How to care for dogs in sum­mer

hears how the heat can im­pact your pooch

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting - He­len O’Cal­laghan

YOUR child’s sum­mer hol­i­days mightn’t nec­es­sar­ily make your dog hap­pier, par­tic­u­larly if it’s a new puppy or set in its ways.

Changes in rou­tine, ex­tra noise, trav­el­ling or go­ing to ken­nels can cause anx­i­ety in dogs, says cer­ti­fied dog be­hav­iour con­sul­tant Nanci Cree­don.

“Dogs are crea­tures of habit — if they’re not get­ting their usual sleep in the af­ter­noon be­cause they’re out and about with the fam­ily, they can get anx­ious. Or if you usu­ally walk your dog when bring­ing your child to school ev­ery morn­ing and sud­denly you’re tak­ing it in the evening, it means your pet has ex­ces­sive en­ergy and is wor­ried there isn’t go­ing to be a walk,” says Cree­don.

She ad­vises meet­ing the an­i­mal’s needs early each day — en­sur­ing it’s fed, walked and wa­tered. This means a happy, sat­is­fied, tired dog and the fam­ily’s free to go about their plans. If your dog’s go­ing on ex­tra out­ings — to parks, matches or cafes — be sen­si­tive to its cop­ing skills in that par­tic­u­lar en­vi­ron­ment. “A child could grab him – be­ing sud­denly ac­costed by lit­tle hands can be scary for some dogs.”

Fam­i­lies can be un­aware of — or un­der­es­ti­mate — the im­pact of higher sum­mer tem­per­a­tures on dogs. “It’s a big dan­ger,” says Cree­don. “On hot days if your dog’s in strong sun­shine, it could get heat­stroke or headaches. The dog can also feel dis­ori­en­tated, un­well or uneasy.”

All of which can lead a dog to un­char­ac­ter­is­tic ag­gres­sion — in such sce­nar­ios, “a bite could hap­pen”.

On hot days, prior to walk­ing your dog, Cree­don rec­om­mends check­ing the ground isn’t too hot for your pet’s paws — place back of your hand on the ground sur­face for 10 sec­onds. “If you find it too hot, your dog will too — it could get very bad paw burn. Peo­ple think: ‘Oh, a nice sunny day’ and then walk their dog on the beach on hot sand or on hot tar­mac. If your dog’s in pain, it’s more likely to snap when ap­proached,” she says, adding it’s prefer­able to walk dogs on wet sand or on grass.

En­cour­age chil­dren not to bother a dog when it’s rest­ing and not to play dress-up games with it. In­stead, give chil­dren and dogs pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties to en­gage in to­gether, calm walks or sit­ting down to sketch/draw their pet. “Chil­dren can train their dog. YouTube’s full of fan­tas­tic ‘how to’ videos – for ex­am­ple, how to teach your dog to roll over.”

Nanci Cree­don is an am­bas­sador for Pet­tura Calm­ing, a nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ment for ner­vous dogs. www.pet­tura.ie.

Pic­ture: iStock

SUN SMART: Dogs can suf­fer from heat­stroke and paw burn dur­ing hot weather.

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