Are Whippets and the dangers of summer a reality? In fact, with summer, traps are everywhere around us. All too often, we forget the risks we put our Whippets at without realizing it. And accidents do happen, unfortunately.
My whippet is predominantly black, and I know only too well that the dangers of the warmer season are not to be underestimated! And you’re no different. So, a little revision won’t do any harm. In short, let’s look at the possible threats posed by the warmer weather. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:
First and foremost, when we think of summer, we think of heat and, above all, dehydration. Whippets are particularly sensitive to dehydration. So, make sure you keep your Whippet hydrated throughout the day. And in this case, all means are good. In the house, make sure his bowl is always full of fresh water.
So, when you go for a walk, always remember to take water and a collapsible bowl with you. This way, your Whippet will be able to quench his thirst regularly.
Of course, even if it seems obvious, never go out during the hottest part of the day. It’s best to go for a walk in the cool of the morning or in the evening. Temperatures are milder then.
And for ‘camel’ Whippets, yes, you know, the ones that never want to drink… Even when it’s hot and their tongues are hanging out! My Pimprenelle is one of them. So, I know a thing or two about them 🤣You must outsmart them!
- Don’t hesitate to « wet » your Whippet’s bowl. You can mix it all together if he prefers. And believe me, he’ll eat it no matter what!
- Give him ice cubes too. You can make some with vegetable or chicken stock, it’s even more popular 😉
- Frozen peas to throw into the water bowl are also a good alternative.
- But also think about radishes, cucumber, cherry tomatoes or even pieces of mango, cubes of watermelon or melon.
- You can also freeze them to make refreshing treats.
- Finally, a little goat’s milk is often appreciated.
2. Heat stroke:
It’s a bit like dehydration, but even more serious. In fact, heatstroke is a veterinary emergency.
Whippets, like all dogs, do not sweat but pant to regulate their temperature. In the event of saturation, your Whippet is in distress.
So, we can’t stress this enough: never leave your Whippet locked up in a car, even in the shade, even with the windows ajar. A dog’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult human. In fact, in less than 10 minutes in a car, the temperature can become fatal for your Whippet!
If, despite everything, your Whippet does suffer from heatstroke, cool him down very gradually. The aim is to lower his body temperature as gently as possible.
Never throw cold water on an overheated Whippet. Never put a towel wet with cold water on him. This is because the veins contract with the cold. As for the blood, it thickens due to the high temperature. The combination of these two effects means that the heart is no longer able to pump blood and the organs shut down one after the other for lack of oxygen.
The best way to do this is to start by drinking lukewarm water. Then cool the soles of the feet, the chest, and the lower abdomen with a damp towel. Then place the dog in the shade on a damp towel. Finally, rush to the nearest vet.
Whippets’ thin skin is very sensitive to sunburn. Prolonged exposure to the sun sometimes causes burns. Occasionally, it even encourages the development of skin cancer.
So, when the sun is shining, any exposed area of skin on your Whippet’s body is at risk of sunburn. Even if his fur protects a good part of his body, all exposed parts of his body are at risk of burning.
So, remember to protect your Whippet from the dangers of sun exposure. Use a sun cream. And of course, never our sun cream! Even if it’s organic, hypoallergenic, or suitable for all skin types. In fact, these sun creams are specifically designed for animals. They are, of course, safe for dogs and for our Whippets. They have an effective high-protection screen for areas such as the ears, nose, tummy, and paws.
Speaking of paws, beware of concrete or asphalt floors! When your Whippet plays on grass and runs on hard ground afterwards, it runs a high risk of burning its paw pads.
This is because hard surfaces such as paving stones, concrete or asphalt are much hotter than the surrounding air. So, the risk of burns is predominant. So, when it’s hot and the sun is shining, don’t forget:
- If it’s too painful to place your hand on the ground for 7 seconds, then it’s also too painful for your Whippet to walk on it.
- Walk your Whippet early in the morning or later in the evening when the weather is milder.
- Try to give preference to walks on cooler natural grass.
- Never let your Whippet run at the hottest times of the day.
As an illustration and to complete this information, here’s a little chart…
4. Seaweed poisoning:
Although summer is often synonymous with swimming, beware of algae!
Whether blue or green, they can be very dangerous for your Whippet.
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are toxic to dogs. These algae are present on the surface of stagnant water in streams in summer. They give the water a very intense blue green color. When they agglutinate on the banks, their color becomes darker, black brown. They then give off an odor that, unfortunately, attracts our pooches. And that’s where the danger lies, because these « fake » algae, which are micro-organisms, secrete extremely dangerous toxins. They paralyze the respiratory muscles and cause neurological disorders.
So, if your Whippet drinks contaminated water, plays on banks covered in blue-green algae and ingests it, it will very quickly drool, vomit, and go into convulsions. It will quickly become paralyzed and fall into a coma. Sometimes death occurs very quickly. So, it’s not something to be taken lightly.
We’ve known about the dangers of green algae for some time now. Once they have washed up on beaches, the massive deposits of green algae cause them to decompose, releasing large quantities of gas, in particular hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Not only do these gases cause odor nuisance, but they are also synonymous with serious health problems and are the cause of fatal poisoning in dogs. So swimming is fine but be very careful. Learn to recognize algae and the dangers it regularly poses. In rivers, always check that the water is safe before letting your Whippet soak in it. And at the beach, avoid clumps of algae.
5. Insect bites:
In summer, we like to enjoy the good weather and warmth. Bad news: so, do insects and parasites!
Unfortunately, our brave Whippets can’t escape them. Just like us, they suffer! Insect bites can cause severe pain.
