Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool.
Dogs can suffer from heatstroke just like people, so it is important to make sure your dog does not over-heat in hot weather. As Britain basks in the heat wave this summer, Holidays4Dogs has put together some top tips for keeping your four legged pal cool.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat in order to control their body temperature, so the only way they can cool down is by panting. However, just as we get dehydrated through perspiring, dogs also require extra liquid when they are panting to cool down. Make sure there are plenty of dog bowls around the house and garden, to help keep your pooch hydrated.
Swimming is also a nice activity for dogs in hot weather. Just make sure the water quality is good and your dog does not over exert himself.
2. Mad dogs and Englishmen.
It makes sense not to walk your dog during the hottest parts of the day. Leave long walks for early morning and late evening. Also, a good tip to remember – if the pavement is too hot for bare feet, it’s too hot for little paws too.
3. A nice shady spot.
Some dogs, such as those with white coats for example, can be more susceptible to sunburn. Keep them out of direct sunlight as far as possible, as this will minimise the risk of getting sunstroke. If your dog has the run of the garden, make sure he has access to shady spots and watch out for where he chooses to rest. Some dogs will lie down and fall asleep in direct sunshine.
Avoid taking your dog out in the car when the weather is hot. It goes without saying you should never leave your dog in the car, even on cooler summer days. With soaring temperatures, a dog won’t stand a chance trapped in boiling hot a car. Temperatures can rise at an alarming rate and every year, dogs die in hot cars.
5. Take it slow.
Some dogs will still want to run around at full pelt, even on a very hot day, so you need to encourage your pooch to slow down. Take plenty of breaks on your walks. Young and energetic dogs will still tend to charge around in the heat, but they will feel the effects, just the same.
Heat stroke can come on quickly – don’t let dogs chase around like mad hatters when the sun is scorching. Make sure you have access to water when you are out and about.
Symptoms of heat stroke.
Dogs cannot sweat and can only cool down by panting, so a dog that begins to drool, has bloodshot eyes, and/ or is lethargic may well be over heated. Other symptoms may be enlargement of the tongue, red gums or lips and an obvious state of anxiety, or weakness.
More severe symptoms of heat trauma include, very rapid heart rate, trembling or seizure, difficult breathing, vomiting and coma.
Prompt action must follow to relieve the high temperature before the dog is transported to the vet. If the dog is not in the shade – remove him to a cooler spot. Place him on a cold wet towel. Bathe the dog in lukewarm water paying attention to his feet and his ‘underarm’ area.
Do not use very cold water as a sudden change in temperature can be dangerous. Use a cooling fan if possible. Once the dog is cooler, it is essential to have him checked out at the vet to make sure there has been no internal damage.
Having your dog clipped will not necessarily keep him any cooler. A dog’s coat protects him from the effects of heat and cold. However, keeping the coat well groomed so that any excess undercoat is removed, will make your dog feel more comfortable. If you do decide to clip your dog, don’t have it shaved too close to the skin as this will expose it to greater effects of the sun.
Your dog may enjoy an iced treat – (see our other Holidays4Dogs article –Lollipops for dogs).
If your dog has pale skin around his face, or nose, consider using sun cream protection on these areas. It is possible to buy products specifically for use on dogs.
Remember that some breeds are much more prone to heat stress than others – flat faced breeds such as pugs, boxers and King Charles spaniels often suffer the effects of heat far more quickly because they have shortened airways which reduces the cooling effects when the dog pants. These dogs frequently suffer from heat stress even when the weather is not particularly hot, so extra consideration should be taken.