5 ways to keep your dog safe in summer

We all know to slip, slop, slap and wrap to keep ourselves safe from the summer sun, but do you know how to keep your dog safe during summer?

We slip, slop, slap, and wrap to keep ourselves safe from the summer sun but are you taking the right steps to keep your dog safe over summer?

Kiwis love a good summer in the sun. Beach, barbecues, and beers all go together well. And, if the heat gets a bit too much, we either head back indoors into our airconditioned homes, or take a dip in the pool, ocean, or local river.

But – while we’re enjoying the summer sun and keeping ourselves safe as we slip, slop, slap and wrap – we also need to take a moment as pet owners to make sure our dogs stay safe this summer.

And, while a pooch in a Hawaiian shirt with sunnies on and a hat perched on its head makes for a great photo op, there are a few other – more serious – things we need to be doing to keep our pet safe this summer.

1. Take care when exercising your dog

Even though exercising your dog is important all year round, it’s important to be a bit more thoughtful over summer, because of how they regulate their temperature and (of course!) their lack of footwear. Earlier in the morning and later in the evening are often better times, as the temperatures aren’t as high and the pavement isn’t as warm and less likely to burn their paw pads.

If you’re normally an active runner with your dog, summer may be the time you give them a bit of a break, or don’t run as fast or as far. Dogs don’t have the luxury of sweating like we do, so may find it harder to keep up when the weather’s warmer.

And, if you live near water, take the opportunity to take a quick dip to cool down – for both of you!

2. Keep your pet cool

As mentioned above, dogs don’t have the luxury of sweating as a mechanism to help keep them cool. Technically they do sweat, but it’s through their paws, so it’s a lot less effective than the human mechanism. The other way they regulate their temperature is through panting.

There are a few ways you can help your pooch keep cool:

  • Make sure there’s plenty of shade outside for them.
  • If they’re inside, turn on the air conditioning if you have it.
  • Provide them with a paddling pool to splash around in. Pop it in a cool spot, so the water and plastic don’t heat up too much

3. Provide a steady supply of water

Making sure your pet has access to fresh water is important all year round, but especially so during the warm summer months. At home, make sure your dog’s water bowl stays topped up all day and, if possible, leave it in a shady spot or indoors so it stays a little cooler. You can also add ice to the water bowl to keep it colder for longer, or provide an icy treat for your pet.

If you’re going on a walk – and especially if it’s a longer one – take a water bottle with you so your dog can drink regularly. There are some nifty water bottles on the market that have a built-in water bowl.

4. Summer grooming

Help your pet lose its winter coat by giving them a good groom at the start of summer and regularly throughout the season. Matted hair can trap the heat, which is what you need to try and avoid.

Some animals may benefit from having their coat shaved, or at minimum thinned out by a professional groomer, but do check first as this option isn’t suitable for all coat types.

Instead of grooming you can also stroke your pet with a damp cloth if they’ll allow it. The best places include the paws, belly, and the outside of their ears.

5. Know the signs of heatstroke

It pays to familiarise yourself with the signs of heatstroke, so you can act in time if you see your pet – or someone else’s – suffering.