Yay for summer time! Surf, sand and plenty of good times outside!
For those in the Gosford City you have a total of 9 off leash areas on the beaches and 40 areas for off leash exercising! How awesome is that???
For those in Wyong Shire we have 2 beaches that are off leash and 12 areas for off leash exercising! Not quite as awesome but it’s pretty good right J
All in all – stop grumbling – they are pretty decent, there is plenty of scrub for the dogs to get busy in and there are also plenty of areas for the dogs to enjoy being out and about. I know, I know, many areas need maintenance, a few are next to unusable…but, we can still make the best of what we have! Let’s have a gripe about the condition of the areas later, first let’s look at how we can protect our pooches in the summer when we take them out and about.
We are all aware of the Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap campaign that is touted every summer – and rightly so. What we as pooch parents are not aware of is that we have a similar duty of care to our crafty canines. Yes even they can get sunburnt.
Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms that would indicate heat stress in our dogs.
The increased heat will cause a rise in the body trying to cool itself, this will result in an increased heart rate. For a sick, recovering, very young pup or senior dog this can cause issues as they are less able to regulate their temperature.
Dogs cannot sweat like we do. They exchange body heat by panting, the air passing over their wet mouths is cooled and flows into their lungs as cooler air, the hotter they get the more drool can be given off, keep an eye out for excessive drooling. Look at the dogs gums, if they are bright red, from all the blood flowing through them to cool down they may be too hot.
Also, they exchange heat through their footpads, so we need to make sure that we are aware of how hot the surface is that they are walking on. If it is too hot for you to walk on, it’s definitely too hot for them. Be aware of asphalted and concreted walkways as these will bake in the sun and continue to stay hot after the sun has passed. Even at 4pm they can still be very hot. Metal will be burning hot and so will sand be too hot to walk on.
If the dog cannot settle, be aware that they may be stressed because it’s simply too hot. Just like you and me, if we cannot cool down we can get grumpy and restless.
Vomiting can be caused by being too hot for too long as can diarrhoea. Worst case situations can be seizures and collapses. These tend to happen when the body temperature is above +400C.
Some other secret dangers are summer time gardening and insect treatments. Citronella, Cocoa Mulch and insect baits can all have a toxic effect on our dogs.
There are groups of dogs that will require a little more TLC than others too, the Northern Breeds, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes etc. are cold weather dogs, short muzzled dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, King Charles Cavaliers etc. are not able to regulate their body temperature as well as long muzzled dogs for example.
If your dog is overweight, just like us they can have issues with hot days. Same as an underweight dog.
If you have a dog with little pigmentation on the ears and nose, you may like to apply sun cream or zinc to prevent sunburn.
There are things that you can easily and cheaply do to help keep even the most hot-blooded doggy cool over summer.
A little sandpit in a shady area during the heat of the day is a great way for a dog to cool down. If the sand has been in a shady spot all day, they will dig the warm sand away and expose the cooler sand and lay in it.
You can set up a little pool for them, nothing too deep though, they should be able to lie down in it. Again, if kept in the shade the water will remain cooler longer.
You can also buy cool mats. These are like a cross between an ice pack and a roll out camping bed. Make sure your dog doesn’t eat it though.
Go to the beach and introduce them to the water, go to the lakes if they don’t like the waves.
Many dogs love to swim, its great exercise for them and you don’t need to do much for them. This will help keep their temperature down. Put some floating toys in and some toys that sink and upload your diving dog’s videos to YouTube, your friends will love watching them!
If you have an outside dog, please ensure that there is plenty of shade and draught for them to lounge under, they will love you for it.
Keep exercise out of the hot midday heat, generally 11am through to 1pm is a good time for rest.
Don’t forget though, like this page so your friends can see it, share it on Facebook or Twitter to get the word out and keep our Vets clear of avoidable mistakes.
Get out there and have some fun