Keeping your dog cool in the heat.
The sun is out and the weather is hotting up so it's really important to your dogs health that you stay vigilant and do everything you can to keep your dog as cool as possible this summer so you all can safely enjoy the sunshine.
Make sure your dog does not get dehydrated in the heat
We know it's common sense but keep an eye on water bowls and always make sure your dog has access to cold water. You can also add ice cubes to water bowls. When you are out and about make sure you pack a bowl and water or take a squirty water bottle to ensure your dog does not suffer from dehydration. Have a look at bowls that collapse down and are easier to travel with such as Rosewood travel dog bowl www.cooperandkitty.co.uk/collections/eat/products/rosewood-travel-dog-bowl.
If you do find your dog panting excessively, take them into the shade and give them more water.
You can make your dogs some tasty cooling treats to help keep them cool in the heat. Simply make ice cubes with some of their favourite foods inside or stuff a kong and put it into the freezer.
Dogs can be susceptible to sunburn, particularly those with White ears and noses. Sunburn can cause painful blistering and sores so it is a good idea to apply pet sunscreen to the hairless areas that are more exposed like ears and noses.
Play in the Water
When the temperatures rise plan some outdoor activities with your dog that involve water play.
Use the hose pipe /sprinkler in the garden, get a dog paddling pool or let them take a dip in the lake which are all fun and will help cool down your dog. Just make sure your dog does not overdo it, particularly if your dog does not venture into the water very often.
Check freshwater lakes, canals, and ponds to make sure they are clean before your dogs jump in. Some types of algae, including blue-green algae, are toxic to dogs. If your dog does swim in algae-contaminated water, contact your vet immediately.
You may need to rethink your regular exercise times when the sun is out. During particularly hot weather walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler. Make sure they do not play too hard while in the sun and offer water to keep them hydrated when you are out and about.
Pavements can get extremely hot in direct sun so remember to check with your hand to test the temperature.
Never leave dogs in a parked car
Even if you park your car in the shade with the windows open the temperature inside can reach astronomical levels on a sunny day very quickly and it will feel like an oven with no escape to your dog.
Summer offers perfect opportunities to get and about but please consider finding alternative care for your dog and leave them at home or chose dog-friendly days out to avoid any situation where you need to leave them in the car. It is not worth the risk.
Consider getting a Cool Mat in addition to a dog bed
A cool mat is a great place for your dog to lie in the warmer months, especially when you are in the garden or on a picnic. Dogs can get hot very quickly under all that fur and a cool mat gives them a place to cool down quickly.
Ensure there's a shaded spot for your dog.
You can create a shady spot in your garden or even in your house by placing some cloth or cardboard over an area/ crate to keep the sun out. Your dog will appreciate having a cool spot to relax in when it's really hot outside. Avoid leaving your dog in conservatories. Bear in mind that there are no cooling breezes inside these sun traps and they magnify the heat.
Recognising the signs of heatstroke in dogs
Imagine wearing a thick jumper on a hot summer day and you can understand why dogs can succumb to heatstroke really quickly .
Dogs do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans. They only have sweat glands around their noses and in their feet so rely on panting to keep themselves cool. Panting is the most important way a dog thermoregulates.
Be extra vigilant with older dogs and short-nosed dogs such as boxers, pugs, bull breeds, and those that are overweight. These dogs are at a higher risk of getting sunstroke simply by running around.
Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include collapse, excessive panting, and dribbling.
Have a look at this brilliant guide from Blue Cross on the signs of heatstroke in dogs https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/how-keep-dogs-cool-summer-heat