Looking After Your Dog in Hot Weather
While we won’t begrudge the nice weather that we have been treated to in recent weeks, we need to bear in mind that it isn’t as enjoyable for our furry friends! Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes! Unlike us, they can’t sweat through their skin and, instead, rely on panting and releasing heat through their pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and to keep cool.
With some careful preparation and a bit of forward planning, we can make our dogs lives a lot easier during the summer months. Here are our top tips for keeping them healthy and happy in hot weather:
- Dogs need access to clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim. On sunny days, this will need replenishing more frequently.
- Remember to carry water and a bowl with you on walks.
- Keep an eye on the forecast and plan for the days ahead. On warmer days, take your dog out first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Avoid going out during the hotter parts of the day when the sun is highest in the sky.
- Reduce the length of your walks where possible. Go out for a couple of shorter walks rather than one long one or keep your dog mentally stimulated indoors by teaching them some new tricks!
- Be wary of the pavement, it can burn your dog’s pads. As a general rule, if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for their paws!
- If your dog is exhibiting signs of over-heating, such as heavy panting or loss of energy, find a shady spot and take a break.
- Keep your home as cool and comfortable as possible.
- Offer your dog cooling treats such as ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or a Kong stuffed with frozen treats.
- It’s important to remember that dogs cool themselves from the bottom up. A cooling mat will prevent their paws and stomachs from getting too hot or a damp towel is equally as effective.
In the Garden
- Provide lots of shaded areas for your dog to relax in away from the sun, preferably under trees where the air can circulate freely.
- Encourage your dog to play in water. Put the sprinkler on or set up a paddling pool in the shade.
- If your dog has a paler coat, apply a sensitive sunblock or one specifically designed for pets.
Although our tips apply to all dogs, we would encourage you to be particularly mindful of short nosed breeds, such as bulldogs, boxers and pugs, and also older and overweight dogs. There is a higher chance of these dogs developing heatstroke. And, of course, it goes without saying that you should never leave your dog alone in a car, even with th