The warmest part of the year is definitely upon us, and while this means longer days and probably more time spent outdoors with your four-legged pal, there are also a number of risks associated with summer. As responsible pet owners, it’s important to be aware of these risks and do everything we can to reduce the potential negatives during the months ahead.
- Lots and lots of clean, fresh water
Dehydration is serious business in summer, so you can never have too much water. Make sure to put out multiple water bowls, as dogs can be clumsy and a single misstep on their part could leave them thirsty for the rest of the day otherwise. Aim for at least three bowls in strategic locations around the yard to minimise the risks of them all being spilled in one fell swoop.Also take care to leave the bowls under shade and away from direct sunlight to keep the water refreshing and cool. If you can leave them in a cool enclosed area, such as a garage, that’d be great, as it has the added benefit of ensuring the local birds don’t take a casual dip in them. By all means leave out specific dishes for birds to keep themselves cool too, but keep them raised so your dog won’t drink from those accidentally.
- Dogs can suffer sunburn too
Spending time outdoors with your pup can be very rewarding, but remember that you’re not the only one who might need to slip, slop, slap. If you’re headed to the beach or out for a hike, consider applying some sunscreen to the more exposed areas of your dog’s skin. Ensure you get a specially made dog-safe sunscreen that is free of zinc oxides, as this substance can be toxic to dogs. On a related note, if you are spending some time on a hot beach, make sure your dog has a towel or something to stand on – if the sand is too hot for you to stand barefoot on, it’s probably not much better for your poor pooch’s paws.
- Consider a haircut
Most dogs moult seasonally, but there’s no reason you can’t help them along and trim away some of that thick winter coat (or have a groomer do it for you). This is an especially good idea if you have a dog with a particularly luscious coat to help get air circulating just that little bit closer to the skin, but don’t go overboard! Some dogs are very proud of their coats, and removing too much might make them a bit mopey or embarrassed.
If you haven’t already taken measures to protect your dog from ticks, now is the time to do so – we are well and truly in tick season now. Even if your dog is supposed to be protected, make sure to check yourself every day. This can be particularly cumbersome if your dog has a lot of fur, but making sure they’re safe and healthy makes it worth while. Ticks can have an affect on your dog very quickly so that’s why it’s important to check often.
- Avoid hot cars
In this day and age this one should go without saying – never, ever leave your dog alone in a parked car for any length of time, especially in summer. Even if the car is in the shade, even if the window is down a little, just don’t risk it; it’s not worth it.