Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Don't let your hot dog burn this summer...

Well, it's finally sunny here in the UK, and the more responsible sun worshippers are slapping on sun cream, covering up in direct sunlight and keeping hydrated (that's with water, not booze!). But are they doing the same for their dogs?

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust, explains:
"Dogs can suffer from sunburn just like us. Facing a higher risk are dogs with white or light-coloured hair, those with short or no hair at all and dogs that have lost hair through allergies or medical treatment."
Remember that it is also crucially important not to leave dogs in hot cars. Just twenty minutes waiting in a hot car can prove fatal.

You can keep your dog healthy and happy by following just a few tips:

  • Keep him in the shade during the hottest part of the day - preferably ion the cool indoors
  • NEVER leave her in the car in warm weather
  • Avoid long car journeys in hot weather
  • Clip fur and apply pet sun cream to easily burned areas: nose, ears, eyelids and belly. DON'T use human sun cream - it can be toxic so visit your local pet shop and get one made specifically for dogs.

More tips (updated July 2009):

  • Be extra vigilant with older and overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheat. In a real emergency wet your dog thoroughly and use a household fan to blow cool air over their head and body. Seek urgent veterinary attention.
  • If your dog takes a dip in a lake or pool make sure you rinse him as soon afterwards as possible. Never allow your dog to drink from ponds unless the water is clear as algae in the water can produce toxins that are rapidly fatal.

If your dog shows signs of distress – such as excessive panting, blueness of the tongue or collapse contact your local vet immediately. For more advice on dealing with heat and identifying the signs of heatstroke, please visit the 'heat' section of our website.

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