Caring for your dog in summer

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Tersha, the chief caregiver, cuddler and Ttouch provider put together these 10 tips to help you and your pooch through the summer months.

  1. Never leave your dog in the car! Even opening a window or parking in the shade does not offer the right protection that your dog needs. If you are out and about with your dog then plan for hot days so that you don’t need to leave them in the car or a confined space.
  2. Never forget the water! Remaining hydrated is very important to dogs and humans alike, so make sure that your dog has access to plenty of clean drinking water especially in summer. If you are out and about, then make sure you always have a bottle of water and bowl for them. Another idea is to put blocks of ice in their water bowls so that the water stays cold.
  3. When the temperatures rise, there are plenty of ways you can help your dog stay cool. Try to encourage them to stay in shaded areas, let them lie on cool tiles and let them have a bit of that aircon/cooling fan that we humans have. If your dog likes water keep a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash in or put the sprinkler on for them occasionally – water restrictions dependent of course. Remember that if you are using this method to keep your dog cool, they have to be wet from their skin to the tips of their coats, not just their coats.

  1. Plan your walks so that you are not out in the midday sun. Keep to the cooler parts of the day like early morning and evening which will be more pleasant for both of you. If you have a flat nosed dog like Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekinese, etc, avoid walks on hot days altogether.
  2. You will still need to stimulate your dog with brain games, and you can choose those that don’t mean running about in the heat of the day. Hide a toy and get them to sniff it out. Put a treat inside a toilet roll inner and get them to get it out (link to YouTube Montego minute). Giving their meals or treats to them in a frozen form is also a great idea; using frozen stuffed kongs or ice lollies (made in plastic containers).
  3. Keep your dog’s coat clean and free of knots so that the heat doesn’t get trapped in the matting.
  4. If your dog is light coloured or has a thin coat you should use sun cream to make sure that they are protected. Check with your pet shop for specially formulated sun protection for dogs or ask your vet.
  5. Be careful when out walking, if the surface is hot for you, then chances are they are for your dog’s foot pads. Keep to shady areas so they don’t burn their foot pads.
  6. In summer we tend to get out to parks and other outside activities with our dogs so make sure that your dog is microchipped and is wearing a collar with an ID tag. This helps to identify you and your dog if you should be separated.
  7. Heatstroke is real and happens when your dog can’t reduce their body temperature. Look out for heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, excessive salivation, lack of coordination, vomiting or diarrhoea and even loss of consciousness. If you think they have heatstroke take them to a cool, shaded area, apply towels or cloths soaked in water to their head, neck and chest and let them lick ice or drink water slowly. Don’t put them in ice cold water and make sure they don’t drink too much otherwise they may go into shock.

Credit: models Gypsy in black, Zeke in brown, Jack (Scotty) in black

Disclaimer: no models were hurt during this shoot