Most of us look forward to the summer months, when the weather brightens and we get to spend more time outdoors. Warmer weather can be extremely pleasant; however, there are times when it can get very hot and when you may need a little extra protection for yourself and family members, especially children and your pets. Here are a few important things to bear in mind when you’re gearing up for summer fun with your four-legged friend.
Just as you may use a combined sunscreen and insect repellent to stay safe, so summer is the time when fleas and ticks breed quickly, and you need to make sure you protect your dog in a similar way. Your pets may well carry pests into the house, so ensure you use reliable treatments for fleas, mites and ticks, and keep your pet healthy by administering dog worming tablets. There are different products available depending on the size of your dog or puppy, and vets generally recommend a dose every three to six months.
During a warm spell, keep a close eye on your dog when out walking, and take along a doggy water bottle in case of overheating. Watch out for indoor temperatures as well, as rooms with a lot of windows may become hot and uncomfortable for pets. It you are travelling or transporting your dog by car, make sure you have a suitable carrier with which the dog is familiar, and plenty of food and drink if the journey is a long one. Never leave your dog alone in a car on a hot day, even if a window is partially open.
It is common sense not to take dogs for a walk or energetic exercise during the hottest part of the day, and always make sure your pet has access to some shade. You might like to try placing a small, shallow paddling pool in a shady corner and encouraging your pet to make the most of it. While it’s tempting to relieve longer-haired dogs of some of the weight from their coats, do proceed with caution as many dogs are protected from sunburn by their thick coats. Generally, dogs shed a lot of hair in summer anyway, leaving them with a lighter coat. It’s more important to make sure your dog is groomed regularly – bathing and brushing help air to circulate and will keep your pet cooler.
You may find that it’s worth investing in a small fan to help keep your rooms cool during the hotter summer months. Dogs will often gravitate towards cooling air if they are overly warm, so a strategic position near where they eat or sleep is a useful idea.
Finally, be sure to provide some summer treats with a cooling effect – you can even get doggy ice cream that is dairy free and safe, usually made from vegetable and fruit puree. Your dog will really enjoy the treats, and they’ll help it keep cool.