So, let’s look at the most common bites:
- Wasps or hornets: they cause sharp pain in the stung area, inflammation, itching and redness.
- Bees: their inoculations generally cause a circle with a red outline. The sting generally remains in your Whippet’s skin.
- Mosquitoes: you can recognize their bites by their red edges, which may swell in the center. They are very itchy.
- Horseflies: their bites cause swelling and redness.
- Spiders: their bites cause itching and swelling of the skin.
- Ticks: it’s simple, the insect stays inside your Whippet’s skin (https://passion-whippet.com/ticks-on-whippets/).
- Fleas: easy to recognize. They are red patches.
- Clover mites: scabs form in places where the skin is thin and warm. This makes your Whippet very itchy.
Insect bites are benign, except for ticks.
If necessary, remove ticks, stings, or other insect bites in an appropriate manner. Then disinfect thoroughly. Then apply pure aloe vera to relieve itching and redness. A mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda will also do the trick.
Then keep an eye on your Whippet. And if complications arise, consult your vet. As well as piroplasmosis or Lyme disease transmitted by ticks, you shouldn’t overlook the risk of allergies or other conditions.
6. Snake bites:
Snake bites are more common in the summer months. So be careful! Our Whippets are dogs who are curious about everything. And garter snakes, vipers and other snakes that are caught sleeping usually attack. Their bite is very painful. Your Whippet will often cry out. Bites generally occur on the legs or muzzle.
If your Whippet has been bitten, don’t delay! Take him straight to a vet and keep him as still as possible. Everything depends on the dose of venom injected. There is a rapid progression from a local risk when the dose is low, to a life-threatening emergency when the dose is high. And only a professional will be able to quickly determine the measures to be taken in all cases. In addition, always bear in mind the possible risks of serious allergies, coagulation problems and cardiac complications.
7. Risks associated with plants:
In summer, our Whippets often romp more freely in nature. Once again, be careful!
Whether in our gardens or in the great outdoors, plants are beautiful, but they are also synonymous with new dangers. So, let’s make sure these walks don’t end up in the vet’s surgery or worse!
In the fields:
As a reminder, fields are sprayed with fertilizers, pesticides and other products that are dangerous for humans, and even more so for our Whippets.
So be careful, whether you’re in the city or the countryside. Don’t let your Whippet roam the fields, especially early in the morning when the dew is still present. That’s when the products sprayed on the plants are the most toxic for our animals. Choose the paths, which are less dangerous.
For information, the crops most at risk are generally wheat, maize, and vegetables. If a tractor can pass over them, the danger is significant, as the fields can be treated. When the planes are higher and the tractor can no longer pass over them, the danger diminishes.
The other threat to our nosy Whippets is the spikelet or foxtail. This is a small spike that comes off the stem of a plant as it dries. It then clings to the dog’s coat. It often penetrates through an orifice (ear, nostril, vulva of females or sheath of males) or in folds (eyelids, between the fingers…) or simply under your Whippet’s skin.
Once incised, the spikelets can travel. They are almost impossible to remove without consulting a specialist. They cause infections and abscesses and are sometimes very painful for your Whippet. Their presence in your dog’s body is very serious and often requires surgery.
So, inspect your Whippet regularly to remove any spikes caught in its coat or elsewhere, and get to the vet quickly if it’s a more serious case.
In the garden:
You should also be careful about the products used in your gardens. Slug pellets and rat poison are highly toxic to your Whippet. And there are many others. Avoid using them as much as possible. Lastly, some ornamental plants are veritable poisons for our Whippets (https://passion-whippet.com/toxic-food-and-plants-for-whippets/).
In all cases, keep an eye on your doggies. And if you notice an unusual change in their behaviour (loss of appetite, drop in energy, incomprehensible tiredness, etc.) or if more serious symptoms appear (drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, etc.), go straight to your nearest vet!
After all that, if you don’t panic, you’re the best master of all! All kidding aside, you’ve been warned!
So what? All this information proves that Whippets and the dangers of summer are a reality. Never underestimate the dangers of summer for your Whippet. Remain cautious and attentive. Avoid dehydration and heatstroke. Eliminate the risk of burns. Banish any danger of algae poisoning near water. As for the rest, insect bites, snake bites or plant-related risks, be vigilant and keep a close eye on your Whippets. Never hesitate to seek medical advice if you have the slightest doubt.
And now, enjoy your summer, but be careful!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. A reminder never hurts, does it? Don’t hesitate to share in moderation, it could always be useful to someone else!
And if you and your Whippet have experienced a « risky » situation, don’t hesitate to tell me about it.
- “Summer dangers” – The Kennel Club: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/health-and-care/a-z-of-health-and-care-issues/summer-dangers/
- “Summer hazards for pets” – pdsa: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/what-we-do/blog/summer-hazards-for-pets
- “Dehydration in dogs, what are the signs and symptoms?” – Vets Now: https://www.vets-now.com/pet-care-advice/dehydration-in-dogs/
- “How Hot Is Too Hot? Heatstroke in Dogs” – American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/heatstroke-in-dogs/
- “Can dogs get sunburned?” – VetWest: https://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/sunburn-and-your-dog
- “Blue-green algae poisoning: Cyanobacteria toxicosis” – Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/blue-green-algae-poisoning-cyanobacteria-toxicosis
- “A Guide To Snake Bites On Dogs (symptoms, signs and treatment)” – Animal Emergency Service: https://animalemergencyservice.com.au/blog/a-guide-to-snake-bites-on-dogs/
- “Grass spikes and grass awns … your dogs’ summer nightmare” – Maddie’s Dog Academy: https://www.maddiesdogacademy.com/post/grass-spikes-and-grass-awns-your-dogs-summer-nightmare