Our resident partner VSA Certified Professional Dog Trainer & Behavioural Specialist Amelia Steele gives her advice for keeping your dog comfortable with rising temperatures this summer, and how to support seasonal allergies.

As temperatures start to rise, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog. Not only might they feel generally more uncomfortable, but it’s also crucial to know when it is and isn’t safe to go on walks. Here are Amelia’s top tips for helping keep your dog cool and comfortable during the summer months:

1. Help keep your dog cool at home

Firstly, consider creating a few new habits at home, such as keeping the blinds closed to help prevent the sun from heating your home or pointing a fan near your dog’s bed or crate to circulate cool air. A few effective tools you can purchase to help keep your dog comfortable are cooling mats for their bed and bandanas. Bandanas are less likely to be damaged, particularly if your dog is prone to chewing, and still provide cooling relief on hot days. Additionally, providing frozen licky mats or frozen chews can offer refreshing treats that help lower your dog’s body temperature and provide mental stimulation.

For outdoor activities, setting up a paddling pool in the garden can provide a fun and effective way for your dog to cool down. Teaching your dog to find a toy or jump into the water can also encourage them to take advantage of this cooling option.

2. Limit or change walk times

Be cautious about walking your dog, especially if they are larger, older, or overweight. Stick to slow lead walks and promptly end the walk if your dog shows signs of discomfort such as heavy panting, drooling, or generally struggling. Avoid games like fetch or any vigorous exercise when temperatures start to rise.

During the summer months, it can be easier to change your walking routine entirely, try to walk them early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler. As a general rule, after 26°C, it’s best to avoid prolonged time outside altogether. Being aware of safe walking temperatures is essential, and this can vary slightly depending on the breed. If you’re unsure about walking your dog in a certain temperature, it’s always better to double-check. A simple test for street walks is to hold your hand on the pavement; if it’s uncomfortable to keep it there for longer than five seconds, it’s likely too hot for your dog’s paws.

3. Prepare your dog for more distractions

Another common issue during the summer is an increase in reactivity. With better weather, walking routes become busier, exposing dogs to more people and other dogs compared to the winter months. This can lead to excitement or fear reactivity, depending on your dog.

To manage this, I recommend proactively desensitising your dog to new distractions. Spend time training your dog to handle increased activity and noises. This can be as simple as practicing in busier environments, such as pub gardens, town centres or beaches, especially if these are places you plan to visit during the summer.

4. Use herbal support for summer allergies

Summer weather can increase the likelihood of seasonal allergies causing itchy skin and discomfort, leading to increased reactivity and an inability to settle at home.

To minimize this, keep a close eye on your dog during walks and avoid letting them dive through long grassy areas, as grass seeds and tall grass can irritate their skin. Consider using herbal supplements to help manage allergy symptoms, Dorwest’s Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets and Green Releaf® Tablets are effective in boosting immunity and soothing itchy skin.

Additionally, Dorwest offers a 25% discount on all skin products from June 3rd to June 30th, so it’s a good time to stock up on necessary supplies. Being proactive in managing allergies can prevent issues from developing and ensure your dog remains comfortable and well-behaved throughout the season.

Follow us on social @dorwest and @ameliathedogtrainer for more of Amelia’s advice and to learn more about our herbal support for itchy skin this summer!