Hot Dogs

Headline News: Two Dogs Die in Police Vehicle

Two dogs were baked alive in a police dog handler’s vehicle – the second time that this particular officer has left his dogs in a secure car without ventilation in very hot weather. It cannot be emphasized enough that if dogs are left in vehicles without adequate ventilation, a supply of water, shade and also the ability to move around to avoid direct sunlight, the consequences are unthinkable.

Perhaps this is blindingly obvious to us as responsible dog owners, but, following a brief question and answer session with several puppy and dog owners recently, some thought it was OK to leave them in the car unattended whilst they went into a supermarket, or whilst mum waited to collect the children from school or other activities, provided that it was for only a short time.  Think again.

The police dogs mentioned above, one a puppy German Shepherd, perished within a comparatively short period and that was before midday when the summer heat would obviously intensify.

Try this:  when you next reach your destination, turn the air conditioning off and wait in your car for one minute with the windows closed in full sunshine.  You will stifle, but just imagine being powerless to open the door and get out, or even open a window and you will know what I mean. I now have a brief chat about dogs in hot weather during all my classes and on all behavioural visits, because what I think is basic dog care (and common sense) may well not cross some owners’ minds….

PLEASE think of and for your dog: keep them cool. They wear fur coats 24/7!

*Let your dog lie in shade under trees on cool ground or on a tiled floor indoors.

*Hose him off and let him cool or soak in a paddling pool filled with cold water (it will heat up if it’s in the sun, of course).

*Put ice cubes in the water bowl or give one or two to chew on.

*Make sure that he has a constant supply of fresh water available at all times.

*Walk your dog early morning or late evening in the coolest part of the day.

*Pavements can get hot enough to burn your dog’s pads, which is very painful and can leave them permanently damaged.


Spring in the Garden

It’s Springtime and dogs love to be in the garden, so here are some tips to keep them safe:

Slugs and snails can carry parasites, especially lungworm. Check with your vet that your dog’s monthly or quarterly medication includes protection for lungworm (not all do). Control slugs and snails by using pet-safe organic slug pellets or traps.

Fences and boundaries: dogs spend more time outdoors in spring and summer, so check that they are safely enclosed in the garden. The height of the fence or wall needs to be adequate to contain dogs that jump and if necessary, install a trellis structure to low walls to raise the height. Fence off areas of the garden that should be kept dog-free. There is nothing worse for a gardener to find her prize flowers have been trampled!

Lawns and grassy areas are prone to become bald and muddy, so reduce wear and tear by choosing grass that is similar to that in public parks – generally a mixture of grass seed varieties, based on rye.

Gardeners are encouraged to compost waste vegetables and fruit, as well as dead plants, etc. Dogs love to explore the compost heap, so fence it off to stop them foraging for scraps and never put cooked food on the heap to keep foxes and vermin at bay. The core of sweetcorn should never be put on the compost heap – when swallowed by dogs, it cannot be passed through the intestines and out of the bowel, causing a potentially fatal blockage.

Plants and trees: some are toxic to dogs, especially bulbs, grapevines, ornamental grasses and lilies. Check that your garden contains dog-safe plants. Many herbs are good for dogs, but not all, so check before sowing/planting.

Wooden decking, paving slabs and sharp gravel surfaces can be hazardous for dogs. Check paws regularly for abrasions and consider using rounded pebbles for drives and paths.

The main point of all this is to keep your dog safe, your flowers blooming in safety and to enjoy your time playing and relaxing with your best friend whilst enjoying the warm weather.