Summer is here and we want to make the most of it while we can but we must remember how the heat can impact our furry friends. Dogs cannot cool down as easily as we can, coupled with their fur or heavy coat can leave them prone to overheating. Whether you take your dog for a walk, or out to play in the garden, hot weather can be hard on them and it is vital you take the steps to protect your pet.
Signs of Overheating
All dogs will feel uncomfortable in the heat however it is important to look out for any serious signs of overheating or heat stroke that might warrant medical help. All dogs are at risk of overheating and heat stroke can result in long-term health problems. Common signs include:
- Panting heavily and rapid breathing
- Wobbling and having trouble standing up
- Bright red gums
Dogs don’t sweat like we do, instead they stop themselves from overheating by panting. If your dog is panting excessively it is likely they are too warm and may need your help so that they can cool down. If they become too hot, their panting is not effective in cooling them down and regaining control of their body temperature.
The seriousness of these conditions can be easily avoided if you follow these tips for keeping your dog cool in the Summer.
Cool Down Area
Provide your dog with the ultimate cool down area outside, as they will naturally need to go outside at some point it is important they have an area that is shaded. This area provides them the opportunity to be outside, and away from the direct heat of the sun. During the really hot weather you could add a small paddling pool to this area filled with shallow water to give your dog the chance to cool off their paws. If you plan on taking your dog to the beach or for a picnic you could bring a small pop up tent or windbreak to provide a break from the sunshine for them to cool down in.
It is very important that your dog always has access to water and it remains in the same place so they know where to find it when they need it. To keep your dog hydrated while they are exercising, take fresh water with you and allow them a drink before returning home if not before this. Always carry plenty of water and bowl for them to drink it from.You could also try making cool tasty treats with ice cubes and pop them in their water bowl. It is also recommended if you can swap your walking schedule to earlier in the mornings or later in the afternoon when it is cooler.
Cooling mats or pads may be worth investing in if your dog struggles to sleep at night. Most dogs will seek out a tiled floor that is cool for them to lie down on, however a cooling mat could be a comfortable alternative for them in the Summer. Alternatively you could pop some ice packs underneath their bed before bed time. You could also invest in a fan for them or lay some damp towels down for them to lie on.
Getting your dog regularly groomed in the Summer can keep them cool by shedding some excess fur. In between visits to your dog groomer it is recommended to brush their coat daily to get rid of any unwanted hair and keep them cool. However, be careful as your dog’s skin is more likely to be sensitive after their cut.
Never leave them alone in a hot car
Dogs succumb to heatstroke quickly and a car can become a haven for hot temperatures very quickly even if it does not feel that warm. Even a few minutes in the car on a hot day is too long to have your pooch in there. You can also be fined for leaving your dog in your car on a hot day if the dog is seen to be in distress.
As with most things, it is usually best to take steps to prevent your dog from developing problems before they happen. Summer is an amazing time for pets and people but as temperatures rise we need to be mindful of how well our dogs are coping. Summer time is still a great time to make memories with your dog and have fun as long as you are cautious and follow our tips to keep them cool in the Summer.
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