Summer vacation is approaching and temperatures are rising. How can you prepare your dog or cat for the summer? Here are some tips on how to prepare for the summer months.
Tip 1: Coat maintenance
Depending on the thickness of your dog or cat’s coat, a haircut can help keep your pet cooler in the summer. If your dog or cat does not have a thick coat, there is no need for you to care for the coat any more than usual. Never completely shave off a dog or cat’s fur. Their coat also helps the animal regulate its body temperature, and exposed skin can result in sunburn!
Tip 2: Overheating
When temperatures are rising outside (and indoors), it is good to know how to recognise signs that your pet is overheating and what to do about it. Some symptoms of overheating are:
• Very warm body
• Rapid breathing
• Dark red gums
• No appetite
Dogs and cats do not sweat like people do. They need to get rid of their body heat in other ways, such as through their tongue and the soles of their feet. If your pet is overheated, help it cool down. Firstly, make sure your dog or cat is in the shade or in a cool room. You can also wrap a bag of frozen vegetables or cooling blocks in a towel and place it in their basket for extra cooling. In addition, ensure they have access to fresh drinking water, but make sure it’s not too cold. Have your dog or cat drink small amounts, often. You can cool its paws, head and neck using a slightly moist cloth. Make sure it isn’t too cold.
Tip 3: Hydration and dehydration
When the weather is hot, it is extra important that your pet drinks enough. Cats in particular do not usually drink a lot, so it can be a challenge to make them drink enough. Make sure your pet has access to sufficient water that is not too cold. Preferably in several places in and around the house. In addition, it helps to give your dog or cat wet food during summer. Wet food consists of 80% water which will give your pet just that little bit of extra fluids.
Tip 4: Sunburn
Dogs and cats can get sunburned too. You should pay special attention to parts of their bodies like their ears, nose, belly and soles and protect them with special sunscreen for dogs and cats. Your dog or cat has very sensitive foot soles and uses them a lot. On sunny days, make sure the surface they walk on isn’t too hot in order to prevent blisters and burns. If the surface is too hot for your hand, it is also too hot for your dog or cat.
Tip 5: Exercise in summer
Adapt your dog-walking routine to the outside temperature. Be careful about walking your dog too much on hot days and walk it in the early morning or late afternoon after the temperature has dropped a bit. Make sure your dog does not need to exert too much effort. This means, for example, no long runs.
Dogs do not sweat the way humans do. Only their tongue and paws sweat. And although moistening their coat may cool them down temporarily, this will ultimately only make them hotter because the wet fur will absorb and retain the heat. Do not walk too much, walk your dog in the early morning and late afternoon after the temperature has dropped. Do not have your dog run next to you while you are cycling. And remember that a dog will not always show signs of pain or discomfort. You will have to anticipate it.
Tip 6: Taking the dog to the beach
Warm weather makes the beach an inviting place. If you decide to take your dog along, then make sure both you and your dog have access to plenty of drinking water. Your dog may swallow sea water while playing in the sea, and too much sea water may cause it to vomit. You can prevent it from ingesting too much salt water by having it drink enough fresh water. If your dog gets sand in its eyes, rinse them with 1 litre of boiled (and then cooled) water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
Tip 7: Wasps and bees
Young dogs and cats love chasing insects. Unfortunately this can get them stung or bitten. If your pet was stung in its paw, remove the sting and cool the paw with a cold towel or cold water. If the swelling spreads to its body or head, or if the animal is vomiting or gasping a lot, take it to the vet immediately. The same applies if your dog or cat was stung in the mouth and its head, lips or eyes subsequently swell up.
Tip 8: Fleas and ticks
Your dog or cat is especially susceptible to ticks and fleas during summer. Make sure you vacuum the house and other places where your pet may be found. This includes your car. In addition, there are various drugs available for combating fleas. Inspect your dog or cat for ticks every day. Remove any ticks with a tick twister and disinfect the spot where you removed the tick. Read more about how to keep your dog healthy.
Tip 9: Dog in the car
High outdoor temperatures mean the temperature in your car will rise quickly too. Never leave your dog behind in the car, not even with the window open or in the shade. It is best to avoid car trips with your dog on hot days or, alternatively, place a cooling mat in the car for your dog to lie on. If you spot a car containing a dog that might get overheated, call the police and animal ambulance. If it looks urgent, break a window to free the dog.