Summer is officially underway across the UK and Europe. For your four-legged pooch, this means beach days and lounging around catching the sun’s rays. But with temperatures soaring in many places, it’s important to keep your dog cool and comfortable.
Dogs can have trouble cooling off and there’s plenty to consider before deciding to take them outside in hot weather.
UK-based charity Dogs Trust has now shared a few tips on how to keep your dog cool during a heatwave.
- Plenty of water and shade
This should almost go without saying but carrying water should be the number one priority when taking your dog out on an adventure. Also be sure that there is plenty of shade throughout your walk outside.
2. Walk dogs during cooler hours
You should plan your walks so that you and your pooch are out during the cooler hours of the day. Mornings and evenings are best. Try to avoid walking your dog in the afternoon. Exercising dogs in hot weather could trigger a heat-related illness.
3. Be mindful of the ground
The tarmac could get extremely hot and burn your dog’s paws during the summer. Before your walking your dog on the tarmac, or similar surface, put your hand down and leave it there for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. You can always walk them later in the day.
4. Keep them safe from the sun
The sun can wreak havoc on your dog’s skin and other sensitive areas such as their ears and nose. As mentioned before, make sure you have access to plenty of shade. Furthermore, use pet-friendly suncream to protect those sensitive areas.
5. Look out for warnings signs of heatstroke
Here are the six symptoms of heatstroke for dogs:
- Panting heavily
- Drooling excessively
- Appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
Certain breeds such as English Bulldogs, Pugs and French Bulldogs, can be more susceptible to suffering from heat-related illnesses.
6. Consider carrying a cooling mat or bandanna
Plenty of pet shops and online stores carry cooling mats and cooling bandannas which can certainly help prevent overheating
7. Never leave your dog alone in the car
Leaving your dog for just a few minutes in a car in the hot weather, even in shade, can be fatal for them. Instead, leave them at home with a fan or shade if you’re going somewhere where dogs are not allowed.
8. Plan indoor activities
Just like how your dog played at home a lot during the lockdown, you can keep them busy if it’s too hot for them by having them play games with you or play with toys or even a jump in a pool.
Niamh Curran Kelly, Veterinary and Welfare Manager, Dogs Trust Ireland, said, “If your dog displays any signs of heatstroke, please seek urgent veterinary advice. You should dial your vet on speakerphone while moving your dog to a cool or shaded area. Advise your vet that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke and describe your dog’s symptoms. If you can’t get to your vet immediately and have to wait for transport, use a water spray to gently cool your dog’s external skin temperature. You should also offer them small amounts of room-temperature water to help bring their temperature down further. While driving to the vet, drive with the windows down or air-conditioning on – this should help to further reduce your dog’s core temperature.”
Ciara Byrne, Head of Communications, Dogs Trust Ireland, said, “While going out in the beautiful midday sun for a walk may seem like a great idea, we want to remind people to walk their dogs early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are lower. If you’ll be walking on tarmac, try the ‘seven-second test’; if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Please also make sure you bring lots of cool, fresh water with you to keep your dog hydrated and if you’re stopping for a break, check that your dog has some shade to relax in. If you do need to go out in the middle of the day in warm weather, please consider leaving your dog at home, where they can stay cool and safe. If you are worried about leaving your dog alone, we have lots of advice on our website about preventing separation anxiety.”