While the temperature is soaring playing in the water can be a great way to cool down with your dog but we want you to be aware of some of the dangers that may be lurking.
Ear infections – dogs are quite prone to getting ear infections after swimming, especially if they have floppy ears. A wet, warm ear canal is the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. It is always a good idea to dry your dog’s ears after swimming and water play. For dogs that have a history of ear infections it may also be a good idea to use an ear cleaner that is recommended by your veterinarian.
Hot spots – Thick wet hair and mats can trap moisture against the skin and cause skin irritation. This by itself can lead to a skin infection or even worse, a dog follows his natural instinct and cannot stop licking the irritated spot. Once he has licked the hair and skin surface off it becomes an area of moist pyotraumatic dermatitis, a nasty infected hot spot. These lesions generally require medical care and antibiotics. A good preventative measure involves towel drying of your dog’s hair coat and checking for clumps of hair and mats. If your dog has a long or dense hair coat, consider a summer haircut.
Drowning – not all dogs can swim. It required good instinct and the correct body shape. There are now several popular breeds, such as bulldogs and pugs, that are just too barrel chested and front heavy to be good swimmers. Always supervise you dog near water and if an accident should occur, do not hesitate to get emergency medical care for your pooch. Even a brief near drowning can have severe health consequences.
Sunburn – this one does not need to involve water but it goes along with outdoor summer fun. Any area of a dog or cat that has a thin hair coat or white hair is susceptible to sunburn. This may be the face, ear tips, back or even the belly of dogs who like to lounge in the sun. Repeated sunburns can lead to skin cancer. This is easily prevented with sunblock. Most formulations for kids are also fine for dogs and cats.