Jackie Leftwich BSc MSc AMC MMCA FRCC (Animal)
Chiropractor [McTimoney/STR/IAVC] (Qualified to treat humans and animals)
Registered with GCC and RAMP
Telephone: 07738 110570
E-mail: info@watersidechiropractic.co.uk

Tips from Waterside Chiropractic to Help Your Dog Enjoy a Happy Healthy Summer

June 30, 2014  |   Canine Chiropractic,Latest Posts   |     |   Comments Off

Here comes Summer and the weather is hotting up!  It’s a great time to spend outside with your dog.  However, together with the fun and enjoyment that the long days and sunshine bring, also comes some challenging aspects for your dog to deal with.  Our furry friends do not tolerate the sun and heat like we do.  Here are some tips from Waterside Chiropractic to help keep your dog healthy and happy during the hot weather.  Most of them are common sense, but nonetheless, many still do not seem to realise how the Summer environment can affect your dog.

1)  DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS – each and every year we see and hear about dogs that have been left in cars to the point that they are at death’s door, or worse.  You know how hot the car is when it has been in the sun and you get in it; imagine getting into it in a fur coat and just sitting there!  If it is hot and you don’t need to take your dog out with you, please please don’t.  Your dog may want to spend as much time with you as possible but if you are going to have to leave them for any period of time, it is far better that they are left in the cool at home.  Even parked in the shade with the windows left down and a bowl of water available, the temperature in the car will rise sharply in just a few minutes.  You may have been parked in the shade when you left, but by the time you come back the sun may have moved round exposing your vehicle to direct sunlight.  It takes no time at all for your dog to become seriously at risk of death in this environment.

2)  Exercising your dog – with the heat of the day comes some challenges for exercising your dog.  The heat in the middle of the day can be just too much in which to exercise your dog.  Where possible, try to exercise your dog in the cooler times of the day, early mornings and early evenings.  If you have to walk or exercise your dog during the day, try to take them somewhere that is going to be cooler, like the woods where there is good shade created by the trees, or the beach.  Swimming is great exercise for your dog whilst keeping them cool.  Try not to let them drink salt water or from stagnant puddles, take some fresh water with you so that they do not feel the need to try to rehydrate from these sources.

3)  Dehydration and heatstroke – we know it sounds obvious, but make sure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times.  Dogs live for the moment and can easily overdo it and dehydrate very quickly.  Watch your dog to make sure that they don’t overexert themselves in the heat as heatstroke can also be a killer for dogs.  Dogs mainly release heat by panting and through their paws so if you notice your dog panting heavily make sure that they take regular breaks in the shade and have some water.  Dogs with darker coats absorb more heat than those with lighter coloured coats.  In the garden at home, the sprinkler can be a great fun way to keep your dog cool as many dogs love running through the sprinkler and playing with the water.  Ice cubes in the water bowl keep the water chilled and many dogs like to play with an ice cube, giving them a bit of fun as well as keeping them cool.  If your dog does get too hot, get a wet towel and put it around your dog to help reduce the body temperature and if you have any concerns that they are not cooling sufficiently, then don’t delay, get your dog an emergency appointment with your vet.

4)  Sunburn – yes, believe it or not your dog can get sunburn!  Especially dogs with pink bits, such as pink noses and pink or fair skin.  This tends to be more of an issue in lighter coloured dogs.  In addition to the nose and face, the skin on the belly and under the hind legs is particularly susceptible, more so if your dog enjoys sunbathing on its back.  If your dog has to be out in the sun, use a good quality high protection factor sunscreen which is suitable for babies, but make sure that the product does not contain zinc oxide as this is toxic to dogs.  Make sure you rub the sunscreen in well and don’t let your dog just sit there licking the sunscreen off – it is better to keep the dog out of the sun than to coat them in sunscreen.  You don’t need to cover your whole dog in sunscreen, just the areas that have little or no protection from the dog’s coat in the sun.  Reapply the sunscreen as necessary.

