Summertime worries for your working dog
Summertime is cause for celebration for most of us but for some of our four-legged companions it can bring challenges...
Barley grass awns can be a problem especially for hairy types such as beardies. Any sore ears, inflamed eyes or small weeping wounds (often between the toes) should be investigated immediately. These troublesome seeds can cause a lot of damage and have been found to migrate into the chest, abdomen and even the spine!
Cold winters tend to knock flea numbers for outdoor dogs however, with the changing climate, we have been seeing a lot of flea infestation and flea allergies in last few years. Plagues of fleas can cause anaemia in young pups and can contribute to irritation and ill-thrift in adult dogs. Treatment can be challenging if your dogs get in and out of troughs and waterways a lot! The topical flea products tend to lose efficacy, even those that claim to be water fast. Seresto® collars last eight months and although seemingly pricey, when compared on a per month basis, are a similar cost to topical products. Bravecto® and Nexgard® are oral flea treatments that last 12 and four weeks respectively and aren't affected by the dog getting wet. Finally, DO NOT be tempted to use a spot of cattle pour-on as these can be toxic to dogs, especially collies.
Keep an eye out for sunburn in white nosed dogs. FiltaClear and FiltaBac® are two sunblock options that are safe for use in animals, but keeping it on with the tongue in close proximity can be difficult! Repeated sunburn can predispose to cancers and other skin diseases so is best prevented.
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke (general signs are wobbliness or collapse while working on a hot day or having been left inside a hot vehicle) then try to cool them immediately. If available, pack ice wrapped in towels (NEVER directly onto skin) in their groin and armpits as this is where blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. Alternatively immerse them in cold water or run cold water from a hose over them. They may lose consciousness so avoid getting their head wet, don't try to get them to drink unless they are fully aware and get them to your vet as soon as you can.