Are Your Pets Ready for Summer?

With the Summer heat upon us, Dr Chris answers all your need-to-know questions about your pets and the summer heat

Dogs in coats – is it dangerous?

In the heat, putting your dog in a coat can be dangerous. If your dog is doing any form of physical activity or out in the sun, let them run free without the added weight of a coat. Dogs don’t sweat and wearing coats when it’s not necessary can increase their body temperature too much and make it dangerous for them.

Should you clip your dog in summer?

Your dog will love you when you give them their Summer haircut - it’s a great way to regulate their body temperature. Scared about their fur not growing back? Fear not, your pooch will be back to looking their best within a few months.

When is the best time of the day to exercise your dog?

The saying “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” applies in these circumstances. Avoid hot periods such as midday and try exercising your dog in the morning or evening when it’s a bit cooler.

What are some of the things you can bring with you when exercising to help keep your dog cool?

Listen to your pup; if they're reluctant to continue walking, call it a day and head home into the nice cool air-conditioning. Also, bring along a spare water bottle for your furry friend, it won’t go unappreciated!

The living room 2017 season 6 episode 25 Miguel Chris travel dog noosa

Do certain dogs get sunburnt?

Many people don't realise, but yes, dogs can get sunburnt. Your dog’s skin can display signs that they’ve had too much sun exposure, look out for particularly pink skin, as not only is it painful, but it’s also harmful. Like people, dogs can develop skin cancers including hemangiosarcoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Skin cancer is actually the most common type of cancer in dogs! So don’t forget your pup when you slip, slop, slap!

Is putting sunscreen on a dog an option?

Sure is! Use child-safe SPF 30 to 50 and apply per the label instructions for people, applying to the most sensitive skin spots; nose, ears, belly and any shaved or bare patches. Don’t forget to re-apply after they’ve been swimming or playing in the grass or sand.

What about the pads of dogs paws, can they be burnt?

Your little friend’s paws are very susceptible to burning, particularly on black surfaces like asphalt, when temperatures are high. On hot days, grass is best!

The living room 2017 season 6 episode 25 Miguel Chris travel dog noosa

What is the rate that a dog’s body temperate increases compared to a human's?

As far as looking after animals in summer, this is a very important to know. Dogs are particularly at risk to the heat as they cool themselves by panting. If the air around them is too hot - particularly if they don’t have access to water - dogs are physically unable to regulate their body temperature. In the time it takes to pick up a few things for dinner at the supermarket and get through the check-out, a dog left in a hot car could have become very sick, or even die.

What are the signs that your dog is dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke?

Signs of heat stroke or dehydration include increased heart rate, excessive panting, increased salivation, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhoea.

How can I prevent heatstroke in my dogs?

  • Don’t leave your dog in the car unattended at any time
  • Restrict exercise activity in hot weather
  • Avoid hot sand, concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade
  • Place a circulating fan near your dog to cool them down
  • Always give your dog access to plenty of drinking water
  • Ensure outside dogs have access to shade
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or an ice bed by simply placing a wet towel in the freezer and then placing it under your dog
The living room travel 2017 season 6 episode 19 melbourne dog

With our furry friends in mind, put yourself to the test and find out how aware you are about beating the heat with your pets.

Need more information? Head to RSPCA and check out our Dog’s Guide to Melbourne and Chris’ guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding with Dogs.