Dogs famously love the summer every bit as much as humans. Warm weather, the chance to splash around outside and all the other fantastic opportunities all make them particularly happy. When the warmer months roll around, keeping them occupied and entertained becomes the easy part. However, it is important not to lose sight of the dangers and issues that can arise in warmer months, so we have put together these 10 tips to ensure that dog owners can get on with enjoying the weather with their friend rather than risking something unsafe.
1. Never Leave the Dog in the Car
We’ll kick things off with the tip that you’ve probably heard before. However, if you have not read this one in a while, it is still worth reinforcing. Indeed, you might have got out of the habit and started to think that a couple of minutes here and there will be fine. However, that is never the case – dogs can develop heatstroke in those couple of minutes, and that can soon lead to suffocation. Even if that is not enough to make you think, consider that this tip is well known enough that passers-by will be more than happy to break your car windows to free a dog that has been left unattended in warm weather.
2. Protect your Dog from Summer Diseases and Insects
One of the worst things about summer for humans is that insects love the warm weather every bit as much as everyone else, and they are most active when the sun is out. If you don’t implement a year-round pest plan for your pup, at least pay full attention in the summer. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos are at their most active during these months, and while they are often just a source of annoyance, they can also put your dog at risk of Lyme disease, heartworm and other nasties.
3. Keep Paws Protected
If you’ve ever been outside without footwear while the sun is beating down, you’ll know that some surfaces are particularly susceptible to heating up. Dog paws are sensitive in all sorts of different ways, with heat being just one of them. Don’t expect your dog to walk on something you wouldn’t yourself for obvious reasons, and try to leave your hands free to carry them if moving from grass to the road or other surfaces that are likely to experience a sudden change in temperature.
4. Always Give your Dog the Option of Shade
We have already assumed that dogs love warm weather, but you never know when they might change their mind. If they get too hot or need a break, you should ensure that there is always somewhere they can go to get out of the sun. At home, this means leaving a door open so they can go inside. Out and about, it means choosing your locations wisely so that there is tree cover or indoor spots to use at a moment’s notice.
5. Always Have Water to Hand
Dogs don’t have the same number of options that we do to cool off and drinking water is usually as good as it gets. They also heat up faster than humans – they don’t have the luxury of swapping out their fur for shorts and a vest – so you need to ensure you have water to hand as and when they need it. This is simple at home, as you just need to keep their water bowl topped off. When you’re out and about, keep an extra container and plenty of bottles with you.
6. Dogs Can Get Sunburnt
It might not ordinarily cross your mind that your dog is susceptible to sunburn, but they are at risk, especially if they have light or short coats. There are numerous ways to avoid it, with the simplest being making sure that your dog is not exposed to the sun for too long without a break. There are also dog sunscreens, but we would advise that you check with a vet for the best options rather than using whatever you use on yourself as they can be ineffective.
7. Keep an Eye on your Pup when they Go Swimming
With those aforementioned limited options to cool down at play, you won’t need to ask a dog to go for a dip twice. Many people mistakenly assume that dogs are born strong swimmers, with the doggy paddle moniker undoubtedly being part of the cause. However, just because they instinctively know what to do does not mean they are good at it, so keep an eye on them in water.
8. Consider a Paddling Pool
If you don’t have a pool at home, a small one from the toy store can be all it takes to keep your dog cool on warmer days. Unlike water outside the home, you have full control over depth, so if your dog is not a strong swimmer, they can be left unattended in shallow water and potentially even get better at it in the comfort of their own garden.
9. Use the Good Weather to Boost Exercise
We all know what Christmas can be like for piling on the pounds, and dogs are not immune to this either. If the weather was bad, you might have cut down on the walking schedule accordingly, or your pup might have just overeaten. Either way, summer is a great time to get back on track with regular walks, games of fetch and anything else that comes to mind.
10. Don’t Exhaust Them
While you both want to get back on track with the exercise, it is important to remember that working out in warmer weather is a lot more gruelling. Smaller dogs, in particular, can get heatstroke just from running around, so while you want to make the best of the weather while it lasts, you don’t want to overdo it and endanger them.