It is important to keep your dog cool during hot weather to keep them happy, healthy & reduce the risk of suffering from many different problems that can occur while temperatures rise. Forward planning is the best preparation for a hot day with your pooch!
Here are some of our top tips for enjoying the sun and keeping safe with your furry friends...
Carefully plan your walk, try to avoid taking your dog out when the sun is at its hottest - at midday. The best times to walk you dog when it is cooler is early morning or late evening walks. Also if you feel it is too hot throughout the full day, you do not need to walk your dog at all...it is ok to occasionally miss a walk!
It is always important to ensure your dog has fresh, clean water available where ever you are, even more so during Summer. If you are planning walks or other activities and there is no water where you are going, make sure you always have a bottle of water and a dish for them to have a drink. Water is an essential nutrient that is vital for your dog and while panting, dogs lose plenty of water trying to control their temperature, so fresh readily available water is essential for a sunny day.
Regular grooming will keep any matted/knotted fur away which can trap in heat. We would advise not to clip or shave your dogs yourself as certain dogs fur can also keep them cool and protected in Summer, always take them to a professional groomer if needed.
At most pet shops there is specially formulated sun cream available for your four legged friends as just like us humans, thin coated, hairless and lightly coloured dogs can get burnt in the sun.
Hot surfaces can be fatal to your dogs paws, especially hot tarmac and sometimes even sand, causing burns and blisters. If you place the back of your hand on the surface for at least 3 seconds and it is too hot for you then it is definitely too hot for your dog.
Put down cool mats or if you cant get hold of these lay down damp towels for them to lie on
Ensure there is plenty of shaded areas for them to relax in
keep a small cool pool for them to paddle around in and cool their paws. Dogs can't sweat like us however can sweat from their paws so a paddling pool is a good way to lower the dogs core temperature.
Create a nice breeze for the dog (and you!)
Take your dog for a paddle/swim on your daily walk
Never leave your dog in a hot car. Even if you park in the shade and open all the windows, a car temperature rises rapidly in hot weather as will your dogs as it becomes agitated and uncomfortable.
If you feel it is too hot to walk your dog, perhaps try introducing new complex games that tires the dogs brain rather than physically tiring them out. These could be puzzles such as; sniffle mats with your dogs kibble in, hiding toys around the house for them to find and treat dispensers/interactive toys.
Heat stroke can be fatal in dogs and develops rapidly when the dog can't reduce their core temperature once it is too high. Some of the signs to look out for are:
Lack of coordination
Loss of consciousness
If you think your dog may have heat stroke, you need to act fast as it could be fatal. Take them to a cool area and apply cold soaked towels to their head/neck and chest. Encourage them to have a drink of cool water. Never place them straight into cold water as this could cause shock which can also be fatal.
Always contact your vet if you suspect your dog has heatstroke.