Imagine going through summer wearing a fur coat! Like all animals, dogs will change their habits to adapt to higher temperatures.
For pet parents, here are some tips that will ensure dog care in summer:
Dog care in summer: Indoors
Keep cool spots free:
Most apartment dogs will seek out cool spots such as batches of bare tiled floor, corners, under table areas etc. Allow your dog easy access to these spots by keeping them free of furniture. Place their bedding, water and feeding bowls there. Cotton sheet bedding will keep your dog cool. However, most will prefer lying on the floor during summer.
Shade your doors and windows:
If you have lots of large windows at home, shade them with blinds, curtains and sun-shades. This way your dog can enjoy the breeze while avoiding the heat. Placing plants by the windows will also help keep your home cool.
Get air-conditioning if necessary:
Air-conditioning is a good option for many dog breeds. Huskies and Saint Bernards tend to overheat easily. Same goes for snub-nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs who have comparatively small respiratory tracts, making it difficult for them to release heat by panting.
Consider a summer shave:
Long-haired dogs like Pomeranians and Golden Retrievers can be kept cool by trimming their fur. This also reduces the risk of bacteria and parasites. Consult your vet or groomer so your don’t overdo trimming.
One of the most important aspects of dog care in summer is diet modification. Switch to wet food such as beef broth and ice cubes to increase their fluid intake. Frozen chicken and cucumber slices will also help keep your dog cool. Refill water bowls around the house frequently.
Dog care in summer: Outdoors
Make sure there’s shade:
While walking outdoors, choose grassy and shaded routes. Walking on hot pavements, especially asphalt, can cause blisters on your dog’s paws. Make sure to never leave your dog locked in a vehicle as it can get a heat stroke within minutes. Light-colored and thinly coated dogs are prone to sunburn and must use waterproof sunscreen.
Dogs get thirstier than us when it gets hot. Remember to carry a bottle of water, ice packs and wet towels every time you’re out for extended periods of time. This is especially important for older dogs or breeds that are susceptible to heat stroke.
Restrict outdoor excursions to the cooler parts of the day such as early mornings and late evenings. At other times, your dog might get tired and dehydrated during walks. Consult your vet before easing dogs into physical exercise in summer, especially overweight dogs and those with heart problems.
Chill in the pool:
Set up a mini pool or find a water body where your dog can cool off. For apartment dogs, you can use an inflatable bath that fits into your balcony. Not all dogs are good swimmers so always stick around when your dog dives into a pool.
Stay alert for signs of exhaustion or heat stroke. If your dog is extremely lethargic, pants excessively, shows signs of diarrhoea and disorientation, take immediate steps to cool him down and get him to a vet immediately.