Dogs: you either love them or hate them. Are they part of the family or a creature to be avoided at all costs?
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be doing a deep dive into “man’s best friend” and what we understand, or not, about this animal whose roots were far from the goofy bundle of fur that many have become today. Outside of young kids and babies, dogs attract more attention, both positive and negative, than most other subjects. There are now a myriad of websites and social media outlets telling us which breed is right for you, what dog foods to use or avoid, how to groom your dog and with which equipment, what to do in the event your dog starts twitching and on it goes. As a breed, we are simply obsessed with dogs!
Now that summer is upon us, and we can finally put away the snow boots for at least a few weeks, let’s start by discussing some of the dos and don’ts as relate to dogs in hot weather:
•Always make sure that your dog has access to plenty of clean water at all times. As with humans, dogs can survive longer without food than they can without water. Dehydration can be a major issue for dogs, particularly the heavy coated breeds who were initially bred for cooler climates. With the hot weather evaporation can decimate what was once a full bowl of water so keep a close eye on the water level in the dog bowl.
•Do not leave dogs in vehicles during hot weather. Temperatures can rise alarmingly and very quickly, particularly if windows are closed. Unfortunately, many dogs have died due to heat exhaustion in vehicles so please leave your dog at home rather than risk a serious problem by leaving Rover in your vehicle.
•Sidewalks and tarmac can become very hot, to the point that the pads on dogs’ paws can become burnt. A simple test as to whether a surface is too hot for a dog to walk on is to place the palm of your hand on the surface. If you cannot keep your hand on the surface for up to 10 seconds because of the heat, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
•Avoid taking your dog for a walk during the hottest part of the day. If this means getting up earlier to take your dog out, so be it.
•Always take water for your dog with you on a walk. With the amount of fur that a lot of dogs carry, they will start to dehydrate if there are no water breaks during your walk.
•Dogs love to play which, in their world, often means chasing something or someone. Be cognisant of how much running around your dog is doing in the hot weather as they will often become so focused on the game they overlook how hot and dehydrated they have become.
Happy summer to you and your furry friend!