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Summer Care Tips For Your Dog

 Summer is here; make sure to look after your dog and keep them cool! We've compiled our top tips for helping to care for your dog during the summer.


A light brown puppy lies on concrete outside in the sun


1. Bring them inside


If you are feeling the heat and have retreated to the cool of your house, chances are your dog is just as uncomfortable as you are. Bring your dog inside to enjoy the air conditioning or lie under the fan with you.


A brown and black German Shepherd lies inside on timber floors


2. Give them something cool to lie on


If your dog can’t be inside or prefers to be an outdoors pooch, be sure to give them somewhere cool to lie. A raised bed will allow the breeze to flow underneath and will help keep them nice and cool. If they aren’t a fan of beds, you can give them a wet towel or an ice pack to lie on when they feel the need to cool down.


A brown dog lies on a towel outside with a tennis ball between his feet


3. Keep them cool


Dogs don’t sweat through their skin to cool down like humans do. Instead, they pant to regulate their body temperature. You can help your dog cool down by wetting their feet or misting their face with water.

Your dog might also appreciate a shallow pool of cool water to lie down in, but you should never leave your dog unattended around pools, even if there is only a small amount of water in it.

A brown dog is in a pool holding a purple toy in his mouth while a cream coloured dog looks on


Some dogs love a swim at the beach or in a creek or river. If they aren’t a great swimmer, you can purchase a life jacket to help them stay afloat. Check that any creek or river your dog enters is clean and free from algae as some types, such as blue-green algae, are toxic to dogs. Give your dog a good rinse in fresh water after they have been at the beach to prevent the salt from drying out their skin and coat.

Be sure to dry your dogs ears properly after they have been in the water to avoid ear infections.


4. Staying hydrated


Your dog should have access to multiple sources of fresh, cool water at all times during the summer months. Ensure the container is easily accessible and kept in the shade. Ceramic dishes are a great choice because they help to keep water cool. If your pet isn’t a big drinker, encourage them to keep up their fluids by adding carrot juice, chicken broth or pieces of fruit to their water.

You can also feed your dog more wet food in the summer months which will help keep them more hydrated than if you were to feed them dry food only. Check out our range of dog food including wet food from brands like Advance, Hills and Royal Canin here. If your dog eats a special variety of dry food that isn't available as a wet food, you can always add a small amount of water to their dry food.

A brown and white dog is standing on sand at the beach and licking its nose


5. Avoid the hottest times of day


The best times of day for walking and playing during summer are the early morning or early evening times when there is daylight, but the temperature can often be many degrees cooler. You should still be wary of hot surfaces, especially in the early evening. If you are not sure if it is too hot to walk your dog, place the palm of your hand on the surface of the road or footpath. If you are able to keep it there for more than 5 seconds it should be safe to walk your dog. You should also bring water and a bowl along on all your walks so your dog can stay hydrated.

Instead of playing more strenuous games like tug of war during summer, encourage your dog to engage in games that don’t require a lot of running around. You can hide toys or treats for your dog to sniff out, place treats in a treat ball for them to discover, or make a frozen treat for your dog to lick away at on those days when it is too hot to move.


6. Sun protection


Dogs with lighter coloured fur and hairless breeds such as Chinese Crested dogs can be prone to sunburn, particularly on their ears and noses. Fortunately, there are dog safe sunscreens available to protect those precious pink noses. Check out Filta-Bac Sunfilter for dogs here.

A black and white bully type dog is sitting and staring into the camera with puppy dog eyes


7. Monitor dogs at risk


Certain breeds of dogs are more at risk of developing heatstroke in the warmer weather. Short-nosed and flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, French and American Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds are more likely to suffer the effects of heatstroke due to their shortened snouts. Older dogs, dogs that are overweight and dogs with heart or breathing problems are also more prone to heatstroke.

A black and fawn pug lies on the ground staring off to the side


8. Grooming for summer


Dirty and matted fur is excellent at trapping heat, so you should make sure your dog is well-groomed before summer begins. You should never shave double-coated breeds such as Huskies and some kinds of Shepherds as the double coat actually helps to keep them cool. If you are not sure if you should shave your dog to help them cope in summer, check with your veterinarian. We stock a wide range of grooming products to help prepare your dog for summer.

A Golden Retriever lies on bricks and clearly enjoys having his chin brushed by his owner

9. Never leave dogs in cars


This is a message that just doesn’t seem to get through to some people because every summer there are stories of dogs dying in hot cars. NEVER EVER leave your dog in your car during the summer months. Even if it is for a short period of time and even if you have wound the windows down. The temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels in a matter of minutes and cracked windows do not allow enough airflow to circulate to make any difference. If you see a dog left in a hot car, call 000 immediately.

Things to Watch Out For

There are many dangers unique to summer that a dog owner should watch out for. Here are some of the more important ones to be aware of this summer.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication is rare, but occurs when a dog has swallowed a large amount of water in a short space of time. It can cause brain damage and may lead to death. It commonly occurs when a dog has been swimming or playing with water from a hose or sprinkler. You should keep a close eye on your dog when they are swimming or playing with water and if you suspect they are swallowing a lot of water, you should remove them from the water source and allow them to calm down. Limit their time in the water to ten minutes at a time to give them a chance to catch their breath and lessen the chance of them ingesting large amounts of water.

Signs of water intoxication to watch out for include:
  • Bloating
  • Tiredness
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination such as swaying or falling over
Treatment: If you suspect your dog is suffering from water intoxication, you should take them immediately to your vet as they require treatment urgently to correct any electrolyte imbalance.

A Labrador swims in a pool with palm trees in the background

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration is one of the most common concerns that dog owners are faced with in summer. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, they may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Dry mouth
  • If you grab the skin on the back of their neck, how quickly does it go down? A dehydrated dog's skin will flatten slower than a hydrated dogs.
Treatment: Encourage your dog to drink water but do not force them. If symptoms persist, take your dog to their veterinarian.

A brown and white puppy is lying in sand with a tennis ball at its feet

Signs of heatstroke 

A dog can develop heatstroke if they are exposed to high temperatures for an extended amount of time. If a dog has heatstroke they may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
  • Increased temperature
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Excess or thick saliva
  • Rapid pulse or heartbeat
  • Fatigue or depression
  • Glazed eyes
  • Muscle tremors
  • Staggering
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness 
Treatment: Heatstroke can be life-threatening and you should take your dog immediately to your nearest vet. To help them cool down in the meantime, you should wrap them in cool, wet towels, paying particular attention to cooling down their belly, groin and under their arms. You can also use a fan to cool them down. Never put a dog with heatstroke into iced water or attempt to cool them too rapidly as they may go into shock. Do not force your dog to drink water.

A light brown dog walks along the shores of a lake
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