Getting your dog ready for summer (including grass seed tips)
Posted by Matt Sadler
Wasps, prolonged exposure to the sun, and the dreaded grass seed can all cause your dog problems over the summer months. Here is some great advice from TV vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham – better known as Marc the Vet – about how to get your four-legged friend ready for the great British summer.
The start of July and rising temperatures mean it’s definitely time to prepare our canine friends for the good weather and doing everything we can as owners to make sure our pet pooches don’t suffer from the potential dangers summertime can bring.
Dogs get sunburnt too!
Most of us know the many risks associated with warmer weather, taking sensible precautions to avoid painful sunburn, annoying allergies, and debilitating heatstroke. But are we looking after our dogs enough so they can enjoy their summers too?
For example, did you know dogs with skin lacking in pigment and very thin coats, like English Bull Terriers, are more prone to getting sunburnt? This can with time turn into serious skin cancer, especially on the nose. Always apply pet-friendly sunblock to these more sensitive areas, and if you notice any skin changes such as reddening, please contact your vet immediately.
The dreaded grass seed
Dog (especially spaniel and cockerpoo) owners will be aware of arrow-shaped grass seeds; small and sharp they attach themselves to your dog’s coat – usually between toes where they burrow up through skin, or become trapped in eyelids or ear canals giving rise to conjunctivitis, head-shaking, and severe discomfort.
When returning from walks make sure you inspect your dog’s coat thoroughly – better still, prevent this painful (and expensive) problem from happening by clipping fur from feet and around ears. Also make sure your dog’s immune status to common infectious diseases is up to date, pollen allergies are controlled, and check coats regularly for ticks and fleas which can irritate your dog as well as spread serious disease.
Stinging insects and other bites
Bees and wasps are also summer hazards, especially to inquisitive puppies exploring gardens, who often disturb stinging insects and then attemp to eat them! Similarly, dogs rummaging around in undergrowth when off-lead are at risk from adder bites. Affected areas, usually with the tell-tale signs of two bleeding puncture wounds, quickly becoming swollen and painful. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog’s been bitten as they may require emergency treatment.
When to go for a walk
Older, long-haired, and short-nosed dogs, such as bulldogs, frenchies and pugs should be walked early in the morning and later at night, avoiding higher temperatures that could make normal breathing and routine exercise difficult. Also, with pavements and road coverings heating up quickly in warmer weather, make sure you walk your dog on the grass or cooler surfaces instead. With all dogs enjoying being out-and-about more, it’s always a good idea to make sure they are microchipped too as it’s often the only way of reuniting with your dog if they get lost. On particularly warm days consider letting your dogs have access to a children’s paddling pool, which are relatively inexpensive and easy to find on the high street or online.
It’s never okay to leave a dog in a hot car
Finally, please never leave your dog in your car, not even with windows slightly ajar. It happens every year – especially at places like dog shows and supermarket car parks – and so many dogs die from this. If you see a distressed dog trapped in a car, then don’t hesitate to call the police as soon as possible. If you have tried to find the owner, have called the police, and the dog is still in great distress, smash the window if necessary.
Wishing you and all your dogs a safe and happy summer!
About the Author: ‘Vet of the Year’ Marc Abraham is a TV vet, animal welfare campaigner, and author giving advice on shows such as BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, Good Morning Britain, BBC Daily Politics, Paul O’Grady Show, It’s Me Or the Dog, My Pet Shame, and Animal Rescue Live.
Marc is also the founder of PupAid.org campaign to fight cruel puppy farms and led the successful Lucy’s Law campaign to ban commercial 3rd party puppy dealers. For more pet advice you can visit Marc’s website: marcthevet.com or connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
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