Summer is finally upon us and with a heatwave this week, here are some helpful tips on how you can help your dog keep cool and safe in the coming months.
Dogs cool themselves through their tongues (panting) and the pads of their feet, so heat can build up quickly. Dogs don't sweat like we do and as a result they can overheat much more quickly. So if your dog is panting, their tongue is hanging out, drooling excessively or looking lethargic then these are signs of an overheated dog and signs of dehydration. Don’t forget, if the ground is warm, then dogs cannot cool down through their feet and dogs with darker coats will also absorb more heat than lighter coats. Hairy dogs, short nosed dogs and young and old dogs are more vulnerable to heat.
Dogs can succumb to heat stroke without shade, ventilation and water as well as after vigorous exercise or over excitement. So here are some factors to consider during the hot weather......Prevention is better than cure, so stay cool.
Avoid Car Travel and Avoid Confined Spaces
It is well known that dogs should not be left alone in cars at any time. You should NEVER leave your dog unaccompanied in a car on a warm or hot day, even if parked in the shade with the windows down. The inside of a car can quickly become like an oven, reaching up to 47℃ within the hour, even if outside only feels warm.
As dogs can only sweat through their paws and nose and have thick, insulating coats, their bodies cannot adapt and therefore can succumb to heatstroke in a matter of minutes, even when the car is out of direct sunlight. Other confined spaces to be avoided are conservatories, greenhouses and caravans which can often have the same effect.
If you ever see a dog in distress inside a car then dial 999.
Keep on top of grooming
Imagine being in this hot weather and having a thick fur coat on all the time that you cannot take off - this is what it is like for your dog! Excess hair will only insulate your dog further so ensure they are frequently brushed. If they have long hair, having it clipped will help hugely.
You can view our range of all-natural grooming accessories here.
You like ice lollies when it's hot, right? Well, when the weather is hot, you can also make some cooling ice pops for your pooch. You can buy them ready-made or make them yourself. Dr Karen Becker wrote an excellent article on how to do this, which you can view here.
Also, fruits and vegetables make great, healthy and inexpensive treats for your dogs. Here are a few ideas for the occasional refreshing treat:
- Carrots - contain vitamins A, C, potassium and fibre. Washed, frozen whole carrots are great for your dog to chew on, or cut into slices and freeze. These are excellent for teething puppies, help sooth gums and cool down your pooch. Always supervise and make sure it is size appropriate.
- Green beans - also a great source of fibre, vitamins C, K and magnesium. Dogs love them when frozen!
- Sweet potato - sliced and frozen is a cooling, crunchy, low calorie snack for your dog that is high in fibre and many other vitamins.
- Apples - a healthy treat containing many anti-oxidants and fibre. A slice of apple can be frozen for a healthy summer treat. Ensure that the apple is cored, size appropriate and the stem and pips are removed.
- Banana - cut a peeled banana into slices of approximately 2.5cms and freeze to give your dog a refreshing treat that contains vitamins, minerals and fibers. Ensure size appropriate.
- Watermelon - a lovely, refreshing treat for both you and your dog. Slice into chunks suitable for your dogs size and try and remove as many seeds as possible. Skin not edible for pooches.
Adapt your dogs exercise regime
Going on long walks increases your dogs body temperature and can cause overheating and heatstroke. Finding a shady spot in the garden also isn't always enough to keep their temperature under control. So only exercise your dog in the early morning and late evening when cooler and keep your dog inside and cool during the hottest part of the day. Make sure your dog has access to a cool room or a cool tiled floor.
When you do go out for a walk on a sunny day, the pavements can be scorching hot and this can quickly burn your dogs delicate paws – like us walking outside without any shoes on. As a test, rest the back of your hand on the pavement and hold it for five seconds. If it is too hot to do this, it is also too hot for your dog to walk on so find an alternative route. To help protect your dogs paws during the hot weather, view our range of paw balms that add an extra layer of protection to help protect your dogs sensitive paw pads on a hot day.
Alternatively go swimming - which is great exercise and good for the joints!
Keep them hydrated
You need to ensure fresh, cool water is always available to your dog when the weather is hot, so that they do not become dehydrated. Dogs sweat like humans and therefore can quickly become dehydrated. When you're out and about, try our H20K9 water bottles or Beco Collapsible Travel Bowl, to ensure your dog has access to water at any time of the day.
Top tip - try adding ice cubes to your dogs water bowl for added effect.
Read more about this in our 'Keep your Dog Hydrated this Summer with Dog Water Bottles' blog….
Keep them cool
Try various methods that can keep your dogs temperature down. A fan is a good way to reduce your dogs temperature. Buy a paddling pool and place in the shade, so your dogs body can be surrounded by water. If you cannot do this, try frequently hosing them down with cool water. Make sure their coats are thoroughly wet including the belly and inside of their legs. There are also very good cooling coats and cooling mats available. A wet towel is an easy way for your dog to cool down.
Know the signs of heatstroke
Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, heavy salivating/drooling, rapid heart rate, tongue and gums may turn blue or bright red, lethargy, lack of co-ordination, not being able to get up after collapsing, vomiting and diarrhoea.
If your dog presents with these symptoms move them to a cool area immediately. Ring your Vet and get advice. Try and cool their body down with cool water - such as cool wet towels. Encourage your pet to drink if possible.
Keep your pooch safe throughout the summer months by following this advice and if you have any questions, contact your local vet or a member of the Healthful Pets team by emailing email@example.com .