How to keep your dog cool in the summer
Keeping your dog happy and health in hot weather is all about careful preparation. To help you stay on top of things, we've put together a few dog care tips for the summer, so you can enjoy the sun in safety with your best friend.
Access to plenty of water
It's important to ensure your dog has constant access to plenty of clean drinking water all year round, but especially in the summer. If you're out and about with your dog in the summer, ensure you always have a bottle of water and a bowl for them.
Carefully plan your walks
Dogs in the UK don’t tend to be used to hot weather, and they aren’t able to regulate their body temperature as well as humans can. So it’s important to keep that in mind when taking your furry friend out for a walk.
Dogs are generally safe in temperatures of up to 19°C. However, this will vary from dog to dog, and some pooches may still be uncomfortable going on a long walk in 16-19°C heat.
Try and avoid taking your dog out in the midday sun. Early morning or evening walks will be cooler and more enjoyable for your best friend.
Protect your dog from hot surfaces
Avoiding the midday sun will also help you to protect your dog’s paw pads from hot surfaces, which can really damage them.
Tarmac and sand in particular can really heat up in the sun, so it’s important to check with your hand before risking it. If these surfaces feel too hot for you, they’ll be too hot for your dog too. So wait until they’ve cooled down to venture outside.
Never leave your dog in a hot car
It should be common knowledge, but leaving a dog alone in a hot car can be fatal – even if you’re parked in the shade with the windows open. It doesn’t matter if you’re not planning on leaving them for long, as dogs can become distressed and uncomfortable very quickly.
Make sure you always have a plan so your dog isn't left alone in the car or any other enclosed spaces. If you see a dog alone in a hot car, dial 999.
Consider sun cream for dogs
Light coloured or thinly coated dogs are at risk of burning in the sun if they’re not protected, just like you and me!
The good news is you can pick up specially formulated sun cream for dogs at most pet shops. And if you're unsure whether your dog needs sun cream, simply call and ask your vet.
Tips for cooling down your dog
There are many ways you can help your dog stay cool in hot weather, such as:
- Encouraging them to stay in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight
- Putting down damp towels for them to lie on
- Filling a hot water bottle with cold water or putting down a cooling mat (which can be purchased from most pet shops) for them to lie on
- Putting the garden sprinkler on
- Putting a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash about in
How to recognise and treat heatstroke
Heatstroke develops when a dog can't reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal. Signs of heatstroke include:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- A rapid pulse
- Excessive salivation
- Lack of coordination
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Loss of consciousness
If you think your dog has heatstroke, you need to act fast. Make sure you contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has heatstroke.
Take them to a cool, shaded area. Apply towels soaked in cold water to their head, neck and chest and let them drink water or lick an ice cube. Never place them directly into ice cold water or give them too much to drink as they may go into shock.
Image credit: UnSplash