With the growth in pet ownership showing no signs of slowing down, new homes builder Miller Homes has joined forces with animal welfare charity Blue Cross to reveal the top eight things every dog owner should know ahead of a number of forecasted heatwaves in May and June.
When it gets hotter, dogs can not only feel more uncomfortable, but their risk of sunburn, skin cancer and even a fatal heatstroke can massively increase. First-time owners might not be aware of summer flowers which are toxic to dogs, and the fact that they should never leave their dogs alone in the car – even for a few minutes.
The research comes after lockdown prompted a surge in new dog owners, with market and consumer research portal, Statista, reporting that the number of dogs bought and adopted in the UK increased by more than three million in just two years.
Miller Homes has joined forces with Karly Smith, animal behaviourist at animal welfare charity Blue Cross, to offer advice to the new influx of dog owners as the weather warms up:
1 – Never leave your dog in the car alone
Cars can heat up within minutes, so never leave your dog alone in a car, even if all the windows are open. The temperature inside of a parked car can increase rapidly, leading to dogs becoming dehydrated within moments. If you see a dog alone in a car on a hot day, you should call 999.
2 – Be wary of summer flowers and house plants
Many common house plants are toxic for dogs. Some plants which are dangerous include aloe vera, holly, lilies, spider plants and herbs which you’re likely to grow, such as rosemary. But as it gets warmer, you should also take steps to avoid your canine getting closer to summer plants which can also be toxic. This includes azaleas, cyclamen roots, elderberries, foxgloves, hyacinths and rhododendrons.
3 – Don’t take them for midday walks
Even if your dog is an active one, avoid walking them between 11am and 3pm. Ideally, go for their strolls in the cool of the early morning or evening, to avoid your dog being too exposed to the heat. Ensure that they stay in the shade for as long as possible too.
4 – Check the heat of the pavement with your fingers
Many of us know how hot the sand on a beach can feel when you’re walking barefoot on a hot day – but for dogs in summer, this can be all too common when walking on the pavement every day. The ground can be hotter than the air around us as it absorbs heat fast, risking the chances of your pooch burning their paws. Simply check the pavement with your hand for a few seconds before they set foot on it – if it’s too hot for you to touch for seven seconds, don’t let them suffer.
5 – Owners of bulldogs, pugs and boxers should be extra wary
Brachycephalic breeds, or flat-face dogs such as boxers, French bulldogs, pugs and cavalier King Charles spaniels can really struggle in the heat and are more likely to suffer from heatstroke. They can find it hard to breathe at the best of times due to their short snouts, but can especially struggle when it’s warmer to cool down and regulate their body temperature.
6 – Avoid blue-green algae
If there’s blue-green algae floating on an area of water, keep your dog away from going in to cool off. This is highly toxic and can cause diarrhea, nausea and breathing difficulties. Blue-green algae can make the water appear green or blueish, or in brown clumps. If you’re even slightly worried that the water might contain the algae, it’s best to steer clear of it.
7 – Purchase a paddling pool
While your pooch might not be able to exercise in the middle of the day outside, don’t prevent them from having their play time! Invest in a paddling pool, or even a hose for them to play with, so they can splash about in the water and have endless fun.
8 – Freeze treats into ice cubes
Everyone loves an ice lolly on a hot day – dogs included. Take their favourite treats and pop them into water in an ice cube tray to refresh them as and when they need a cool down.
Anne Marie Britton, Group Sales and Marketing director at Miller Homes, said: “Following the various lockdowns which initially fueled the rise in dog ownership, the move to hybrid and remote working has helped more people decide to get a dog. However, bringing a new dog or puppy into your home is not a simple task, and with the weather expected to get hotter as we approach the summer months, dogs can become uncomfortable in the heat, which can quickly become dangerous for them. This is why we asked Blue Cross to provide these key tips to help make the summer months safe and secure for your canine friends.”
Readers can find out more advice about how to help your new dog here: https://millerhomes.co.uk/blog/2022/march/ten-ways-to-puppy-proof-your-home.aspx.
To find out more about dogs which are waiting for a home, visit https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome/dog.