Summer brings heat and strong UV rays; most people are aware of how to protect themselves from the adverse effects of heat and sunlight. However, many are unaware of how summertime can impact on their four-legged friends.
Dogs can get Heat Stroke
Often dogs sweat and pant and often struggle to cool down themselves. This means that they are highly susceptible to heat stroke.
Dogs that are most at risk:
- Short-nosed dogs (such as boxers or pugs),
- Older dogs,
- Overweight dogs.
Additionally, spending too long in the sun, being older or unwell, being dehydrated or on medication are all factors that can increase the likeliness of heat stroke in your dog.
Particular signs and symptoms of overheating:
- Rapid, heavy panting
- Fast breathing
- Fast, weak pulse
- Raised body temperature.
- Red & inflamed skin
- Seeming irritated
Tips for Enjoying Walkies this Summer
Provide your dog with shade wherever possible. You may want to walk them in the woods, on the shaded side of the street and never leave them in a totally exposed garden or yard.
Help them stay hydrated
You may need to carry water with you in a bottle as well as a bowl if you are out and about. Alternatively, try to arrange your outings so that you pass by a fresh body of water or a tap.
Try to take your dog for walks when the temperature is a little cooler in the day
Touch the tarmac
Dog paws can get very hot which makes it harder for them to maintain a normal body temperature. Touch the tarmac and have a feel if it’s too hot in the day to go on a walk
Dogs can get sun burned too. Sunburn can occur after lengthy exposure in strong sunlight just like humans. Furthermore, it can lead to sun damage and skin cancer.
Dogs most at risk;
- Dogs with light skin or white fur or hair
- Bull Terriers
- French Bulldogs
- Pitbull terriers
However, this is not to say that other breeds or dogs with darker fur and skin aren’t at risk. Furthermore, for full protection, all dogs should be wearing sun cream in the summer months.
- Red & inflamed skin
- Irritated and painful skin
- Hair loss
- Scaly skin
The most affected areas include the nose, area around the lips, tips of the ears, groin and the belly.
Sun Cream for Dogs
Luckily, help exists – just like humans, dogs can wear sun cream. Just like humans, dog sun cream rinses off the skin if the dog is exposed to water so make sure to reapply after your dog’s had a dip.
Choosing Canine Cream
Ingredients in human sun cream can be toxic to dogs. This risk is heightened by the possibility that a dog licks themselves, ingesting the cream. You must read the labels and avoid any sun cream that contains:
- Zinc Oxide
- Para-aminobensoic acid (PABA)
The safest option is to buy sun cream created specifically for dogs. If this is not possible, an alternative is to use a sun cream designed for babies with an SPF of 15 or more.
It’s best to check with your vet before deciding upon a cream.
How to Apply
- Do a patch test first on a small area of the dog to check there is no adverse reaction
- Be careful not to get cream into the eyes of your pet
- Spread evenly over the dog’s skin and allow the lotion to soak in for a few minutes
- Don’t let your dog lick it off during this time
Remember, even if you have applied suncream on your dog, they are not going to be fully protected from harmful UV rays and the dangers of overheating. Thus, it’s always advisable to spend a limited amount of time exposed in peak hours (10 to 4pm) during summer.
This will allow you and your four-legged friend to enjoy the warm weather without suffering sun-related setbacks.
As well as our extremely comprehensive online First Aid for Dogs course we also have a practical First Aid for Dogs course.
Award-winning first aid training tailored to your needs. Please visit our site and learn more about our practical and online courses. It is vital to keep your skills current and refreshed.
Furthermore, we strongly advise that you attend a fully regulated Practical or Online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit https://firstaidforlife.org.uk or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.
First Aid for Life is a multi-award-winning, fully regulated first aid training provider. Our trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals. They will tailor the training to your needs. Courses for groups or individuals at our venue or yours.
First Aid for Pets provides this information for guidance only. It is not in any way a substitute for veterinary advice. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any mistreatment or misdiagnosis of any person or animal, however caused.