Summer Safety Tips

With the weather heating up here in New Zealand, it’s time to talk Summer Safety for our pooches. As fur baby parents we love to have fun in the sun with them, but how to we do that without risking their health? Here’s some tips to help keep your pet comfortable, safe and carefree this summer.

Spaniel swimming with IDC Multifunctional Dog Vest 3in1 on

Just like us, our pets love the sun, but too much time in the sun can overheat them, particularly those pooches with shorter noses like Pugs, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs. Not to mention if our pets are overweight or have thicker darker coats, they too are at greater risk. Our pets tend to enjoy themselves a little too much and don’t take the time to cool down in the shade or re-hydrate. So how do we safely cool, and keep them cool as well as hydrated?

Here’s some tips:

  • Be sure to exercise your dog during the cooler hours , early in the morning or later at night.
  • Always test how hot the ground is before you take your dog for a walk. If you can’t walk barefoot on the concrete, asphalt, sand or any other surface, neither can your pooch. On a day with the temperature in the high 20’s, the ground can be well over 60 degrees!
  • Prevention is always better than a cure so encourage your pet to stay in shaded areas. And move them to another spot if they are looking a bit hot.
  • Keep on top of their grooming, especially in summer. Excess fur, can feel for them, like we would wearing a thick jersey on a hot day.
  • Just like us, ours pets can get sunburnt! Before sun exposure, cover the areas where there is little or no fur, or very light coloured fur in pet sunscreen. But please only use pet sunscreen.
  • A shallow kid’s pool to perfect for your dog to bathe in. Make sure they can get in and out easily though.
  • Put ice cubes in an indoor bowl and freeze a big block of ice for their outdoor bowl.
  • Doggie ice blocks are also a great way to keep them hydrated – just freeze your dog’s favourite treat in water, inside a treat toy, or an ice-cream container.
  • You can find cooling mats at most pet stores – these can be used as crate liners or as beds, and can be helpful for other animals too.
  • Some supervised fun with the sprinklers is great way for you and your pooch to cool down together.
  • Fans to keep the air circulating can help also.
  • Give your pet a wet towel to lie on or hose their feet and stomach to cool them from feet up.
  • At ALL times, a water bottle and water bowl, such as our handy collapsible bowl, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS when walking or travelling in your car.
JK9 NZ Collapsible bowl extended and collapsed

Keep an eye out for these signs of overheating, dehydration and heat stroke:

  • Dogs pant rather than sweat like we do, so if they seem to be excessively panting and drooling, and have a dry nose they are highly likely to be dehydrated or overheated. 
  • Try gently sliding your finger across your pooche’s gums, if they’re dry and/or sticky, or even an unusual colour, this is another sign of dehydration.
  • Lethargy and bloodshot eyes can also be a sign.
  • If you’re concerned that your pet is dehydrated or ill, please contact your local vet.

Travel Safety

  • If the purpose of your trip is not for your dog, leave them at home.
  • Take regular breaks with your pet, so they can go to the toilet stops, stretch their legs and grab a drink.
  • Keep them cool with windows open or air conditioning for ventilation.
  • Ensure that they are not sitting in the sun and their spot is shaded.
  • NEVER EVER leave your dog unattended in your car on even a warm day is a huge risk, let alone on a hot one.
  • If you leave your dog in a hot car and it becomes heat stressed, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.
  • If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, take immediate action by finding the dog owner or call the Police or SPCA. It is recommend that you don’t smash the car window as this can put both you and the dog at risk.

​Doggy paddling to cool down?

Us humans might have mastered the doggie paddle, but not all dogs have. Especially for those adorable pugs and terriers, swimming is not their favourite activity. So if you are taking your pet swimming for the first time, check out our earlier blog on this topic here.

  • Make sure that you have a flotation device for them such as our IDC® Multifunctional Dog Vest 3in1
  • If you’re at the beach, be sure that their head is above the water so they don’t consume the sea water. Sea water can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and sick pooches in general.
  • If your pet likes to swim in a pool, always rinse them off with fresh water after as chlorine, salt and bacteria in pools can make them ill, just like us.
  • When they’ve finished their swimming, be sure there is a shady area close by so they can stay cool and have access to their water bowls.

And one last, super important tip here… HAVE FUN! When we have fun, it calms our pet’s, lets them relax to have fun too!

Keep an eye out for these signs of overheating, dehydration and heat stroke:

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