Summer is the ideal time for people of all ages to get outside in the sun, soak up some Vitamin D and romp around in the garden with the dog. We’re all familiar with the precautions we need to take on sunny days — use sun cream, stay hydrated, etc — but there are some additional things you need to do to keep your canine safe too.
1 Give your dog plenty of shade and water
Just like humans, many dogs love to sunbathe and will hanker at the door to the garden as soon as the morning rays appear. To help them do this safely, make sure your garden has shady areas and a bowl of water that’s constantly full for your dog. Without this, there’s a risk they may get sunstroke or even a sunburn (yes, dogs get it too sometimes, especially if they have short, light-coloured fur).
Only use a sun cream that has been specially formulated for dogs. The ingredients in this should be safe in case they lick it, unlike the ingredients in a sun cream for humans.
If your dog is short-nosed (think pugs, boxers and chihuahuas), be especially careful in summer. These dogs have to work harder to breathe and this puts them at higher risk of overheating in hot weather.
2 Avoid exercising or walking your dog at hot times of day
In the same vein, help your dog get the exercise they need without getting too hot or thirsty by being mindful of the hours when you walk them. On hot summer days, dogs should only be walked in the early morning or in the evening when the temperatures are dying down.
If you really must take them out during warmer hours, take a portable water bowl and make sure there are plenty of rest breaks.
3 Use a paddling pool or sprinkler to cool them down
Any additional items you can add to your summer garden to make it a safe place for your dog to hang out will go a long way. Paddling pools and sprinklers are a quick way a dog can regulate their body temperature, and for those dogs who love water, it’s also a lot of fun.
4 Keep them well-looked after
A dog who is already in good health is more likely to ride through the summer months comfortably. Allocate them to a cool spot in the house where they can sleep at night without being uncomfortably warm. A space with good ventilation, freedom to wander the house and a cool tiled floor is the ideal sleeping condition for pooches.
Keep your dog well-nourished throughout the year too, with a diet that incorporates all the vitamins and minerals they need. Dogs who are prone to digestion issues can benefit from sensitive dog food. A dog with a temperature-controlled environment and a healthy tummy is a happier dog!
5 Know the signs of overheating
Some of the warning signs that your dog may be getting sunstroke include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy and vomiting.
Make sure you know the steps to help a dog with heat stroke so that you’re always prepared, just in case.
Following these tips will help your dog enjoy the summer months just as much as you!