Summer is a lovely time of year to have a puppy, and when the days are longer and the weather warmer this can really expand your horizons in terms of where you take your pup and the sort of things you can do together.
If you’ve had a dog before you will already know that caring for dogs in summer means taking a range of additional steps to factor in the impact of the heat and keep your dog safe, like walking them during the cooler hours of the day and being sure to provide shade and top up their water bowl more frequently.
If this puppy is your first one however, you might just be learning how to keep dogs safe in summer; and even if you’ve already done plenty of research in this respect, there are a number of additional considerations when it comes to keeping puppies safe in summer over and above those required when caring for a dog that is fully grown.
Another thing to bear in mind is that your puppy’s first year of life and so, first summer will also be the first time you may realise if your dog has any challenges or issues specific to them personally that may pose a problem then and in summers to come; which we will look at as well.
Read on to learn about keeping puppies safe in summer, and the factors you need to bear in mind.
Whatever breed your puppy is, they are more likely to be at risk of sunburn than an adult dog of the same breed. Puppy coats are often very different from their adult version and are generally thinner and finer, making it more likely that their skin will be exposed to the sun.
Take special care if your pup has white or light fur and/or pink skin, and keep a particular eye on the tips of their ears, and their nose.
Puppies are not as adept at regulating their own temperatures as adult dogs. Part of this is due to their fur being a little finer, and part of it being that their first summer is their first experience of heat, so their bodies have no frame of reference for it.
Like all dogs, puppies will instinctively seek shade and water when too hot, but they may not start to do this until they’re already overheating, so monitor this carefully.
Overexertion in hot weather can cause overheating and potentially heatstroke very quickly in dogs, and once more some puppies learn this the hard way. Once a dog gets too overheated they may not be able to cool themselves down properly after that point by the usual methods, and as mentioned, puppies will have problems regulating their temperature in general to begin with.
Pups are also not so good at taking a time out for a breather if they’re getting tired and hot, which means you need to ensure your puppy doesn’t overexert themselves in play and place themselves at risk as a result of this.
Puppy paws are more delicate than those of adult paws, which still need proper care in summer but that are harder and more resistant to injury and damage than that of a puppy.
This places them at higher risk of burns from walking on hot surfaces, and of grazes from running and making sharp turns on hard ground.
Flying insects can be appealing for puppies to chase and they will often snap at things buzzing around nearby.
Keep an eye out for this and discourage your puppy from doing it, and look for any signs of bites or distress.
Adult dogs – even those that are not usually very tolerant with other dogs – tend to give puppies far more leeway, as they’re not a threat and because they instinctively recognise a junior member of the pack.
However, hot weather can make some dogs uncomfortable and even irritable, and this can result in their being less tolerant than normal with puppies that disturb them.
Bear this in mind when socialising your puppy, and keep them away from dogs that look too hot or that are having a time out.
Seasonal allergies can develop at any stage of a dog’s life, not just in their first year; but your pup’s first summer might well be the first time that any allergies they might develop manifest.
Keep an eye out for potential allergy symptoms and if you spot any, contact your vet promptly for advice and investigation to get things under control and manageable for your puppy.
Finally, brachycephalic dog breeds like the Shih Tzu with flat faces and short muzzles have additional considerations to bear in mind in the summer, as they’re exponentially more prone to overheating and suffering from heatstroke.
Some dogs are more at risk of this than others depending on the flatness of their faces, and you will learn how things look for your own dog during their first summer, so this is something else that you should monitor carefully.