With the warmer weather upon us, don't forget your faithful friend in the summer weeks ahead:
If you're "hot", your dog will be "even hotter!"
ETK have put together a few handy hints and tips to keep your 4-paws safe and cool this summer.
The first and most obvious, but sadly ignored piece of advice every year:-
NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR IN HOT WEATHER!
Vehicles heat up very quickly, even if they are left in the shade with a window open. When it's 22 degrees outside, a car's interior can typically reach up to 47 degrees within an hour!
NEVER be afraid to dial 999 if you see a dog shut in a car on a hot day. However, do be aware that the RSPCA advise that should you decide to "break the dog free" yourself, you could be prosecuted for criminal damage. However, there aren't many courts in the land that would uphold the action given the cause.
For some reason, holiday-makers seem to forget that the inside of a Holiday Home, with no windows and no doors open is very similar to leaving their dog in a car and just should NEVER be done. You can keep the Holiday Home cooler by drawing curtains or pulling blinds: but it is just not acceptable to leave a dog inside and unattended if the temperatures are high.
Remember that dogs can't sweat! Their cooling system is to pant and it's very easy for a dog to get dehydrated in hot weather.
Smaller dogs are more at risk, as they have a high body surface area-to-volume ratio. Bear in mind that dogs with darker coloured coats will absorb more heat, so are at risk of dehydrating quicker than a lighter-coloured animal. Elderly, very young pups, and overweight dogs are also more susceptible.
Signs of this are bloodshot eyes, excessive drooling, loss of skin elasticity, vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, lethargy and excessive urination. If any of these symptoms persist, it's best to seek veterinary assistance asap.
Also may seem obvious, but make sure your dog ALWAYS has access to fresh, cool water. Keep a check on it through the day and make sure the water-bowl is always full, you can throw in some ice cubes to keep the water cooler. A good tip is to have a few bowls available in different places, rather than just the usual one. If you're out and about with your dog: always take water with you.
Make some dog-ice-lollies! Freeze water in a cup for your dog, (take it out of the cup before giving it to them!), or if your pooch is fond of playing with plastic bottles, (as most are!), freeze water in that and give them the entire bottle to carry round.
Cool your 4-paws from the bottom up! A cool damp towel to lie on does a better job than one across their backs. If you spray their coat with water, don't forget their belly and their paws!
Place a bowl of ice in front of a fan and both you and your 4-paws will benefit!
NEVER walk your dog in the middle of a hot day, restrict walks to early morning or evenings. Just imagine how you would like to pound the pavements in bear feet, wearing a woolly jumper!
Be "BBQ-Aware". You may like to chow-down on the chicken drumsticks and so will your 4-paws given half the chance: but do remember that ANY COOKED bones are exceedingly dangerous for your dog. ANY type of cooked bone can splinter and cause fatal injuries to your faithful friend.
Don't panic too much if your dog isn't eating as much as usual in hot weather. We don't either and your dog is most probably less energetic than usual, with less playing and trotting about, so it should all equal out. If you are at all concerned over a large loss of appetite, contact your vet.
Remember to discard any left-over food your 4-paws may not have eaten. It will deteriorate very quickly in hot weather, but your beloved dog might decide to go back and finish it later without a second thought!
Let your dog be the judge at home! Don't restrict access to the outside space, the dog will soon decide if it's too hot outside, or will find a shady spot to suit. Much as you may value your garden, you may find your dog will dig to find their "outside space", which is a natural instinct for them in hot weather.
Use pet-sun-block on any non-furry areas, like tips of ears, especially if your animal is light-coloured or white.
Most dogs will simply love a pool in hot weather, but do keep an eye on them whilst they are in there, the same as you would with kiddies!
Some dogs seem to find it fun to chase wasps and bees and can end up learning the hard way, that it's not quite as fun as they first thought. If your dog does get stung, generally it's not a major issue.
If it's a bee-sting, remove the sting with tweezers and try not to burst the poison-sack in the process. Bathe with 1 part bicarbonate of soda to 1 pint of water.
If it's a wasp sting, there is no "sting" to remove, ('cos they're just vicious blighters, who sting for the pleasure of it!), so bathe with either vinegar or lemon juice: as a wasp sting is alkaline. (This is also a very useful tip for 2-legged victims!)
If your dog is stung around the mouth or neck, it's always best to see a vet.
Keep your dog safe on holiday: just be aware that the surroundings will be as unfamiliar for your dog, as they are for you!
Your dog will probably feel anxious at first, because of all the changes in environment and routine, although most dogs quickly adapt. (Which is another reason not to leave them in the Holiday Home unattended, as they may become distressed in a strange place without you around and become either destructive or noisy).
Micro-chipping is now compulsory for all UK dog owners, so if your 4-paws does stray whilst you are on your break, it does improve the chances of being reunited. Please make sure your mobile number has been recorded, as well as your home details!
Take extra care when walking in your holiday location, which may be concealing "unknown" hazards such as cliff edges etc. An extendable lead isn't a bad idea, until you are 100% sure it is safe for a lead-free roam.
Remember that a dog can feel agitated and grumpy in excessive heat, just like we can! So just be cautious and ensure that younger children understand your 4-paws may not exactly feel like being pulled around too much!
ETK have many dog-friendly properties for your next break away and lots of the owners have dogs themselves, so are happy to advise regarding local dog-friendly attractions and beaches etc. Take a look through our dog-friendly properties.