Ahhhh, we all love summer, however it can be a time of year where it can be difficult to keep our 4 legged friends physically and mentally content, especially when it doesn’t cool down until 10pm!
The following hints and tips can help keep your furry friend happy and content:
1. Physical exercise
Although it is still important to exercise your dog during the warmer months, exercise should be adjusted to suit the weather.
- Engage your dog in calm activities such as sniffing rather than running. Sniffing is a summer-friendly mentally exhausting (in fact 5 times more mentally exhausting than running!) activity without the risk of overheating.
- Dedicated dog pools are a wonderful way of cooling down and there are quite a few around Perth.
- Replace your dog’s water bowl with a children’s clam shell full of water (dependent on size and age of dog).
- Many dogs love to dig themselves a cooling pit to lay in. Provide them with a shaded and damp area where they are permitted to engage in this activity. A clam shell filled with damp sand works well. Digging is fabulous work-out!
- Moderate your dog’s exercise by encouraging them to take regular breaks and combine training with short exercise sessions.
2. Mental exercise
I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Think about how you feel if you have had a mentally exhausting day; all you want to do is sleep! The same applies to our dogs. There are many days and nights during summer where it is simply too hot to take your dog for a walk. Instead consider the following options:
- Ice-blocks are a fabulous way of feeding your dog during the warm months. Make an ice block size that is suitable for your dog; in water mix in some Sardines or Tuna and add their dinner. Freeze, remove from the container and serve! Hours of fun!
- Food hunts: activate your dogs nose by taking your dog’s meal and scattering/hiding it all over your yard. It’s amazing the physical exercise your dog will do during this activity too!
- Bring something new into your home for your dog to explore; a cardboard box from Bunnings, feathers from the park, seaweed from the beach, etc. All of these items contain different scents for your dog to explore.
- Add different scents; dilute cumin, cinnamon or other herbs in warm water and spray on surfaces around the yard.
- Even on the hottest evening most dogs will enjoy a training session. Tricks are fabulous to teach and tend to maintain your dog’s interest as they are fun!
- Ice pool. Fill a children’s clam shell pool with a bag of ice – fun!
- Take your dog for a drive in the car with the window partially down. A country drive is not only relaxing for you, but also for your dog. Allow your dog out regularly to smell all the different scents.
- Just because the air temperature has cooled down doesn’t mean the ground surface has. The pads on your dog’s feet can be delicate and burnt foot pads are common during the warmer months. To ensure your dog’s pads stay healthy check the ground surface temperature by placing the back of your hand on the surface. If you can hold it on the surface comfortably for 10 seconds then it’s okay to walk your dog on.
- Summer is a time for prickles! Check your dog’s feet, between their toes and ears after exercise.
- Don’t exercise your dog during the heat of the day. The general rule is that if you wouldn’t exercise in it then neither should your dog.
- Moderate your dog’s exercise. Many dogs, especially puppies will continue to run themselves into exhaustion.
- If you need to cool your dog down do so by wetting their stomach and in between the back legs with tepid water. Wetting their back is like covering them with a wet doona; it will heat them up instead of cool.
- Take water with you and make sure your dog has regular drinks to maintain hydration.
- Sunscreen! Just like us dogs can get sunburnt too. There are some wonderful dog sun smart products on the market.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car, even in the shade with the windows down. Sadly many dogs die in hot cars each year and it only takes a couple of minutes.
- If you think your dog has overheated take them to the Vet immediately.