At last, summer is here! It’s time to forget about muddy paw prints and wet dogs. Now is the time to enjoy the beach and balmy summer evening walks with your best pal instead.
However, as temperatures soar, our pooches need a little bit of extra attention. As wonderful as the long drawn out days of summer are (and we’re not complaining), the season does bring its own challenges for our dogs, especially when you're on holiday!
According to Vets Now, the average survival rate of heatstroke in dogs is just 50%, and can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes, so taking precautions so your dog can avoid getting heatstroke is incredibly important - check out their infographic to find out how to spot the signs of heatstroke in dogs.
We’ve put our heads together and come up with some advice to keep your dog cool and make sure that your canine buddy stays happy and healthy over the summer months.
How to cool your dog down
There are lots of products on the market to keep dogs moderately chilled such as cool coats and cool mats as well as collars with inserts. Of course, stretching out on a cold stone or marble floor also works a treat! When it comes to keeping your dog cool in the summer months though, there are some key health tips to follow.
Cut their coat with care
Though a clipped coat can be more comfortable for your pooch in summer, a close shave can cause problems for some dogs, especially light-coloured ones. A coat can actually help your dog to keep cool and can protect them from sunlight and UV rays that can lead to sunburn and skin cancers. Dogs coats are designed to protect them from the elements, including the sun, so ask your vet and groomer about the best clip for your canine chum.
Know when to walk and when to rest
After a long winter, dogs are feeling wild and carefree, and they want nothing more than to have a lovely run with the sun beating down on their fur. However, dogs have evolved to know when to roam and when to rest! We should follow their example by avoiding walks in the midday sun, especially between 12-3pm, and keep their exercise to early mornings and evenings. If your dog does fancy a little daytime stroll or you are out and about, keep to short woodland walkies where you can take advantage of the cool shade.
Keep your dog hydrated
A constant supply of clean fresh water, whether at home or on the road, is a must. If you're lucky, you'll come across pooch-friendly establishments that provide bowls of water for passing dogs, but remember when walking in the country or hills that it could be miles before the next running stream, so always take a collapsible bowl and supply of water with you.
Watch your dog's diet
Summer may mean lots of treats for us, but our dogs need to keep to a proper routine with their diet. You may find that your dog eats less in the summer – while this may be good for the pooch who needs to lose a few pounds, do speak to your vet if this continues or is accompanied by fatigue or other symptoms. Do not be tempted to give your dog human food unless it is something that they can also eat and be sure to make sure that your children look out for their doggy pal when they are playing outside; tell them not to leave their food about, especially chocolate which can be fatal for dogs!
For any canines reading this though, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Summer is the perfect time to try out some cool dog treats. Some companies do special doggy ice cream so that you can enjoy a snack with the human without any ensuing tummy problems, and there's always Pawsecco Pops if you're feeling fancy! You can also tell the humans to make some treats at home for you. An ice block or ice cubes are a popular choice – get them to pour a little chicken stock over them for a particularly scrumptious snack.
Take a look at our recipes for homemade dog treats to prepare an icy treat for your dog this summer.
Be beach aware
Over time, the pads on dogs paws have adapted to withstand various types of surfaces; taking your dog on blistering hot sand (or tarmac) where they will have no choice but to walk however can cause painful burns. Leave the beach for cooler days and even then, pack a beach umbrella with you as your dog will still need access to shade on a cloudy day.
If your pooch is a water baby and likes a paddle in the sea, be wary of dogs swimming out as currents can be deceiving. If this happens do not try to rescue your dog as in many cases, they will eventually swim to safety and you may be the one in trouble. When you get home, brush out any sand from your dog’s coat and wash and dry their paws, especially in the hidden areas between the toes.
Take a look at our favourite dog friendly beaches across the UK to find a beach where your dog is welcome all year round.
Never wash dogs with icy water however hot they are, and be careful not to let your dog drink from the hose as you will not be able to monitor the amount they are ingesting.
Never leave a dog in the car
When out and about, never leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes. Cars heat up extremely quickly even if you park in the shade or with the window open. For car journeys, make sure that dogs are not in direct heat and that they are fastened in secure pet carriers or wearing dog seat belts.
Exercise your dog before you leave and stop every couple of hours so that they can have a drink and a short walk. Make sure that you have all your dog’s favourite things with you, especially familiar things such as their bed and a special toy, bowls, their own food, and most importantly medication. Wherever you are staying, make sure you know the number of a local vet and that you have their emergency number to hand.
Flea and tick prevention
Now, as much as we love our canine chums, we don’t want to share our houses with their little friends! Make sure you regularly treat your dog for fleas, ticks and worms; there are lots of spot-on and oral treatments available, just talk to your vet to make sure that you are covered for all of them. Remember that on holiday, your dog will be really excited to discover new places, especially woodland and fields with livestock and long grasses which can be home to many little critters, especially ticks. Make sure that you treat your pet before you go away to make sure that they are covered and always check them after a walk, especially around the ears, eyes and legs.
As a last note, do make sure that your dog’s microchip details are up to date in case they decide to take an unplanned wander about. You will need to check that the microchip database has a record of the mobile phone number that you have with you and be sure that your furry friend has a collar and tag with your number on at all times.
We hope that you have a happy summer holiday with your hound! If you're looking to get away with your dog while the sun's shining, take a look at our dog-friendly summer cottages to find the perfect place to stay for you and your pooch.