When our dogs are puppies we wait until it’s safe for them to go out into the big world, there’s vaccinations needed, sometimes training and socialisation, but what else should we be considering and what kinds of things must we stay aware of even when the puppy stage is over?
1. Heat stroke
Heat stroke is very dangerous in dogs, and can be fatal. Most dog owners take sensible precautions and we know that you shouldn’t leave dogs in hot cars, but sometimes even walking in hot weather is a danger to our four-legged friends. As well as immediate risk to the soft pads of their paws if the ground is hot, weather that warm can quickly lead to your pet becoming dehydrated and suffering from heat stroke.
How to avoid heat stroke in dogs:
- If you cannot comfortably hold you palm on the ground for a few seconds, it’s too hot for your dog
- If the weather is very warm/hot, walk them very early in the morning or later on in the evening when the sun is down and the ground cooler
- Ensure they have access to cool/fresh water
- Have a coole and well ventilated space for them to rest out of the sun
How to recognise the signs of heat stroke in dogs:
- Excessive panting
- Lethargy and potentially losing consciousness
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
2. Plant toxins & poisons
Most dogs tend to be nosy and like to sniff, chew and lick their way around their environments, but that natural curiosity can be problematic when you’re outside with an array of additional risks.
Keep an eye out for:
- Plant toxins - there are a lot of plants and weeds that can be harmful to your pet if ingested. These are often things you may think are innocuous like daffodils and tulips! So be mindful of what your dogs is playing near or chomping on when out and about
- Standing water can be dangerous for dogs, with levels of bacteria that can be harmful and can be a hotspot for mosquitoes which can transmit heartworm larvae.
- Pesticides and chemicals - it’s important to remember that we don’t know what might have been sprayed on the ground to tackle weeds or even rodents. So again, keep your dog close if you can and aim to discourage nibbling and sniffing especially close to people’s property.
If you do suspect your dog may have ingested something poisonous, seek urgent medical attention.
A poisoned dog may:
- Drool excessively
- Be limp, lame or lethargic
- Refusal to eat
3. Insets & bites
Our dogs love to run around outside, but unfortunately so do many other little creatures. Playing out and about naturally increases the risk of bites and in some cases, this can bring additional complications. It’s important to regularly check your dog over, especially as many small bites can be easy to overlook. Some things to look out for:
Mosquito bites - these can transmit heartworms, which can cause serious damage to the heart or lungs. To reduce this risk, it’s a good idea to steer clear of sitting or stagnant water.
Ticks and fleas - It’s a good idea to ensure you regularly treat your pet to prevent fleas, as these can cause irritation and excessive scratching can increase the risk of skin infections. Ticks can carry lyme disease and as such, you need to keep a careful eye on your dog, especially if you have spent a time outside (ticks love long grass, so bear this in mind). Lyme disease can cause a range of symptoms but your dog may start to become lethargic and struggle to walk. Other signs include fever, loss of appetite and breathing issues.
These are some of our top tricks for staying safe in the great outdoors. To fuel your dog’s adventures, they need a balanced diet packed with plenty of minerals and vitamins. Our Just 6 range contains a combination of six natural ingredients including fresh meat or fish, farm-grown vegetables and vitamin-rich oils, creating a highly nutritious and super-tasty dish. Our recipes are tail-waggingly good, and our portion guides make it clear how much and how often you should feed your pooch!
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