Summer in Australia is usually filled with lots of outdoor activities and fun. Many people have holidays around this time, and increasingly our dogs go where we go during the summer.
With the extra heat and exercise, it’s more important than usual to keep an eye on the comfort and safety of your dog.
Heat stress and dehydration
Whether you feel hot is not a good way to judge how hot your dog is feeling.
Make sure there is access to plenty of shade and cooler surfaces that are out of the sun. Keeping them hydrated is critical as even mild dehydration is bad. Ensure there is ample fresh water for your pup to keep their fluids up.
By the time you see symptoms of heat stress or dehydration, it can already be a life-threatening situation. Serious signs may include slow, lethargic movement, excessive panting or even collapse. Any of these symptoms should immediately be seen by a vet for examination or treatment.
Dogs in cars is never a good combination – even when it feels cooler, or you’ve left a window open. Cars are heat traps, and they get hot in just a few minutes. The best rule here is dogs should never be left in cars. Even when they are with you in the car, ensure that there is airflow and they are cool enough.
Dog breeds with shorter heads/snouts (Pugs, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Bull Mastiffs and more) can be even more prone to some of these issues even more than other breeds because they cannot regulate their body heat as efficiently. Though, it’s important to repeat that overheating can happen to any dog.
Sun, beach and in nature
Planning walks with your dog for the cooler parts of the day is the best way to reduce possible heat-induced injury. Access to water and shade is still important if it is hot. Dangerous wildlife and especially snakes are also more active during the warm months. Keeping your dog away from interacting with these animals is important. It requires you to be vigilant to what’s going on around you.
The beach is inviting at this time year, and we’re lucky in Australia to have so many beaches near many towns and cities. Waves can knock dogs off balance and if not a strong swimmer can be a risk for drownings. There are also all sorts of things that wash up on the beach (natural and human-made) that you should try hard to keep your dog clear of.
It’s never possible to reduce all risks to zero in life, but, simple steps to keep aware of the increased dangers during summer can help avoid the potential for harm to your dog. You can read more information and helpful tips over at Australian Dog Lover.