How to get your dog ready for summer
Making the transition between winter and summer can be challenging for dogs. As spring finally seems to be upon us, albeit briefly, here are a few straightforward tips to help you prepare your dog for the summer.
• Visit the Vet – An annual checkup at this time of year is beneficial as it can help to pick up any health issues early and prevent them getting worse.
• Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date – your dog will likely be spending lots of time outside during the summer months so it’s important to make sure they’re protected against a range of medical conditions and diseases. Make sure they are up to date with their flea and tick treatment, if you are unsure what to use your vet can advise you.
• Get your dog groomed – This can help them shed their winter coat to help stop them overheating in the heat of the summer. Also it’s a good opportunity to make sure their nails are trimmed, their ears are clean and their coat is thoroughly brushed through to ensure the air can circulate to their skin and that there are no matts or knots to make your dog uncomfortable. This all goes towards keeping them in good health.
• Check your garden to make sure it’s a safe and secure environment for your dog. Check your boundaries before the plants get too big for you to see any holes through or under your fences.
• Holidays - If you’re planning a holiday which will involve long a drive in the car, spring is a great time to begin preparing them for this, take them out on short car journeys to get them used to the car before your trip if they haven’t been on holiday before. Plan frequent breaks (e.g. every 2 hours) to allow them to stretch their legs, have a drink and relieve themselves. You’ll need to make sure you have a supply of water, food and treats for the journey. You will also need to pack their bedding, bowls, food, treats, toys, leads, collars, coats, cooling coats or bandanas or mats, towels, poo bags, grooming equipment, shampoo, dog first aid kit, etc, you might find they have as much as you in the car!
If you are going abroad with your dog allow enough time to get their pet passport and to plan any additional vaccinations they might need.
• Look out for your dog overheating – There are steps you can take to help prevent your dog from overheating. Some breeds handle the heat better than others, but all will require some assistance. Easy access to fresh drinking water to keep them hydrated, providing shaded areas for them to keep out the heat of the sun when it’s at its hottest.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR they can die from heatstroke very quickly even when the temperature outside is only 20°C. Don’t think that it’s ok because you’ve parked in the shade, the temperature inside a closed car can raise very quickly causing a lot of distress to your dog. This also applies for any enclosed space like a shed that you may leave your dog in.
• Summer Activities – Summer is a great time to get out and about with your dog. Some ideas: hiking / jogging / nice long walks / a relaxing picnic in the park / walking to a pub garden for a nice cold beer and a refreshing bowl of water for your dog. Whatever activities you plan on doing with your dog, make sure you’re well prepared. For example have a bottle of water and bowl to hand for refreshment breaks / If out in the garden get a paddling pool for them to cool off in between play / basking in the sun. Be aware of hot pavements they can burn your dogs paws, walk your dog in the cool of the morning and evening.
Get into the habit when you come back from a walk to check your dog for ticks and grass seeds to keep them healthy. Remove ticks carefully and safely using a Tick Twister making sure that you have removed the head intact. And check ears, nose, paws and coat for grass seeds to prevent them from entering or taking root in your dog. New areas you visit may be worse for these problems than you are used to at home.
When you’re all ready for summer the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy the summer with your dog!