5 Tips To Help Keep Your Dog Safe In The Heat

Summer has arrived, and we’re all eager to make the most of the beautiful sunshine with our pups while it lasts. It’s important, though, to keep your dog safe in the heat and below we offer a few tips to help you do just that!

Did you know?

Unlike people, dogs can’t easily regulate their body temperatures by sweating as they can only sweat through their paws and nose. Instead, they pant. This is a less effective way of losing heat from the body, and paired with a thick coat, this makes our pups prone to quickly overheating and also difficult for them to cool down quickly so prevention is key.

The signs of heatstroke, and how to help your dog 

If you notice vomiting, excessive panting, foaming at the mouth, bright red gums, collapse, shaking, confusion, weakness, seizures or diarrhoea, the most important thing to do is seek veterinary advice immediately. Move your dog to a cool, preferably sheltered location, and encourage them to drink small amounts of water. Pour tepid, but not freezing, water over their body, as freezing water could cause shock. Do this until the dog’s breathing starts to settle, but not so much that they start to shiver.

How can we prevent overheating?

1. Choose cool times for walks

Try to avoid walking your dog between 11am and 3pm. It’s okay to keep your dog walks short and sweet during a heatwave, as it is more important to keep them safe. If in doubt, try touching the pavement. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pup’s paws. There are plenty of alternative enrichment activities you could do, such as setting up a paddling pool in the back garden, doing some extra training with your pup, or having some indoor playtime. Click here to read more on enrichment. 

2. Hydration

Ensure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water. Place bowls of water throughout the house and garden to encourage them to stay hydrated.

3. Cooling Mats

You can either purchase or make your own cooling mat by dampening a towel with cool water. However, it is important to regularly refresh these towels, as the dog’s high body temperature will quickly cause the temperature of the towel to rise. 

Did You Know?

As much as we love our flat-faced furry friends, dogs with short noses such as bulldogs and pugs are known as brachycephalic breeds, which means they are more susceptible to heatstroke because they are already prone to breathing problems. Overweight dogs, older dogs, and dogs with thick coats such as German Shepherds are also prone to overheating. This means they need a little extra TLC when it comes to hot weather. 

4. Frozen Treats

Dollop a spoonful of peanut butter into your dog’s kong, place it in a zip-lock bag, and leave it in the freezer overnight. This can then be given to your dog, serving as an enrichment and cooling activity in one!

5. Regular Grooming

Grooming in the summer months, especially for long-haired dogs, is important to ensure your dog doesn’t develop matts. This will not only keep your dog cool but will also protect their delicate skin. However, some dogs have fur which naturally protects them from the sun or cools them down, so it’s important to speak to your vet or a groomer before deciding. 

And last but by no means least - ENJOY!

Did You know?

Pale-coloured dogs are prone to sunburn, particularly on their nose, ears, and sparsely haired areas. Sun damage can also lead to cancer, which can require extensive surgery. Sunlight can also exacerbate existing skin conditions in dogs, particularly if they have allergies. To prevent this, you can use a non-toxic, waterproof suncream for humans, or one specially formulated for dogs, or alternatively put a t-shirt on your dog to cover their more vulnerable areas. 

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