Keeping Our Animals Safe In Summer

Keeping Our Animals Safe In Summer

Summer is upon us, and this means taking some extra precautions to keep our beloved animals safe.

  1. Walk your dogs early in the morning or late at night to prevent overheating. Check the heat of the surface by placing the back of your hand on the ground. If it’s too hot for you, its too hot for your dog
  2. Put extra water bowls around in hot weather. Many dogs love to play in their water. Choose heavy based bowls which are harder to tip over. Add ice cubes to keep the water cold
  3. A clam shell pool with water can be a great way for dogs to cool down. Add balls for extra fun! Monitor water level for puppies for safety and encourage them to come in and out safely
  4. Purchase above ground hammock beds that allow for good airflow. Place under trees or in the shade on verandas if outside. Provide a couple of options that will allow for movement of the sun during the day
  5. Cool mats and cool jackets are good options for the hotter weather. You can also dampen dog beds and bedding for cooling
  6. Freeze Kongs, Lickimats and other food enrichment toys. This will make them last longer. Make up dog pupsicles in ice trays and moulds for a treat. This website has some simple and easy recipes here.
  7. Older dogs, young puppies and sick dogs will be more prone to overheating. Provide cool areas with good ventilation and air conditioning to reduce the risk of hyperthermia. Dog doors are a great option to allow for toileting
  8. Don’t leave dogs in cars – even for a short period of time. Dogs can’t sweat and overheat quickly. According to the RSPCA, If a dog’s core body temperature goes above 41 degrees, it’s at risk of heatstroke and only 50 percent of dogs will survive. Those that do survive, may have permanent brain damage. Carry ice packs, towels and spray bottles to use in need
  9. Brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds with shortened airways like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers and even Cavaliers can be more susceptible overheating. Also larger breeds and overweight dogs.
  10. Dogs with smooth/thin hair and white-coloured ears and/or pink noses can be more susceptible to skin cancers so a good quality dog sunscreen is recommended. Human sunscreens can often contain ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. Gentle dog trainers have come up with their suggestions for ‘The Best Dog Sunscreen for Australian Conditions’ here.

Know the signs of overheating in dogs which may include: excessive panting or drooling, disorientation, increased heart rate, high body temperature, increased thirst,  bright red or blue gums, collapsing, vomiting/diarrhoea, seizures

If you see any of these signs, you need to take immediate action:

  • If indoors bring dog into an air-conditioned room or place in front of a fan
  • Place cool wet cloths (or towels) on paws, armpits, neck and in groin area
  • Wet dog down using a wet cloth or gentle water stream from the hose. Don’t place in bath with cold water or use forceful water spray. Dramatic temperature drop can be dangerous
  • Check and monitor body temperature
  • Offer water but don’t force if your dog doesn’t want to drink. Instead squeeze cool water into mouth and on gums from a wet towel
  • Monitor carefully and contact Vet immediately
  • Attend a Dog First Aid Course so you know what to do in any dog emergency
Debra Coleman

Debi is a professional dog trainer and behaviour specialist. Her passion is to help caregivers of family pet dogs build lasting relationships through education and understanding. Debi is a force free accredited professional who also trains and assesses therapy dogs and Psychiatric Assistance dogs throughout Central West NSW

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