Dog owners issued summer warning over key dangers to look out for on walks

Whether your dog loves the beach or the field, it's important to know the dangers
Whether your dog loves the beach or the field, it's important to know the dangers -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Dog owners have been warned to be vigilant of things that could threaten their pet's health as the weather warms up.

While the summer months are a great time to get out and about with your four-legged friends, whether you're heading down to the beach or going on long walks in the countryside, there are also some dangers to be on the lookout for. From hot temperatures to toxic substances, the great outdoors can pose serious health risks to our dogs that it's our responsibility as owners to be aware of - and with this in mind, The Kennel Club has some helpful advice to follow.

Firstly, if you take your dog out for a walk in your neighbourhood this summer, it's worth checking the temperature of the pavement before you set off. While the weather may not feel too warm at the minute, temperatures can quickly climb as we head into June, July and August - and tarmac and paving slabs can absorb heat from the sun very quickly, making them significantly hotter than the air or grass around them.

For this reason, it's important to check any paved surfaces - and you can do this by placing the back of your hand on them for seven seconds. If you find it too hot to hold your hand in place for this length of time, that means it's too hot for your dog's paws and they are at risk of burns.

You may decide to take your dog out for a run in a grassy area instead - but while fields and woodlands are a haven for sights and smells, they aren't without their own risks. Grass seeds have an arrowhead shape which can bury into your pet's skin, particularly if they have longer fur, causing itching, pain and sometimes infections.

The Kennel Club advises checking your dog's coat and skin thoroughly after each walk for any seeds or pests that may have clung onto them, and keeping a lookout for any signs of itching or head scratching indicating that something is bothering them. If you suspect that a grass seed is to blame, it's best to get in touch with your vet who can remove it properly and prescribe medicine if needed.

Another popular destination for dog owners is of course the beach - and if your pup can't get enough of splashing in the sea, there's yet another safety element to bear in mind. Swallowing sea water can lead to salt poisoning, so ensure you prevent them from doing this where possible, and have plenty of fresh water to hand for them to drink which will help dilute any sea water they swallow.

Just like people, dogs are prone to sunburn, particularly if they have pale or thin fur, so ensure you find shaded spots for them to sit - you can also buy sunscreen specially formulated for dogs to dab on their nose and ears. After a trip to the beach, it's also worth making sure you give your pet a thorough rinse to get any salt off their fur and paws, which can lead to skin irritation.

And finally, many owners may have heard about the dangers of blue-green algae, which can be found in many types of water in the UK including ponds, lakes and streams, particularly during hot and sunny periods. This algae produces harmful toxins that can cause serious symptoms in both humans and animals, leading to the likes of vomiting and diarrhoea, breathing problems, and liver and kidney impairment, which can prove fatal.

Keep an eye out for warning signs near bodies of water, or for any changes in colour of the water which could indicate the algae is present - it can be red, brown or even black in colour as well as blue-green, and the water may sometimes smell musty or earthy. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to the algae, then contact a vet immediately, the Kennel Club urges.