With warmer weather now upon us, many are whipping out their shorts (and razors) before heading outside to bask in the sun’s glorious rays while it lasts! Although, of course, we are not alone, as many of our furry companions are often partial to a bit of sunbathing too.
While we enjoy having our dogs by our side, be it inside or outside, there are, unfortunately, some increased risks to our pets during Summer. Fret not, though, as we have some practical tips to help keep your dog safe throughout the warm season.
1. Heat & Hydration
Just like us hoomans our dogs need to remain hydrated with access to clean drinking water whenever outside in the sun. This includes during walks, when travelling in a vehicle, and anywhere outside in the sun for that matter.
It’s always best to be prepared! So, make sure to take a bottle of drinking water and a bowl on all walks and when travelling.
Avoid taking your dog out during the hottest parts of the day. Go for walks early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler and when scorching footpaths will not burn your precious pups paws. Let’s remember, dogs wear a fur coat and no shoes, will thank you for it.
Finally, always ensure that your dog has access to shade to help them stay cool in warmer temperatures. After all, they can’t simply remove layers!
If you fancy some further reading on this topic, then be sure to take a look at our tips for keeping your dog cool in summer. You can thank us later.
2. Fleas & Ticks
Like all of our tips in this article, prevention is always better than the cure, which is certainly true when it comes to fleas and ticks!
When planning to head out for walks in the summer, consider first if your route could contain pesky fleas and ticks. Don’t forget that fleas and ticks are known to thrive in tall grass and wooded areas. Avoid these areas if at all possible.
It can be beneficial to speak with your veterinarian about suitable flea and tick preventive treatments for your dog. These treatments will typically be topical, oral medications, or even collars. Regardless of your route, it is good practice to always check for ticks after a walk. What do dog fleas look like? I hear you ask. You would often be looking for tiny dark insects that are smaller than ants
Not everyone knows this, but toads can pose a real danger to dogs. Toads can secrete toxins from glands on their skin as a defence mechanism against predators.
When a dog comes into contact with or attempts to lick or even bite a toad, then they could easily be exposed to toxins, which, as you can imagine, could lead to potential health problems.
While granted, not all toads may be toxic, when your dogs’ health is on the line, it’s always best to play it safe by preventing your pooch from interacting with toads in the first place.
While, of course, most breeds are covered by fur, their paws and other hairless areas are vulnerable to rays and, subsequently, sunburn.
To prevent sunburn in dogs, first limit the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours (normally between midday and early afternoon). Always ensure your dog also has access to clean drinking water along with adequate shade too.
Another preventative measure is to purchase pet-safe sunscreen, specifically formulated for dogs to protect areas prone to sunburn. Consult your local vet for more information and to ensure you purchase the correct sunscreen for your dog and enjoy the sun safely together.
5. Grass Seeds
Due to their small size and ability to penetrate the skin, grass seeds can pose a real danger to dogs and cause injury. Dogs simply walking through grassy areas can get grass seeds trapped in their fur or within their paw pads, which can cause irritation, swelling, and discomfort for your dog.
Thankfully there are preventative measures which include keeping the grass in your garden well-maintained and avoiding walks that could take your furry best friend through long grass (which we learned earlier is also where ticks and fleas could also be lying in wait).
A grass seed in dogs paw can be serious. If you suspect that your dog has a grass seed-related issue or displays signs of any discomfort and irritation, then always consult your veterinarian.
Algae can come in different shapes, sizes, and colours. Some algae can only be seen via a microscope, while on the other hand, some algae can be as big as seaweed.
Unfortunately, certain types of algae can also be poisonous to dogs. Therefore, while your dog may be up for a little paddle to cool off, just remember that if they ingest water contaminated with toxic algae, then it can lead to various unpleasant health issues, which can include (but no not limited to) vomiting, weakness, and difficulty breathing.
Now that you know the risks, let’s look at prevention! Firstly, all dog owners need to be cautious of open water regardless, as, of course, many other risks include the risk of drowning due to currents and hidden hazards lurking below the water. If the water shows signs of algae blooms or has a foul smell, then keep your dog away.
If you suspect your dog has come in contact with or ingested toxic algae, you must seek immediate veterinary care.
7. Barbecue & Table Scraps
Admit it, it’s hard not to give in to those puppy dog eyes, right? However, consider what you are feeding your dog when it comes to barbecues and table scraps. This is because some barbecues may contain food with bones, such as chicken wings or ribs, which can potentially splinter when digested, causing your dog to choke with internal injuries in the digestive tract also a possibility.
Remember that even if the food on your BBQ does not contain bones, rich, greasy, or seasoned foods can also lead to gastrointestinal issues, including an upset stomach, diarrhoea or vomiting. So as you can tell, it really is best to stick to the dog-friendly approved treats.
Disclaimer: If your pet is seriously injured or needs immediate medical assistance, you should take them straight to your local veterinary practice without delay.