Summer Safety for your Dogs
Paddling Pool Cool Down for Dogs – cooling down on these hot days
It has been hot and humid for us and also for our dogs. Many dogs love the water to splash around in and one way to keep your dog cool is to have a paddling pool ready for them to get in.
Never force your dog into a pool or allow your dog in the pool unsupervised. This is especially true for dogs with underlying health problems such as heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, mobility issues, and/or seizure disorders.
Change the water regularly to ensure the water is clean. Bacteria and algae can quickly grow in pools and be toxic to dogs.
Protect those Paws and follow the Seven Second Rule
Hot weather can cause roads to melt and dogs to burn their paws on asphalt, tarmac and concrete. For many, warm, sunny weather provides a great incentive to get outdoors but it also brings its problems — your dog’s paws are sensitive and are likely to burn on scorching roads and pavements in these high summer temperatures.
Follow the seven second rule and your dog should be safe:
Dogs’ paws can be just as sensitive as a human’s feet. That means they’re equally as likely to get burnt walking on a hot surface as their owner’s would be.
Place the back of your hand on the road or pavement surface for seven seconds. If you struggle to hold it down, it’s too hot to walk a dog.
Protect your dog’s paws by walking early in the morning or in the evening when surfaces are cooler.
This beautiful warm weather means that adders will often venture out of the dense undergrowth to bask. Take particular care when walking your dog in areas of heathland and the edges of woodland.
Adder bites are fairly rare and snakes generally only bite in self-defence so normally bites occur when a snake is stepped on or disturbed by a dog. Most adder bites occur on a dog’s head, face or neck area and typically result in a painful swelling. This can become severe and may result in breathing difficulties.
If you think your dog has been bitten by an adder, take him to a vet as quickly as possible. If possible carry your dog to reduce the spread of the venom around your dog’s body.
Summer Skin and Coat
Pale coloured dogs are vulnerable to sunburn, particularly on their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer which may require surgery. Sunlight and heat can also make existing skin conditions worse, particularly if your dog has allergies. Use only pet safe sun cream.
Bees and Wasps
Dogs will often chase buzzing insects, but getting too close can be dangerous. Most insect stings will simply cause your dog pain and irritation, but multiple stings can be fatal.
Dogs are also at risk when they snap at bees and wasps because this makes them more likely to be stung in the mouth or throat. Swelling can block your pet’s airway.
Some dogs are allergic to bee and wasp stings, so watch out for signs of an allergic reaction, including swelling and difficulty breathing. If you think your dog has been stung multiple times, or is having an allergic reaction, take them to a vet straight away.
Heatstroke in Dogs
Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes. Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and keep cool. Imagine wearing a thick coat on a hot summer’s day and you’ll understand why dogs succumb to heatstroke so easily.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs include collapse, excessive panting, and dribbling.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from the condition, move them to a cool place, preferably with a draught, wet their coat with cool – not freezing – water, and contact your vet immediately.
Dogs in Hot Cars, Caravans or Conservatories
Dogs succumb to heatstroke quickly. As above, they cannot sweat in the same way that people can and cannot keep cool as easily as we can. A car can soon become like an oven very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm to you. When it is 22°c outside – within an hour – the temperature in a car can reach an unbearable 47°c.
Emergency First Aid for Dogs
For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
- Move the dog to a shaded and cool area
- Call your vet for advice and tell them that you will be bringing your dog as soon as you have cooled it down a little
- Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place them in the breeze of a fan
- Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
- Put a fan on and continue to pour cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering
- Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency