Summer safety tips for your dogs

13th June 2022

 

As temperatures begin to soar across the UK, it’s time to get prepared to ensure a safe and happy summer with our pooches.

Here are some of our top tips on how to keep your dogs cool this summer and the warning signs to look out for in case your dog has had too much exposure from the sun.

Which dogs are most affected by the heat?
Some breeds are more susceptible to developing heat-related illnesses, these include brachycephalic (or flat-faced) breeds, such as the French bulldog, Bulldog and Boxer. Other dogs most affected by the heat are elderly dogs or puppies and dogs with thick, heavy coats. Pets that are obese or on certain medications can also be at risk.

What is ‘heatstroke’?

Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin, therefore they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose in order to regulate their body temperature. If dogs become too hot and are unable to reduce their body temperature, they will develop heatstroke which is a life threatening condition.

If a dog is displaying any signs of heatstroke, move them to a cool, shaded area and call a vet immediately.


Spotting heat exhaustion in your dog

Warning signs of heatstroke:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargic, drowsiness or uncoordinated
  • Collapsing
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

 

Emergency First Aid for dogs

For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.

  • Move them to a shaded/cool area.
  • Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place them by the breeze of a fan.
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Continue to douse the dog with cool water until their breathing starts to settle but never so much that they begin to shiver.
  • Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

Avoiding the heat & keeping cool

  • Dogs die in hot cars
    Never
    leave your dogs in a car on a warm day. Even with the windows down it can take just minutes for a dog to die from heatstroke. It is always best to leave your dogs at home in a cool place rather than take them with you on a car journey.
  • Keep the house cool
    If your dog is ever left at home on a hot day, ensure that their bed is moved into a nice cool, shady part of the house as well as ensuring plenty of air circulation. Leave windows open (where safe to) and keep curtains closed throughout the house to keep it cool indoors.
  • Avoid walkies in the heat
    Avoid walking your dogs in the mid-day sun, keep walkies to either early mornings or late evenings to evade the heat.
  • Check the heat of pavements
    Test the heat of pavements before your walk. Place the back of your hand on the surface of the pavement for seven seconds, if you struggle to hold your hand down, it’s too hot to walk your dog. Tarmac temperatures can soar rapidly in the summer heat and can cause painful burns on your dogs paw pads.
  • Fresh cold water
    Keep the dog’s water bowl in a shady position and filled up at all times. Float some ice cubes in it to encourage your dog to drink and keep it cool.
  • Paddling pools
    Invest in a paddling pool. Paddling pools are a great way to help cool your dog down. In extreme heat, put your dog in multiple times a day, gently cover the dog in water with your hands, avoiding the face if it causes them stress. Throwing heavy toys in can help to encourage your dog into the water. Do NOT frighten your dog by hosing them down. This can be very stressful for a dog.
  • Frozen treats
    Prepare some frozen fruit or veg such as carrots or frozen bananas for your dogs to chew on, on a hot day. Try to avoid feeding puppies ice cubes as this could cause damage to their fragile teeth.
  • Cooling clothes & beds
    Investigate ‘cooling’ clothes/beds for dogs. If you can’t afford a fancy ‘cooler’ bed, soak a towel in water and lay it down in the shade for your dog to lie on. Many people swear by cooling clothes, soaked in water they can chill a dog down very quickly and are ideal if you have to leave the house on a hot day.

For more information on heatstroke and heat related illnesses visit: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/heatstroke