With the UK summer nearly in full swing, as a dog owner you can look forward to more enjoyable walks and less mud! Whilst the season offers a whole host of new opportunities and enjoyable dog-related activities, it, unfortunately, does also come with some potential health risks for your beloved pooch.
We’ve outlined some of the most common health complaints seen in dogs in the UK over the summer months. This is not to alarm you, but to increase your awareness so you can do what you can to prevent potential health risks and make the most of this beautiful time of year together.
A common question most dog owners ask the experts is how to keep dogs cool in summer. Most breeds, particularly ones with thick or double coats are affected by the rise in temperatures. After all, they can’t strip off like we can! Here are some actions you can take to keep your dog as comfortable as possible in the heat:
- Walk your dog in the coolest parts of the day – early morning and late evening
- Choose walks which have a water source such as a stream
- Opt for walks in shaded areas such as woodland
- Take water with you on walks
- Certain breeds will need their coats stripped or clipped
- Buy cooling aids such as cooling dog vests or collars
- Provide a paddling pool or sprinkler when in the garden
- Wet ears and head to keep cool
- Never leave your dog in the car
- Don’t tie your dog up somewhere without any shade and access to water
After a short run in a field of long grass, your dog will likely be covered in these tiny little grass seeds. The arrow-shaped seeds can easily burrow deep inside the tissue and can cause serious damage. The most commonly affected areas are your dog’s ears, eyes and between their toes. Aside from avoiding walks in areas with long grass, the simplest way to avoid this being a problem is to check and groom your dog after each walk.
Adders are the only venomous snakes native to the UK and are more active in the summer months, often spending time on paths and clearing, basking in the sun. They generally only bite in self-defense so may bite your dog if unintentionally disturbed or stepped on by your dog. If you think your dog may have been bitten by an adder you must seek veterinary treatment immediately. To reduce the risk of a bite occurring either avoid or walk your dog on a lead in areas where adders are common, these include heathland, sand dunes, moorland and the edges of woodland.
It is most commonly found in the south and south west of England, western Wales and Scotland where its preferred habitats are sand dunes, heathland, rocky hillsides, moorland and also woodland edges.
The bottom of dogs feet – the pads – are extremely sensitive and can easily be damaged when walking on hot surfaces such as tarmac and pavements. To avoid this problem, avoid walking your dog on these types of surfaces during the hottest parts of the day and in places exposed to full sun.
It is very difficult to avoid the possibility of your dog being stung by a wasp altogether. The best thing you can do is keep a close eye on your dog and if you notice any unusual swellings, take them to your vet without delay.
Ticks are more prevalent in the summer months, particularly in areas with long grass. As ticks can transmit deadly diseases, it is advised to use a tick prevention treatment which is often included in some flea and worming treatments but do check to make sure they are covered. Another preventative measure you can take is to check your dog for ticks after each walk, by running your hand through their coat to feel for any lumps.
We all love to have a barbeque in the British summer, yet it’s often overlooked as potential risks for dogs. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe around the BBQ:
- Keep them at a safe distance from hot coals and fire
- Beware that onions and garlic are poisonous to dogs
- Corn on the cob isn’t easily digested by dogs and can cause serious bowel obstructions
- Wooden skewers can be easily swollen whole by your dog, these sharp objects can easily tear the stomach and intestinal walls causing serious damage
- Cooked meat bones splinter easily and are dangerous to dogs if ingested