Home Life Style I’m a veterinarian and here I show you how to keep your dog safe in warmer weather and which breeds are most at risk of getting sick.

I’m a veterinarian and here I show you how to keep your dog safe in warmer weather and which breeds are most at risk of getting sick.

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As the nation prepares for warmer, sunnier days ahead, dog owners are being warned not to leave their furry friends out in the sun for too long (file image)

As the country prepares for warmer, sunnier days ahead, dog owners are being warned not to leave their furry friends out in the sun for too long.

This timely reminder from Everypaw Pet Insurance’s in-house veterinarian, Dr. Anna Foreman, comes during Sun Awareness Week, May 6-13, as concerns about canine sunburn continue to rise. and related problems.

According to recent data from Everypaw, online searches for “dog nose sunburn” have increased by a staggering 200% in the last three months alone, while interest in “dog sunscreen” has skyrocketed by a 175% during the same period.

Dr. Foreman warns that medium-sized dogs, in particular, face an elevated risk of developing cancer compared to their larger or smaller counterparts, with flat-coated retrievers being one of the breeds identified with the highest mortality rates. higher.

She said: ‘Dogs like sunbathing for the same reasons we do – to enjoy the warmth and bright light! However, just like us, dogs can suffer sunburn and heatstroke if they are exposed to the sun for an excessive period of time.’

As awareness grows among pet owners about the risks of sun exposure to their canine companions, read on to find out how to keep your dog safe from the sun.

As the nation prepares for warmer, sunnier days ahead, dog owners are being warned not to leave their furry friends out in the sun for too long (file image)

How long should dogs be allowed in the sun?

According to Dr. Foreman, dogs should be limited to sunbathing for a maximum of 45 minutes to an hour when the sun is particularly intense, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It is much safer for dogs to exercise or walk on cooler mornings before 8 a.m. or in the evenings after 8 p.m.

It is generally considered safe to walk your dog in temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, although obese, large or flat-faced breeds, as well as those with other health conditions, should be closely monitored during hot weather.

Extreme caution should be used when exercising any animal to any degree in temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius, as it will be at risk of heat stroke.

It is recommended to always make sure you have a bowl of fresh water available, as well as a shady place for your dog to escape in case it gets too hot outside; They may also benefit from a “pool” of clean, cool water or a cool rug. also.

Dogs with respiratory problems, such as pugs, French bulldogs and shih tzus, or those suffering from respiratory illnesses, should not be allowed to lie out in the sun at all, as the need to pant to cool off can put pressure on the airways as well. committed.

What are the dangers of dogs spending too much time in the sun?

One of the biggest dangers for dogs that are exposed to the sun for too long is heat stroke, in which the internal body temperature rises above 39.2 degrees Celsius due to external heat.

Brachycephalic breeds, such as pugs and French bulldogs, are especially prone to heat stroke, while older dogs, as well as those with underlying health problems, do not tolerate heat as well as younger, healthier ones.

Another risk associated with sun exposure in dogs is sunburn, especially among those with poorly pigmented skin, pink noses or ear tips, or a thin coat.

These breeds also have a higher risk of developing skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma, which can lead to the need to remove the ear flaps (pinnae), which can be very invasive.

Meanwhile, tumors in the nose are very difficult to remove in their entirety due to the tight skin and close association with the bone and cartilage of the skull.

Sidewalks are another risk to a dog’s health when outside in hot weather, as they can burn their paws during walks.

Dr. Foreman says, “If a pavement is too hot for us to put the back of our hand on for five seconds, it’s also too hot for our dog’s paws.”

How can I tell if my dog ​​is sunburned and what should I do?

According to Dr. Foreman, a dog’s sunburn will be similar to ours, which can likely develop into tender, pink skin that may blister.

If a physical heat burn is observed, dog owners are urged to seek advice from their veterinarian.

In the meantime, cooling the area by running cold water over it may relieve some of the pain.

Like humans, animals can get sunburned if their skin is exposed to the sun without protection, so sunscreen specifically for animals (not humans) should be applied before going outside.

How can I keep my dogs and other pets safe from the sun?

Dr. Foreman has recommended the following:

  • Provide shady areas and cool surfaces for animals to rest.
  • Check the pavement temperature before walking a dog in the sun.
  • Make sure dogs always have clean, fresh drinking water available when out in the sun to prevent dehydration.
  • Ensure that dogs with breathing difficulties are discouraged from being exposed to direct sun.
  • Prevention is the best cure; In animals, this is achieved with sunscreen and limiting sun exposure. Sunscreen for humans is not suitable for animal use due to the chemicals it contains, so only one specific for animals should be used.
  • Be sure to monitor the environmental temperature of animals housed outdoors in enclosures; Enclosed spaces can become even hotter than the air temperature with direct sun exposure.

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