Are you set for a dog-friendly summer?

Are you set for a dog-friendly summer?

All the festivities and merry-making with your human friends means your canine ones sometimes get overlooked at this time of year. Here are some timely reminders for helping your dog cope with the sun and heat of a New Zealand summer.

Car travel

Every summer, hundreds of concerns are reported about dogs in parked cars. While it might be 20°C outside, it could be 40°C in the car and it can take just six minutes for a dog to overheat. It’s best to leave the dog at home if you’re doing jobs around town, but if you must take the dog with you, take it out of the car if possible. If leaving the dog in the car unattended, the SPCA recommends parking in a shady spot with the windows lowered about 2cm.

When travelling, watch out for excessive panting or hyperventilating — it can be hot with all that holiday adventure gear packed into the boot or back seat! Lower the windows frequently and keep an ice cream container and big bottle of water in the car for hydration stops. Stop for regular leg stretches on long trips. If your dog gets motion sickness, seat them where they can look out the window.

Watch out for excessive panting or hyperventilating

Dog seat belts are a great way to secure your dog in the car, keeping them safe and stable on tight corners – and they can also save lives in the event of a car accident.

Camping and outdoor adventures

New Zealand is fortunate to have so many campgrounds and freedom camping spots that permit pooches. Remember though to check rules very carefully with your accommodation provider. Not everyone loves the attention of a dog and it’s important to respect that. 

Freeze-dried raw dog food is a great hack for camping or travelling.

Always carry a superstash of dog poo bags— more than you think you’ll need. And use them! While it’s tempting to look away and tell yourself that your dog’s poops will “break down eventually”, they can spread disease even more quickly than usual in hot weather. Plus isn’t a whiff of a pongy poop just the grossest when you’re out enjoying nature?

After trips to the beach, aim to rinse your dog each time with fresh water. Embedded sand and salt in dog coats can cause skin irritation.

As for dog food or treats, freeze-dried raw meat is a great hack for camping or travelling. Compact, light-weight and convenient, Hound treats can either be rehydrated or fed as is. No smell and no fuss! 

Keeping cool

Make sure your dog can always access a shady spot while you’re enjoying the golden weather. A splash in the water is always refreshing but check the rules if you’re near popular swim spots.

At home, keeping a few frozen treats handy will stave off boredom as well as providing a quick cool down. Pop some beef bones, chicken necks or offal in the freezer for them to chew on, or make a dog ice-block out of beef stock. There are also a number of commercially produced frozen treats out there like Scoop Dog’s Blue Jelly or ice cream range for dogs.

Groom dogs regularly to remove excess fur. A heavy coat traps heat and makes it harder for dogs to cool down. And don’t forget that a paddling pool or sprinkler can be as delightful for dogs as they are for humans on a hot day!

Sunsmart tips for dogs

Always ensure your dog has a shady spot available during the day. Aim to walk your dog during the coolest parts of the day – either early morning or late evening. 

Dogs can get sunburnt too when they lie in the sun, particularly if they are short-coated or light in colour. Noses and exposed skin can burn easily so keep some dog-specific sunblock handy (the human stuff is not good for them!)

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