Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

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Keep puppies safe and happy in summer heat

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS
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Summer is a great time to be out and about with your puppy and there is lots to see and do. However, the warm weather can cause sometimes cause discomfort so it’s important to know how to help your puppy enjoy sunny days safely:

1. Play water games

Stay cool together with a squirty water bottle or a hose, you’ll both have fun and your puppy will drink extra water, helping to avoid dehydration. If it’s too hot to even to play and your puppy is really struggling to cool down, wet towels draped over their head and back can help to alleviate any discomfort or distress.

2. Keep bugs at bay

Most external parasites thrive with heat and moisture. Avoid walking in scrub grass or fields where ticks proliferate, and keep your puppy’s flea and worming treatments up to date. Stinging insects can be irresistible to active puppies who love to chase! Although bee and wasp stings are painful, allergic reactions are rare. But if your puppy appears to be in any respiratory discomfort after an insect sting, contact your vet.

3. Careful car travel

Never leave your dog in a car in hot weather, even short periods of time can leave your dog seriously ill and dehydrated. Keep cars well ventilated while you drive, and make regular stops for water. If you’re travelling by car after your puppy has eaten, try to let at least an hour pass to reduce the risk of travel sickness.

4. Dispose of BBQ leftovers

Bones and corn-on-the-cob husks are both common causes of obstruction in puppies’ throats and digestive systems. Keep pre-cooked food well out of reach and avoid feeding your puppy the BBQ leftovers, however tempting they might find them.

5. Check between your puppy´s toes

Grass seeds and stems become incredibly sharp in hot, dry weather, and can penetrate the skin in your puppy’s paws and ears. Avoid walking in areas with long grass if you can, and take the time to check over your puppy and remove anything sharp when you get home. Sand and grit from beach walks can have the same effect, so give your puppy’s paws a rinse in fresh water when you leave the beach to avoid irritation or discomfort.

6. Stay out of the ‘midday’ sun

Swap afternoon walks to early mornings. Active puppy’s pant so much that on very hot days they can lose up to 5 per cent of their body moisture, if they don’t have access to replacement water. Walk when the sun is at its least fierce, and carry water with you.

7. Be aware of the skin ´hot spots´

Summer allergens, such as pollen, can bring on skin itching and irritation. Puppies can also develop wet eczema, known as a ‘hot spot’. It’s a raw, circular patch of inflamed skin, about the size of a 50p piece, and it can flare up quickly in hot weather. You should visit your vet at the first sign, before it becomes more difficult to treat.

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

Brian graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995 and worked in mixed practice before studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School in 2000/2001. After setting up and developing numerous veterinary practices in Suffolk in the 2000s, Brian was awarded the Petplan-UK Vet of the Year in 2008 after having been runner-up in 2007. Brian is currently the Petplan Pet Insurance media and PR vet and works in his own small animal veterinary practice 3 days a week. During his 20 year career Brian has worked in over 250 veterinary practices as a clinician, consultant and confidence coach.

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