Yay ! Summer (dare I say it) is finally here! With temperatures set to reach the early-mid 20’s, it is a good time to dust of the barbie and stock up on sun cream… for you and your dog.
Most of us are well aware of the risks the sun can cause but at this time of year it’s also important to remember the dangers our pets can face from the sun. Just like us, dogs are vulnerable to injuries and illnesses related to hot weather and sun exposure including heat stroke, sunburn, and foot pad burns.
Did you know dogs do not sweat all over their bodies the way humans do? Their body temperature is mainly regulated by panting. If your dog cannot clear the heat quickly enough heatstroke may take place.
Particularly at risk are dogs with white, or thin fur and pets with light coloured skin. Heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems put your dog at higher risk too, and for these animals even normal activities in intense heat can be harmful. Dogs with shorter snouts – like Pugs or Bulldogs – have a harder time panting out their body heat, and certain breeds don’t tolerate the heat as well as others. This group includes English and French Bulldogs, Boxers, the Saint Bernard, Pugs, and Shih Tzu.
Look out for rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, and thick, sticky saliva and the skin inside the ears reddening. Heat exhaustion symptoms are depression, weakness and dizziness, vomiting – sometimes with blood, diarrhoea, shock, and even coma. Noticing the early signs of heat exhaustion will reduce the chances of heat stroke, which is especially dangerous, as in extreme cases it can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage, blindness, convulsions and worse.
“By knowing exactly what to do when your beloved fury friend gets overheated and taking immediate action can save their life. Enjoy the warmer months with your pets and by remembering the information below can really help ensure a happy healthy summer for all”
Things to remember in the hot summer months:
When the sun eventually does come out it is key to keep and eye on the amount of time your pet is in the sunshine, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Sun protection is not just for humans and can be purchased widely (ask your Groomer at Shaggy to Chic for more information), when using you should pay attention to vulnerable areas such as your dogs nose and ears.
Make sure your pet doesn’t stay too long in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces and has plenty of shade, ideally with a breeze. If not try and provide a cooler area for you pooch to rest in, take them inside and draw the curtains, if you have a fan use this. Dampen the skin with lukewarm water and allow it to air-dry or put cool wet towels over their neck, under armpits, and between hind legs. Gently wetting their ear flaps and paw pads using cool water is also advisable (but be careful not to get water in their ears).
Very important is to always provide plenty of fresh, cool drinking water. Never force water into your pet’s mouth as they may inhale it or choke. If your pooch refuses to drink, try wetting their tongue with the water instead. Do not offer ice to a dog experiencing heatstroke. If eaten, ice can cool your pets core body temperature too quickly, shocking their system.
Keep walks to a minimum and restrict exercise when temperatures soar, and do not muzzle your dog because it inhibits their ability to pant and release heat.
Also giving your dog a lightweight cool summer haircut can help prevent overheating so speak to Shaggy to Chic about the best summer trim for your pampered pooch.
Lastly, if you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, fast action might save their life. Remove your overheated pooch from the hot area immediately and try and cool them down using the tips above. Just to be safe, even if your poor fur baby seems to be recovering it’s advisable go to the vet as soon as possible. Remember, if you can, call ahead so the vet can be prepared for your dog’s treatment.
Thank you for reading our fist blog, we do hope you found it informative and useful. If you did find the information interesting please ‘like & share’ and comment on Facebook as the more dog owners who are aware of the dangers of the sun the better for our pets.
Please keep an eye on this page as we are hoping to publish many more tips and tricks for you and your pampered pooch.
The team at Shaggy to Chic x