5)  Grass seeds - these are an absolute nightmare at this time of year when all the grasses are growing and reseeding themselves.  Grass seeds can easily work their way in between your dog’s toes and pads and insert themselves into the skin and travel into the body.  Check your dog’s feet daily by examining in between each and every toe and around the larger pad at the back and remove any seeds that may have lodged themselves in these areas.  If you notice your dog licking and chewing their paws then the chances are that they have a foreign body such as a grass seed trapped here.  If there is heat, swelling or soreness, then bathe the dog’s feet in salt water for 5 – 10 minutes and seek veterinary advice as it may be that a seed has already worked its way into the body.

6)  Slugs and snails - dogs can become infected with lungworm through eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum (aka Heartworm).  While most dogs do not habitually eat slugs and snails, they may do so by accident, e.g. when a slug or snail is sitting on a bone or a favourite toy, or when drinking from a puddle or outdoor water bowl.  Lungworm is a particularly dangerous condition as if left untreated, it is often fatal.  Signs to look out for include coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis and persistent bleeding from even small cuts.  Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered candidates for a regular check up with a vet, even if they are showing no outward signs of infection.  Your vet will be able to recommend an appropriate course of action or treatment to help prevent this becoming an issue for your dog.

7)  Fleas and ticks - with the warmth of summer comes the advance of the flea and tick, they absolutely thrive in this weather.  Fleas will hop on to your dog and feed on them, injecting their saliva into the dog.  These salivary proteins are often allergenic and animals may end up with an allergic reaction.  This, plus the feeling of the flea moving around will cause your dog to itch and scratch.  The most common skin disease of dogs is flea allergy dermatitis, where they itch and scratch causing bleeding and scabs and can even lose their fur; it can take only a few fleas for this allergy to become a problem.  If you have a lot of fleas, since they’re blood-sucking insects, this can result in the dog becoming anaemic and heavy infestations can lead to various diseases and in some cases, can be fatal.  Fleas also commonly transmit tapeworms to our pets.  This can be a particular problem especially in young dogs and puppies that have less bodily defences available.  If you discover that your dog has fleas it is important to get a veterinary prescribed flea treatment and to also flea treat your home, thoroughly hoovering the carpets and furniture and washing your dog’s bedding as fleas and flea eggs will be shed from your dog and live in the carpets and bedding.  Just treating your dog will not deal with the eggs laid by the fleas which will hatch in your home and jump straight back on to your dog, starting the life cycle again.

Ticks can cause very nasty diseases, the most commonly known one being Lyme’s Disease which affects people as well as dogs.  Dogs generally get ticks because when they’re out in the environment, walking through the woods or high grass as they can pick up ticks by just brushing past them.  Ticks undergo what’s called questing, where they crawl up on to low shrubs or grasses, generally 18 to 24 inches off the ground and they basically hang out there waiting for a suitable host to come by.  When the dog walks by or we walk by and brush up against these ticks they dislodge and get onto us.  Ticks can live well over a year without feeding, they are opportunists and will lie in wait for a suitable host.  Areas in which there are lots of deer and other wild animals tend to provide the best waiting ground for ticks as a host is more likely to come along soon.  If you are not 100% sure about how to safely remove a tick, then it is best to seek veterinary advice as just pulling on the tick can result in the tick not being properly removed which can lead to further problems.  You do not need to see a veterinary surgeon as all veterinary nurses are well trained in how to deal with these parasites.  If you find a tick on your dog, then make sure that you get it removed as soon as possible.

8)  Summer treats for your dog - lastly, there are many summer treats that we enjoy that are not necessarily good for your dog.  I have yet to find a dog that doesn’t like ice-cream but many ice-creams can contain ingredients such as salts, sugars and preservatives that are not good for your dog.  Chocolate is also toxic for dogs and this applies to chocolate ice-cream and the chocolate coating that surrounds choc ices.  Dog-milk.com have some great dog safe ice-cream recipes which use small amounts of yogurt instead of milk, and you can also have fun making it for your furry friend who will no doubt appreciate your culinary efforts!

Most of all, enjoy the Summer with your dog, goodness knows we wait all year for it and before we know it, it will be over!  Just make sure it is a happy and healthy one for you and your dog.

Comments are closed.

Related Posts