Caring for your dog in summer.

The majority of us can’t wait for summer to come around. We all love to go outside and enjoy the warm weather, our pets included. However, with the heat comes added dangers. Here are some hazards that you should be aware of to make sure your dog stays safe and healthy.
Young dog walking on the beach in the sun.
Young dog walking on the beach in the sun.
Young dog walking on the beach in the sun.

Seasonal dangers

During summer there are a number of seasonal dangers you and your dogs should look out for. The first are parasites, which can be found at their highest numbers in summer. Ticks, fleas, mosquitos and more are all rife through the warmer months and are something that can cause real problems for your pet. We advise in making sure your dog is protected from these parasites through the use of different flea treatments, shampoos and sprays, for a better idea of what your dog needs talk to your local vet who will be happy to help.

Fleas aren’t the only animals to watch out for. Adders can often be found in the UK when walking through long grass. Because dogs tend to wade through the grass headfirst they often get bitten on the face or neck rather than towards the back of their body, if this happens your dog could begin to experience breathing issues. This is because an adder’s bite is poisonous and causes swelling, if this happens visit your vet as soon as possible who will probably have antivenin.

Campfires and barbeques are always popular throughout summer, however they can put your dog at risk. When using a barbeque make sure your dog is a safe distance from the grill to ensure they do not try to lick or eat where the food has been. It is also important to make sure there are no lit or recently lit campfires in the area you are walking your dog if you plan on letting them off there lead. The dog may smell remnants of food being cooked on the campfire and try to eat parts of it. Both barbeques and campfires could burn your dog’s tongue and mouth. There may even be harmful substances on both that your dog shouldn’t digest, so when both are present stay extra vigilante.

Your dog and the heat

Your dog, just like you, can suffer from heat stroke. Heat stroke in dogs can develop rapidly with exposure to high temperatures, humidity and poor ventilation. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Panting
  • A staring or anxious expression
  • Failure to respond to commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Extremely high temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Collapse.

As a rule puppies and elderly dogs in summer tend to be more susceptible, as do adult dogs recently moved from a cooler climate. Dogs with thick, heavy coats or dogs with an existing cardiovascular or respiratory condition can be affected too. Certain breeds with narrow airways, such as bulldogs, are particularly prone to heat stress. If you’re worried about any form of heat stress, the best course of action is always to seek prompt veterinary attention, helping you to avoid potential complications.

Going for a day out this summer?

County and agricultural shows normally have good provisions for dogs, making them a great trip. On the other hand, some big outdoor events don’t – just check before you go. Your dog will need water, shade and a resting place if it’s hot!

Before you head off, consider whether this is the right sort of environment for your dog – every dog is different. If your dog is travelling with you on holiday, you might want to check out our article on heatstroke in dogs to find out why car travel is best avoided.

Puppy sitting behind adult dog in forrest

Sunburn

Another danger to be aware of is dog sunburn. Many believe because dogs have fur, they are not susceptible to sunburn. Some dogs however can get burnt, especially if their hair is light and thin. Some dogs even have no hair at all in areas such as around the nose, and these areas can be easily burnt when out in the sun.

Paw pads can be burnt when on a walk. If it is a particularly hot day your dog may struggle outside, especially if you are walking on surfaces that heat up quickly such as sand and asphalt. The best way to check if it is too hot is to press your hand on the asphalt. If you can’t hold your hand there for long it’s too hot for your pooch to be walking on. If this is the case, walking on grass might be safer.

Warm weather and dogs in summer

To ensure that your dog doesn’t get tired out during the summer, avoid exercising your dog too much when it’s really hot – for instance during hot days or warm, humid nights. The best time to exercise dogs in summer is either early in the morning or late in the evening. This is particularly important for dogs with thick, heavy coats and lots of long hair. Take it easy by avoiding taking them out in the middle of the day, and avoid vigorous exercise for all dogs in hot, humid weather.