Guest post by Davies Vets Specialists
Summer is on its way and if last year is anything to judge by, it’s going to be a hot one. Summer can be a tough time of year for dogs as they can often struggle to regulate their temperature under their thick coat, so walks and days out need to be planned with care.
Hiking is especially something to be mindful of in the hot summer sun. The long walks and tricky trails might prove too much for some canine companions, so you’ll need to take some things into consideration before heading out.
Plan your hike
Depending on where you go, hiking can be dangerous and the risk of falling or getting stuck can be very real. For particularly rocky or mountainous areas, dogs are often at risk of cutting paws on sharp stones or getting grit in their eye, so make sure you’re prepared for the type of terrain you’re walking on. New routes can be particularly exciting for dogs and they can very easily get lost if not watched properly, making sure your dog is microchipped and your information is up to date is always advised.
It sounds obvious, but adequate shade on a hike is always something to be mindful of. A lack of shade that your dog can rest in can put them at risk of overheating. Dogs perspire by panting and through their paws because their fur prevents them from sweating efficiently, and so a long period without shade or water in high temperatures could put them at risk of heatstroke. If there aren’t any shady areas on your hike but you still want to take your pooch, consider taking an umbrella or blanket that you can drape over something as a make-shift sun block.
Take plenty of water
Just as with humans, water is key for providing your dog with the fuel they need to keep going in the summer heat. It’s a good idea to always keep a spare dog bowl and bottle of water in the car at all time, but especially during the summer. The same is advised during a hike and there are plenty of handy foldable dog bowls available for lightening the load. Dehydration is a serious condition and your dog’s health can deteriorate quickly if they don’t get enough fluids, always keep an eye on them and take regular water breaks to make sure they’re drinking enough.
First aid may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to your dog, but it is an important skill which you should consider if you travel a lot with your dog, especially by yourself. It’s always advised to carry a first aid pack with you that contains medicine and provisions suitable for both yourself and your dog. Some vets offer animal first aid courses for owners who want to learn how to take care of their pets first hand. This is worth considering if you travel with your dog frequently and often go on tricky or mountainous routes.
There’s no place like home
We all want our dogs to feel part of the family and leaving them at home can feel mean or like you’re leaving them out. However, this may be necessary if your day out proves too much for your dog in the high summer heat. A short hike in the middle of a summer day might not seem like much to a human but add a fur coat and things change. Always judge the weather that day and keep in mind the points above, if it looks like it’s going to be scorcher and your route has little shade, it might be best to leave your pooch in cool confines of home.