What influences do I need to be aware of in Summer?
- Grass Seeds
- Farmers Fields
The hot summer weather causes roads and pavements to heat up. This can often be unnoticed due to us wearing shoes frequently. For dogs this can be extremely dangerous. Dogs love walking and most love making us happy, so often they will join for walks without and hesitation and can seem happy. Without you noticing those paws could be burns and blistering. Which you often will not notice until the dog is limping and then in a lot of pain. Its is important to be aware of the ground and to check if it may be too hot. If it is over 20 degrees makes sure you are checking the heat of the ground and the dogs paws.
Along with heat means there is less moisture in the environment, like dew on the ground or streams. This lack of moisture cause your dogs paws to become drying and even crack. By checking them you can keep your dogs paws hydrated with things like paw moisture.
Arachnids can irritate your dogs, a great hiding place is in-between your dog's pads. Two common arachnids are ticks and harvest mites. Wait, Arachnids? Harvest mites? Ticks? Yes, both of these are actually related to spiders!
If a dog has a tick (or more) they don't always make the dog itch. The best way to know if they have one is by checking. Ticks can be really dangerous as they can carry Lyme's-Disease. The quicker you notice a tick and get it out the better.
If your dog has really itchy feet it may be a sign of harvest mites, especially if you've walked by a field recently cut by the farmers. Sometime you can even see the harvest mites as orange flecks in-between the toes on the top of the dog's foot. Harvest mites are really uncomfortable to the dog due to how much it makes them itch. They can be passed onto humans.
Are not fun. They are tiny and bury themselves into the dog's skin. From here they can work themselves around the dogs' body. In some of the worst cases grass seeds can be life threatening as they can bury into the lungs.
They are commonly found on dog's feet by attaching themselves to the fur around the feet. Then then travel closer to the dogs skin and can go through soft tissue which can cause infection.
Signs of grass seeds in the paws include your dogs to lick their paws more, limp or look like they are in pain. If you check the paws often you may notice the grass seed before it's reached the skin, in which you can take it out before it makes your dog uncomfortable. Another sign you can look for are puncture hole, it may be a sign of a grass seed entering the dog's skin.
Farmer fields can cause more problems than most expect. What could be nicer than a walk around a field in the countryside? Unknown to anyone but the farmer they may have sprayed these fields. These chemicals can be absorbed by the skin or even ingested if your dog licks their paws. These can have seriously harmful effects on your dog, potentially some are even deadly.
Allergies can be anytime of the year but specifically for summer dogs can be irritated by pollen allergies. By checking the paws for any skin changes will help notice allergies as these can often present themselves as red/rashy spots on the paws. If you notice these the vet is the best person to go to as they can identify the allergy and a cause of treatment can be planned.
How Can I Care for Paws During Summer?
There are many ways that you can care for dogs paws. We always recommend speaking to experts to assist you with your choices.
Care items to consider include boots, moisturiser, washing off paws after a walk, feeding local honey to aid pollen allergies.
It is also recommended when the ground is too hot not to walk your dog, try to find a cooler time or shaded areas to avoid burning but also avoid over-heating.
Real Life Story
Thank you to Cristina and Emily for their help on this blog.
Cristina has an amazing book out that helps those new to owning dogs: www.newpetparent.com/
Emily is from Emily’s Canine Crew