How to summer proof your dog

As the temperature rises and our thoughts turn to outdoor adventures, make sure your best friend is prepared too.

With summer around the corner and temperatures set to soar as they do every year, it’s important to remember how dangerous heat and humidity can be for our beloved dogs. Our four legged kids can easily succumb to heat stroke, dehydration, and can even get sunburned – their summer woes are often ours too, but they look to us to keep them safe.

These summer nasties can easily be prevented. Follow these tips to keep your pets safe this summer

When you’re at work

On hot days, leave your pet inside with the air conditioning on. If your dog must be left outside, leave him in the shade with plenty of water. If you’re going to be out for most of the day, it’s a good idea to have multiple water bowls in case one gets knocked over or invest in tip-proof bowls. Add ice to the water to ensure it stays cool as possible, for as long as possible.

Fill a kiddie pool with cool water for pets when they are outside.

Give frozen Kongsicles (a Kong stuffed with their favorite treats and then frozen) or frozen fruit and vegetables in a bowl.

Wrap ice in their doggy bandana and put it around their necks.

Freeze towels so they have something cool to lie on.

If you work a long day, you might want to think about having a dog carer check in on your pooch – they can fill water bowls, add ice or bring the dog inside if needed. It could provide you with much-needed peace of mind.

Out and about

Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Cracked windows won’t protect your pet from overheating or suffering heat stroke on hot days, even “for just a couple of minutes.” The temperature in a closed car rises very quickly. If you’re going someplace where you can’t take your dog, leave them home.

Limit exercise to early morning or late evening. Take extra care with older pets, overweight pets, and short-nosed dogs (pugs, bulldogs, shar pei). Watch puppies, the elderly and overweight closely. They are in a higher risk category and should be watched.

Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws. If the ground is too hot for you to comfortably go barefoot, or to touch, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Keep your pet well groomed; a matted coat traps in heat. Don’t shave off your dog’s hair – keep it short and comfortable, but remember it is his coat which will protect him from getting sunburned.

Look out for signs of heat stroke – excessive panting or drooling, an anxious demeanour, quick pulse rate and high body temp which can lead to vomiting, staggering, non-responsiveness, and in the worst circumstances, collapse. If you see any of these signs, pour cool water on their legs (running water or by standing in a kiddie pool) which will safely lower their body temperature and get to a vet immediately. Avoid covering their whole body in cold water as it can lead to other problems.

Ask your vet

Speak to your vet about any summer-specific pests you’ll need to watch out for. Hot and humid Australian summers provide fleas with the perfect conditions to thrive, and some states have problems with mosquitoes, tapeworms and ticks.

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