Summer is an incredible time for you and your pet to enjoy the outdoors, soak in the sun, and bond in more exciting ways. Many owners take their dog to the beach, go on a hike, or go camping together.
TIP: Blue-Green algae (Cyanobacteria) can bloom in the hotter months of the year and with climates around the world getting warmer being vigilant and preventing your dogs from cooling off in this algae-covered water is vital. Some types of algae can be fatal to your dog if ingested so it is important you keep a close eye on the water wherever you chose to walk your dog.
A growing trend in some canine communities, amplified by all the global lockdowns, is to throw a ‘pet party’ in your backyard or local park aimed at helping your dogs to socialise with other dogs and get all of them to exhaust their pent-up energy. You can come up with games to play, prepare pet-and-human-friendly food to eat, and even get some customisable branded dog bandanas, new products on the market and other gifts for all the guests to take home and remember the day by. In some cases you could reach out to local canine companies who may be interested in providing free gifts for a little exposure of their product.
You can do all these things and more, provided that you take the necessary precautions to keep your animal companion safe and comfortable. Summertime may be fun and all, but the heat and sun can be overwhelming or even harmful to your pet. If you want your dog to stay comfy, happy, and healthy as the temperature rises, be sure to watch out for the following health issues that are particularly common during the hot summer months:
Prevent your dogs from getting sunburnt
You may not realise it, but dogs are prone to painful sunburns. While hairless breeds like the American Hairless Terrier and the Chinese Crested dog are more prone than others, it’s worth pointing out that even those with fluffy fur can be at risk once they start shedding their coats due to the extreme heat.
As such, make it a habit to lather pet-friendly sunscreen all over your dog’s body before going out, paying attention to areas that are more exposed to the sun, such as their nose, around the lips, the undersides and tips of their ears, the belly, and the groin area. You can also invest in dog clothing made of materials with an ultraviolet protection factor or UPF rating, which means that they can block harmful UV rays and limit your dog’s exposure to the sun.
Avoid your dog getting dehydrated
Your pet needs to drink more water than usual to compensate for the body fluid loss that they can experience during the hot summer days. Otherwise, their bodies can lose water quickly, and your pup may suffer from dehydration as a result.
To keep your dog hydrated, you may want to set up multiple water stations around your home and prepare some cooling treats, such as ice cubes and frozen berries, apples, or peas. It’s also a sensible idea to switch to wet dog food and carry fresh water every time you head out to walk or play. Remember, your dog can’t tell you whenever they’re thirsty, so you may need to be extra sensitive to their hydration needs.
Ensure your dog doesn't get heatstroke
Although dogs pant using their mouth or sweat in their paws to stay cool, these mechanisms are sometimes not enough to keep their body temperatures down when the weather is too hot. Instead of waiting for your canine friend to drool or pant heavily before you take action, it’s best to be proactive and find ways to keep your dog cool all the time.
For one, you may want to keep your pet in a shaded and well-ventilated area with access to plenty of drinking water when the outside temperature is very high. For another, if you love exercising with your dog, try scheduling the activity early in the morning when the sun’s heat is still bearable.
Most importantly, never leave your canine friend alone in a parked car with closed windows where heat can build up quickly at alarming levels. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, hundreds of pets die from heatstroke every year because of this mistake.
Protect your dogs from Fleas, Ticks and Worms
Fleas and ticks thrive in warm weather and high humidity. As such, these external parasites pose a real threat to your pet during the summertime. Aside from causing skin irritation and rashes, fleas and ticks can also transmit diseases that can harm your pet and your family. These include the likes of murine typhus, plague, cat scratch disease, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tick paralysis, and anaplasmosis, among others.
Keep fleas and ticks from ruining your summer plans by asking your vet for preventive medications or products. You should also keep your home and backyard clean. Vacuum indoor carpets, wash beddings, keep trash bins closed, and mow loans regularly to eliminate the chances of having flea eggs hatching and multiplying around the house. And when you go out with your dog, it may be best to stay away from wooded areas as ticks and fleas tend to thrive in such environments.
In summer months it is more common for your dog to develop worms, often from ingesting eggs from a range of sources such as puddles and contaminated grasses and soil. Persistent and aggressive scratching of their rear are signs your dog may have worms along with diarrhoea and constant hunger. In many cases you will be able to spot the eggs in your dogs poo. If you feel your dog is suffering from a bout of worms then you need to speak medical attention to obtain the appropriate medication and worming treatment.
Keep an eye out for seasonal allergies
Often in Warner summer months seasonal allergies are more prevalent. Many dogs will suffer from allergies just like we do such as pollen or grass allergies. Tell tale signs of your dog suffering from an allergy include continually scratching at their skin, redness within the eyes or red pigmentation of their skin between their toes or around the ears and eyes, excessive licking or nibbling of their paws and even sneezing!
If you believe your dog is suffering from a seasonal allergy then you can look to take them for their daily walk in dusk or dawn when pollen levels are likely to be lowered and although they may not like it - washing them every day with a topical treatment can also help to alleviate allergic reactions.
The conditions above are just some of the most common health issues threatening your beloved pet this summer. Keep these tips in mind to minimise the potential of these hazards to cause harm, and continue researching other ways to maintain your pet’s overall well-being as you enjoy the sunny skies and warm weather. After all, you can only build precious memories with your canine friend if they’re strong and healthy.
Products such as the highly acclaimed DOG StreamZ magnetic dog collar can be extremely beneficial at this time of year too. Unlike with traditional magnetic dog collars, StreamZ unique advancement in magnetic therapy delivers a magnetic approach which creates no heat. Supported and endorsed by vets across the world; StreamZ have been found to be beneficial to all dogs of any age and an ideal long term solution which can be worn by your dog 365-days a year, even in the summer!