How to have a great summer with your dog

Summer time is here and many of us will be heading off on our holidays in the UK and further afield.

As a dog parent, a huge consideration will be making sure your dogs are happy and well cared for, whether that’s as part of your holiday, with a local dog boarder or enjoying time together locally as part of a staycation.

CHOOSING YOUR HOLIDAY
The first thing to think about is whether your holiday is going to be suitable for your dog. Many places in the UK are becoming increasingly dog friendly, and websites like The Good Dog Guide and Dog Friendly are a great resource to check out different places to visit.


If you’re going further afield, or you just feel your holiday isn’t going to be suitable for your dog, it’s time to look at other options. There are plenty of choices for holiday pet care from kennels to pet sitters. 


PREPARE FOR THE WEATHER
Whether you’re on holiday with your dog or having a staycation at home, in the summer months we do need to be mindful of the heat and how it affects our four-legged friends. 

A dog doesn’t recognise that they’re too hot until it’s too late, so we need to make sure we’re prepared for the weather and keeping them cool:
  • Walk your dog early on the morning and let at night to avoid the hottest part of the day
  • Look for cooler walks such as woodland or along a river where they can get on the water to cool off 
  • Remember the 5 second rule - if you can’t hold your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds it’s too hot for your dog’s paws
  • Make sure your dog has access to shade and fresh water throughout the day. 
  • To help them stay cool, set up a fan or a cool mat, or put them in a cool coat
  • Fill a Kong with their favourite yoghurt, peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol) or the water from canned tuna as a low fat option - and freeze it to provide a cool treat
HAVE A PLAN B

I know it’s tough when you’re away, as often holiday accommodation won’t let you leave your dog there unattended, but if the weather gets hot, don’t take your dog out regardless.

In the heatwave at the end of July, I saw so many people taking their dogs onto the beach on the blistering midday sun - and it was terrible to see how hot and uncomfortable they looked. Don't forget certain breeds suffer worse in the head than others, for example double-coated dogs, big breeds and bulldog-type breeds.


If the weather forecast sounds too hot for your dog, have a plan B - spend the day relaxing at your holiday accommodation instead of going out, and play some brain games with your dog.

BRAIN GAMES

Did you know you don’t have to walk your dog to give them mental stimulation? Learning or practising tricks, playing brain games or even just a good frozen Kong to lick are all great ways to provide enrichment for your dog without having to take them for a walk in the hot weather.

I found out recently that Debbie from Potter Paws uses me as an example when she talks about this during her classes! Every time Dave and Remus have had a photoshoot, they sleep for the rest of the day. That’s because we’ve been making their brains work by asking them to sit/stay and do other tricks on front of the camera.


Making sure your dog is safe and comfortable during your holiday is so important and reasonably easy to do. It might be an inconvenience if you have to change your plans, but it could be life or death for your dog. I'm sure you'll agree that that really isn't a risk worth taking. 

What other tips do you have for keeping your dog cool in the hot weather? Let me know in the comments below!




Remus after his first photo shoot


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