Tag Archives: taking care of your dog in the summer

Dogs and grass seeds

I seem to have read quite a lot recently about dogs and grass seeds; a fair amount of people have been mentioning this on social media groups too. For example if someone says their dog keeps shaking their head or limping, others suggest checking for grass seeds.

So what is this all about and what do grass seeds look like?

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really aware of the problems that can escalate when a dog has picked up a grass seed until fairly recently – the power of social media certainly does have it’s advantages – so does Google! After a walk through a field with long grass our dogs had quite a lot of ‘sticky buds’ on their ears which necessitated me checking them all over. Well I am glad that I did, Duke had no less than 30 grass seeds attached to different parts of his body.

The places I found them were in between his toes, behind his ears and underneath his arm pits. The grass seeds are quite sharp and actually quite big so you can feel them fairly easily. A couple had actually pierced his skin and needed careful extraction. I did take him to the vets afterwards to make sure I had managed to remove them all – thankfully I had.

Grass seeds are more of a problem during the summer months and not surprisingly can easily get attached to your dog while having a meander through the countryside. Dogs such as springer spaniels, cocker spaniels and cockerpoos are more prone to getting grass seeds stuck on them because they have feathery feet and floppy ears – and let’s be honest they are the type of dogs who will bound through a field of long grass, or wheat, barley or corn or whatever is growing!

They can cause serious problems when they pierce the skin because in rare cases they can travel through the body. They can also cause intense irritation in their paws, up their noses or in their ears.

Behaviour your dog may display could include:

Paws – limping, licking paws

Ears – violent and sudden shaking of the head or pawing at their ears

Nose – sudden violent sneezing

My advice would be to check your dog after every walk, particularly if you have walked through a field or if your dog has medium to long fur. You will feel the seeds because they are hard and sharp and then hopefully you can pull them out their fur without them causing any further problems.

If your dog does seem irritated and is constantly shaking their head for no obvious reason or their paws are red or sore, or you have any other concerns, please contact your vet.

Keeping your dogs cool in the heat

Today in Surrey the temperature is 31 degrees and I’ll be honest, I love a little sit out in the sun, but it’s too hot for me today. The heat is pretty stifling and it’s so muggy. Walking outside it just feels like someone is waving a constant hairdryer around. Later in the week the temperature is set to rise to 37…

We can choose what we do in this heat but our dogs are fairly reliant on us. They can’t decide if they want to go out for a walk or an outing as we make those decisions for them. They rely on us to make the right choices to keep them safe and here are a few points to consider as a responsible dog owner.

Don’t take your dog out for a walk in very hot weather. Physical exertion can make them more prone to heatstroke and the pavements will also be hot and burn their paws. Think about how hot it feels when you walk bare-footed across hot pavements. Adapt your routine and take them for a walk early in the morning before the sun has had a chance to heat up the pavements, or alternatively go for a stroll later in the evening when it has cooled down.

It is imperative to make sure they have plenty of fresh cool water, they will want to drink more than usual so ensure their water bowl is always full.

It’s common sense but never ever leave your dog alone in a car, the temperature will reach ridiculous levels very quickly and can cause dangerous heatstroke. By the way did you know that if you see a dog left in a car in the UK, particularly if it looks like it is suffering from the heat and you are unable find the owner of the vehicle, you should phone 999.

Take heed from that well loved Beatles song and let them be, leave them to laze around, preferably in the shade or indoors with a fan blowing to try and keep them cool. Definitely keep them out of the sun at the hottest time, between 11am and 3pm.

Don’t give them ice cubes to eat – it might seem like you are helping them out but their body will over compensate because it will initially feel it is too cold and heat them up even more. Dogs already have their own built in mechanism of panting to cool down and releasing heat through their nose and paws and they should be able to do this if they are not in extreme heat.

Heatstroke is extremely dangerous for dogs and can happen very quickly. If your dog shows any signs of heat stroke such as excessive panting, agitation, increased heart rate, drooling or extreme lethargy, make sure they are in a cool place and contact your vet immediately.