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7 tips for dog health in the summer..

Summer dog

1.       Groom your dog removing undercoat hair but don’t shave down!

A common mistake in the hot weather is to shave your dog right down, thinking this will help maintain some level of coolness when in fact it can have the opposite effect. Shaving can affect yours dogs ability to maintain the right temperature. It is also very important for dogs with short hair (particularly short white fur) to consider sun screen ensuring you use sunscreen that is recommended for your dog.

2.       When really hot avoid walking dogs on tarmac

This may not be feasible but tarmac can get extremely hot so if you can avoid it by walking on the verge instead this will help avoid any pain on the paws, to be sure it is always wise to check your dog’s paws for heat damage, especially if they spend a lot of time outside on tarmac or a similar surface.

3.       Have plenty of water available

This is obvious but important to remember that once a dog overheats drinking copious amounts of water quickly can lead to bloat (an interesting article on this here). This is of particular risk in large breed dogs. How to handle overheating is covered under point 4.

4.       Know the signs of heatstroke..

There are many different signs but we have just covered a few off here: panting a lot is one of the obvious ones, lethargy or any sign of weakness, dogs may become more irritable than normal and potential my even start vomiting.  Redness around the eyes and finally they may collapse.

To help cool your dog down- plenty of water available (but not too cold as this may make the dog sick). A wet sponge or mist spray on the coat- do not hose down or throw lots of cold water over the dog- ice water will close the capillaries and prevent heat loss further. A fan can also be used to help cool your dog down.

Of course in extreme cases you should call a vet.

5.       Watch out for grass seed

Grass seed is very common and can get embedded in your dog’s paws, once in the paw it can lead to soreness and even acute lameness- if left untreated the grass seed can burrow further into the foot and even the leg, there have even been cases where grass seed can reach the chest cavity. If caught early the seed can be removed easily with tweezers, if not caught early then it will need to be removed by a vet.

6.        Understand how hot your car can become even when  windows are open

Even when you leave the window open just a crack your dog can still overheat. It is very worthwhile leaving your car with the window open at different amounts to see how hot it does get. Of course it goes without saying the leaving the windows shut can be fatal.

7.       Know your dog’s exercise limits

Like us dogs get hot and subsequently tired particularly when their bodies are put through their paces so a normal walk in the cold will have a very different impact in the heat. Common sense but worth remembering when the sun is out and it seems like the perfect day for a long walk..

 

 *These are our tips for summer- of course none of our tips replace advice from your vet