Most people know that you should never leave a dog in a car on a hot day, but 48% of people still think it is fine to leave a dog if counter measures are taken such as if the windows are open, or you have parked in the shade. This is simply not the case. You should never leave a dog in a car on a sunny day, its just too risky. Even on a day where the outside temperate is only 21 degrees, the inside temperature can rocket to 31 in just 10 minutes. If you can't take them where you are going you should leave them at home, or make alternative arrangements. Below is some links to some amazing websites where you can find doggy friendly beaches, hotels and best of all restaurants! If you need some alone time, there are also details for dog walkers, boarders and day care. Why not give them a summer holiday too?
Dotty 4 Paws Dog Directory - Dog Walkers & Sitters (and much more!)
Dog Friendly Cottages &Hotels
Dogs Allowed Card - Gives you discount at dog friendly restaurants & Cafes
Okay so, we've covered cars.... so what about walking? Well, dogs will be grateful that in the summer months, the sunshine and lack of rain (we can be hopeful right?) will mean long rambling strolls in the countryside. While of course, we recommend everyone get out with their dogs, some of us don't always have rural places they can go to stretch their legs, and herin lies the problem... tarmac. Pavements and roads are normally black or grey, and therefore absorb heat. When it's sunny and the air temperature is 30 degrees, the road temperature can reach over 57 degrees... thats enough to fry an egg in just 5 minutes!
When it's this hot, try opting for early mornings or late evenings when the sun has gone down to go for a stroll, or make sure you stick to grassy areas where the ground temperature is much cooler.
A handy test to see its too hot - try holding the back of your hand firmly against the pavement. If you can't hold it there for 5-7 seconds, its too hot for your dog!
Hot dogs should be for the BBQ only, and its important to make sure that your dog is coping with the heat in the summer months. Dogs do like to sunbathe, but its up to us to make sure that they have access to cool shady places as well as fresh water at all times. Signs that your dog has over done it in the sun include:
There are some great natural products for keeping your dog's safe in the sun, or for a little bit of TLC if they have caught it a bit too much! We have linked some of our favourites below.
Natural Dog Company - Snout Soother
Snout Soother is intentionally developed to be scent-free because dogs do not like scents the way humans do! Protect your dog’s nose from sunburn with the natural SPF benefits. Snout Soother works much better and faster than coconut oil!
Dog & I - Nose, Skin & Paw Balm
A natural, lightly scented moisturising dog skin balm which is perfect for dry noses, sore and cracked paw paws, callouses, hot spots or in fact... anywhere on your dog that needs a bit of TLC. Handmade and all natural with no nasties. Safe to lick!
Contains hemp, lavender and peppermint oils.
Hownd - Playful Pup Skin, Nose & Paw Balm
HOWND SKIN, NOSE & PAW Balms protect, soothe and moisturise all year round! They are 100% vegan, unscented, fast-absorbing and natural. The balms can be used in the summer months to protect the snout and outer ear areas from UVA and UVB rays, as well as any exposed skin; and in the winter period to protect a dog’s soft pads on ice and salted pavements.
The first few weeks were tricky, while I had had family dogs in the past (both Westies!) I had never owned a Collie. My partner had; he had grown up with them as a kid. The only problem being that when your young, your childhood furry best friend can do no wrong. You remember that they (we miss you Jack!) were the BEST dog ever; they never chewed anything, they never dug, they never ate things they shouldn't and they would spin on a sixpence to heel if you so much as coughed in their direction... Yeah right. (He actually had a wonderful habit of herding lorries, but y'know...we won't mention that.)
I'm not afraid to say that there were definitely tears that first month. Not having kids, he was the biggest responsibility in my life. Literally, less than 72 hours in, we were at the vets, after Winston had decided that he wanted to help turn over the flower beds and found a lovely daffodil bulb as an afternoon snack. Those of you that aren't aware, most bulbs are extremely poisonous to dogs - I google'd it and completely freaked out.
Unfortunately (and fortunately!) Winston is extremely car sick so didn't quite make it to the vets without emptying his tummy on the way. So by the time we got to the vets and they said we need to make him sick, I confessed that he had already done so. (three times...) They gave us some charcoal to add to his dinner and reassured us that he would be fine. Fortunately, he has lost his appetite for al fresco dining.
The vet also highlighted to us that he wasn't in great condition - I was mortified by this. how had I not noticed? I mean, he was seriously skinny which we were addressing, but I hadn't noticed anything else. They recommended changing his diet (to another commercial brand) and seeing him again in 6 months.
As soon as I got home I began researching - could it be allergies? could it be a wheat intolerance? could it be this or that. I had zero idea about the complexities of dog nutrition and it became my mission to understand.
As a complete novice www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk was a bible. Rating foods by country, ingredients and quality, it became the holy grail of information on which to base my research.
A documentary called Pet Fooled also highlighted the horrors of the commercial pet industry, the poor and misleading nature of packaging, and the damaging effects that commercially produced food had on our pets really opened my eyes. Its currently showing on Netflix and I encourage you to take. a peek.
Aside from the marketing spiel, it poses an extremely interesting argument for the cost of high quality food vs veterinary care for your pet from illnesses caused by poor diet. Food for thought indeed.
Watch Pet Fooled on Netflix
From these two sources, along with countless others, I came to a conclusion. The best diet for dogs is raw food. They benefit from clean ingredients that are free from sugar, preservatives and a variety of other chemicals. It is also highly biologically appropriate.
Now while I feel that this may be the best diet for dogs, I also acknowledge that this is not always feasible. Winston is not raw fed for a variety of reasons - one being on the few attempts we had at trying to raw feed him, we ended up with beef lips and duck necks being thrown around the house and trust me - you really don't want these on your carpets! He does still get the odd beef rib bone (always raw, never cooked!) which is great for cleaning his teeth.
So we compromised - Winston's current diet consists of a mixture of 100% natural wet food (Forthglade), and 80/20 kibble. (Akela) Both made in the UK - both with science behind them to try and preserve as many of the nutrients as possible.
His skin is amazing, his coat glossy. His gut - MUCH better. The only downside? He has lots more energy too! And lets be honest - we all know you don't need to turbo charge a collie.
All of this research left me with a whole host of brands that I just wanted to shout about. Amazing independent brands that cared deeply about the quality, traceability and nutrition behind their products. It really excited me to find people that shared my own values and beliefs when it came to providing the best for your pets.
That’s why I created Collar Club. A subscription box for dogs containing only natural treats and safe, non toxic toys.
Our dogs deserve the best. At the end of the day they can't (and won't) protest to the food they are given. We make the choices for them and I believe that we owe it to them to make considerate choices. Every dog deserves food and treats that not only taste great, but make them feel good too.