Top Tips for keeping your dog cool in summer
20th June 2017
As the temperatures start to soar in the UK it’s a good idea to prepare yourself, your home and your dogs for the coming hot weather. All it takes is a little extra thought and you and your dog can enjoy the summer together.
Which dogs are particularly affected by the heat?
Any dog which has breathing difficulties, be this through breeding (flat faces, pugs, bulldogs) or illness. Getting overheated is never good for any dog but some breeds are definitely affected more than others.
Obvious times to protect your dog from the heat
In the Car
NEVER EVER leave your dog in a car, on a warm day. Not even with the window open. Not only could you return to find your car broken into by a concerned member of the public, but your dog could have died a horrible death while you had popped into the shop ‘for just a minute’. The best thing is to leave your dog at home in the cool. Think about your journey in advance. If you HAVE to stop, who is going to look after the dog? Think before you make that journey. Here is a link to a Kennel Club article on the subject: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/dont-cook-your-dog/
In the house
Have you ever walked into the house when you’ve been out for a few hours and been greeted by a wall of heat and thought ‘Wow, that’s got hot today?’ Imagine if you had gone out and left your dog in that heat? Temperatures can build very quickly so think carefully about where you leave your dog in the house on a hot day. Yes for 10 months of the year the dog’s bed is in the sunny kitchen but for 2 months of the year, maybe move it into the dinning room or any other part of the house that doesn’t get the sun. If you have to go out for an extended period, ask a friend to come in and check on him.
Spotting heat exhaustion in your dog
The advice below is taken from the RSPCA website: http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars/heatstroke
If you see a dog in a hot car displaying any signs of heatstroke, dial 999 immediately as the dog could soon loose consciousness and experience internal organ failure.
Warning signs of heatstroke
•Is the dog panting heavily?
•Is the dog drooling excessively?
•Does the dog appear lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated?
•Is the dog collapsed or vomiting?
What is ‘heatstroke’?
If dogs are too hot and are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they will develop heatstroke which can kill.
If a dog is displaying any signs of heatstroke, move them to a cool, shaded area and call a vet immediately.
Some types of dog are more prone to heatstroke, like very old or young dogs, dogs with thick, heavy coats or dogs with very short flat faces like pugs and bulldog types. Dogs with certain diseases or on some types of medication are also more at risk.
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 him/her 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 him/her in the breeze of a fan.
•Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
•Continue to douse the dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.
• Once the dog is cool, take him/her to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.
6 Top Tips for keeping your dog cool
1. Keep your house cool. Close as many curtains as is practical. Leave windows open to let in a breeze but curtains closed. And keep them closed. Let the room chill down and make sure the dog has access to this place all the time.
2. Keep the dog’s water bowl in a shady position and filled up at all times. Float some ice cubes in it to encourage the dog to drink and keep it cool.
3. Get your dog wet! Many people buy children’s paddling pools/plastic shell sand pits as paddling pools for their dogs. 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 keep the dog interested in jumping in and keeping cool. Do NOT frighten your dog by hosing it down or letting the children spray it. This can be very stressful for a dog.
4. Feed your dog ice cubes/watermelon/frozen cucumber/chilled carrots. A quick ‘Google’ for ‘home-made frozen dog treats’ will bring you to a whole world of recipes for home-made doggy tuna ice cream and frozen meat broth popsicles …if you have time!
5. 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 (getting him on to it could be another matter!) 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.
6. Never walk your dog in the heat of the day, keep exercise to early mornings or later on in the evening. It can still be very hot at 6pm so be guided by temperature not time. If walkies is now at 10pm, so be it!
As with any medical issue concerning your pet, please consult your vet should you have any concerns at all.
So there you have it; everything you need to know to keep your dog cool and comfortable as the UK experiences that rare thing…summer! We’d love to hear how you keep your dogs cool, please share your top tops below and we’ll add them to the list!