The warmer weather naturally makes people head outside to soak up the sun, and the same can be said for our pets, many of whom love to be outdoors.
However, unlike humans, dogs can’t add or remove clothing when the temperature rises or falls, so it’s important to ensure they don’t get too hot or cold – particularly in summer when the heat can cause a problem.
With this in mind, the RSPCA has provided tips on how to look after your dog when the mercury rises and ensure they enjoy the hot weather just as much as you do.
The right way
There is no one ‘perfect’ way to care for all dogs because every dog and every situation is different!
While many dogs are kept inside their owners’ homes, some dogs are kept outside in kennels. It’s up to you how you look after your dog, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all of his or her needs.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, pet owners are now legally obliged to care for their pets properly – as most owners already do – by providing the following five basic welfare needs:
- A suitable place to live
- A healthy diet, including fresh clean water
- The ability to behave normally
- Appropriate company, including any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
- Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Taking a trip
If you go on a long journey, make sure he or she gets regular stops to have a drink, exercise and go to the toilet. It can get unbearably hot in a car on a sunny day, even when it’s not that warm.
In fact, when it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C/117°F within sixty minutes. You should never leave a dog alone in a car.
Top tips for summer
If you have to leave your dog outside, you must provide a cool shady spot where he or she can escape from the sun at all times of the day with a good supply of drinking water, in a weighted bowl that can’t be knocked over.
Never leave your dog in a glass conservatory or a caravan and groom him or her regularly to get rid of excess hair.
Your dog will still need to be exercised every day, so walk him or her early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. Never allow your dog to exercise excessively in hot weather.
Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. In a hot, stuffy car dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on your windscreen won’t keep your car cool enough.
Dogs die in hot cars. By law, if you put your animal at risk, you could face prosecution. You would also have to live with the fact that your actions result in terrible suffering for your pet.
Following the above advice can ensure that every member of the family has an enjoyable summer – especially those with four legs!
The RSPCA offers advice on how to care for a variety of pets. Visit the website to find out more about which pets may be the most suitable for your family: www.rspca.org.uk.