The good weather is FINALLY here, and we're all delighted, but is your dog ready?
Every year dogs across Ireland are rushed to emergency rooms suffering heat stroke and burns on our hotter days, and unfortunately many don't make it home.
Dog expert Nanci Creedon, of Creedons College shares her top tips for keeping your canine cool this summer.
Don't leave dog's in hot cars, yada yada yada. We've all heard it before. Yet many of us still run in to the post office with the windows open a crack thinking 5 minutes won't hurt, sure we spend more than that sitting at red lights.
However, many people don't understand the truth behind dogs and hot cars.
The serious risk is, dog's in hot cars literally kill themselves. A dog's natural reaction to being in a warm place is to pant. Unfortunately when they pant they actually increase their body temperature, so panting is only effective in cool areas. A panting dog in a hot car is actually speeding up the chances of heat stroke, so while we may be able to tolerate a few minutes in a hot car dog's are their own worst enemy with their heavy coats and panting reaction.
There's nothing better than a long leisurely stroll on a hot day, right? That nice gentle breeze that comes just when you need it, peaking in windows, watching the world go by. You bring along Rover, you're not walking too fast, and you'll stop for a water break. That's perfectly fine, right? WRONG!
A forgotten risk to walking on hot days is those dainty little paws. This is Ireland, and our dogs paws are not used to walking on hot surfaces. Then we get a couple of blistering days and our dogs are out walking on cooking pavements, tarmac roads, or the worst, hot sand. And boy does it HURT! Your dog can't tell you that their paws are piping, and the recovery for four burnt paw pads is long and painful.
Golden rule? Hold the back of your palm flat against the ground surface for five seconds. Ouch? Then no walkies on that surface.
Solutions include walking on grass surfaces, or if you're heading to the beach take off your own shoes and stick to the waters edge.
Yup, dog's get sunburnt. Many owner's clip their dogs coats short in summer months, however this removes their layer of sunburn protection. White dogs, and dog's with thin coats that spend time in the sun should have sun block applied.
Epi-pet have a dog approved sun block, and recommendations are that you use sun block for infants on your dog - focusing particularly on the thin skin on the bridge of their muzzle, and on their bellies.
Ensure to rub the cream in well and supervise closely for ten minutes to ensure your dog does not lick the product.
Often summer changes aggravate our sensitive pooches. During summer months check your dog regularly for the following -
Quick look into your dog's ears (while giving them a treat) will help to determine how healthy their ears are. Contact your vet if you see any swelling, redness, or discharge.
Check for any itchy, red, or flaky skin. Contact your vet if you notice any changes.
Monitor your dogs eyes, looking for redness or discharge.
Carry out extra observation checks when your dog comes home from a busy outdoor adventure, especially if you visit new parks or forests!
If your dog stays in a conservatory or high-glass room during the day ensure that it doesn't become too hot. Keep window's open and test how hot the room is on hot days to ensure your dog will be safe when in that room.
Exercise your dog early morning and late evenings - avoiding peak times
If your dog is in the garden while you work, ensure they have ample shade areas throughout the day - remember the sun will move, so there should be shade throughout the day.
Provide double the drinking water for your dog, and to ensure your dog's water doesn't evaporate throughout the day you can add ice blocks.
Frozen carrots and frozen banana chunks can be fantastic treats for your pooch to keep them happy!