probably do far more damage than good. If you've tried these things and your dog is still not back to normal then it is time to get to a vet. Dogs most at risk are puppies, old dogs and those with short noses, like boxers or pugs. 

I'm not an expert at dog care, far from it, I'm just passing on what knowledge I have. If you are worried about your dog then you should always get in contact with a vet. You can also check out the RSPCA's advice about caring for your dog. I'd love to hear if you guys have any tips on dealing with pets during summer,

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  1. great advice - im very wary of leaving the dog in the car on long car journeys. recently saw something measuring how cars heat up - it can be 20 degrees outside and in 20mins 40 degrees inside the car - that's WITH the windows open! So I try to keep my pup cool as much as poss and try to remember, if I'm hot, he'll definitely be hotter.


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