Summer is the most social time of year, beaches are full, BBQ’s become a staple food and long days are filled with outdoor activities.
For a lot of dog parents the Summer months can be a time of anxiety as our K9 companions aren’t really cut out for sunbathing and can easily overheat if left in the wrong conditions. However there are easy ways you can make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful for you both.
How can I prevent my dog from overheating?
The most important thing you can do to stop your dog from getting dangerously hot is never to leave them alone anywhere they can’t get away from the heat to cool down. Never leave a dog alone in a car or in a closed room that could get hot during the day – like a conservatory or a room with windows that get direct sun. Close curtains or blinds to stop a room from getting hot from the sun and make sure anywhere you have to leave your dog is well ventilated. Provide a fan, if possible, to create a nice breeze and always make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water.
What are the signs my dog is overheating?
Dogs can overheat and become very ill quickly. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of overheating in dogs so you can take fast action if you have any concerns. Signs your dog may be overheating include (but are not limited to):
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Appearing unusually lethargic
- Muscle tremors
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
How can I cool my dog down?
Move overheated dogs to a cool airy place and encourage them to lie down. Never put them directly into cold water as this can cause shock. Soak some towels or other fabric in cold water and place on their head, neck and chest area. Giving too much to drink is not advised, so let them have a little to drink and then give ice cubes to lick. If you are at all concerned about your dog, call your vet for advice.
5 Great ways to help keep your dog cool in hot weather.
1 Shaded areas
You may think this is the most obvious tip but in certain places, like the beach, there isn’t a lot of natural shade. This means planning ahead for your trip and considering your location. A small tent or parasol can make a great shaded area and also double as a place to keep your bags and other belongings. Encourage your dog to spend time in the shaded area with toys, water, food and company but ensure it is well ventilated as well as shady. Remember to move the shade as the sun changes position during the day.
2 Going out at cooler times of the day
Did you know the harsh Summer sun can heat tarmac to over 50°C? At this temperature tarmac starts to melt! Dog’s paws aren’t made for temperatures that high so before you go on your daily walks, consider the time of day and weather. Mornings and evenings are much cooler than midday but if you still aren’t sure if it’s safe to walk your dog, try holding your hand flat on the pavement for more than 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you it will definitely be too hot for your dog!
3 Doggy ice treats
Cool treats are a great way of cooling your dog down. As dogs pant to regulate their heat, by feeding them ice cubes filled with their favourite food or a stuffed Kong you put in the freezer, you can effectively keep them cool or cool them down quickly. These types of treats will also provide your dog with extra water and good hydration is essential during spells of hot weather. If you’re not sure how to make these treats there are loads of creative and tasty recipes online made by fellow dog lovers. Check the recipe is suitable for dogs, especially if your pooch has any special dietary needs.
4 Cooling mats
In the summer a cooling mat is my dog’s best friend. Easy and simple to use, it can be put anywhere your dog is likely to go (even in the car). Cooling mats are typically filled with a non-toxic gel which is pressure activated so there are no wires or batteries needed. If you are still worried about your dog chewing the mat when you aren’t looking, there are some alternatives made from breathable ice silk, which are more like a blanket but have nothing that can spill out.
5 Paddling pool
If you are a BBQ fanatic as soon as Summer rolls round you’ll want your dog to have fun and join in the festivities. One thing to consider perhaps is a small paddling pool. While you are hosting and having a good time, your dog can also stay entertained and have somewhere cool to relax. A doggy pool party would also be great fun for your dog’s park buddies! Remember to supervise your dogs around water and be particularly careful if there are children around.
If you suspect your dog, or someone else’s, is in danger, call a vet immediately. Overheating in dogs can be fatal so prompt action can save lives.
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