With recent bank holidays reaching record-breaking heats as well as increasing summer temperatures, it is important to make sure we take care of our dogs to prevent our beloved dogs getting heatstroke.
Heatstroke affects tens of thousands of dogs every year in the UK, this can result in your pup being out of action for a few days, unplanned veterinary bills and in worst instances even resulting in the loss of a loved one.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs include but aren’t limited to:
• Faster, heavier panting
• Extreme thirst
• Frequent vomiting
• Reddening of tongue and gums
• The skin around muzzle/neck doesn’t snap back when pinched
• Thick saliva
• Increased heart rate
• Signs of agitation
• Excessive drooling
• Glassy eyes
• Weakness or collapse
If you see any of these signs, the best cause of action is to consult with your vet.
The best way to deal with heatstroke is prevention, here are some top tips to keep your pup safe and comfortable in hot weather.
#1 Get to know your dog!
Knowing the needs and requirements of your dog is always important, especially during the summer! Not all dogs are the same and some dogs especially need that bit of extra care during the warmth.
Unlike human’s, dogs don’t sweat all over and instead use respiration such as panting to cool down, unfortunately, snub-nosed dogs such as pugs have sweat glands in their feet and cannot pant as efficiently as dogs with longer snouts.
Snub-nosed dogs aren’t the only at-risk dogs during hot weather: black dogs, due to their colour are more heat absorbent and therefore have a larger risk of heatstroke as well as dogs with thicker coats.
It may be obvious but the most important thing to remember during the hot weather is to keep your dog hydrated, especially during exercise.
If you take your dog out, make sure you have some water in a bottle or container to make sure that your dog does end up dehydrated. You should also make sure that at home there is water for your dog and it can even be a great idea to have multiple bowls.
On hotter days placing ice cubes in the bowl can be a much nicer alternative for your dog so it doesn’t have to drink hot water. This ice is a great idea if you are leaving your dog alone for a while as the ice melting will make sure that there is always cool water for your dog. If you’re leaving your dogs for a longer amount of time, multiple dogs or even just want to make it the best experience for your dog you can purchase water bowls online which automatically refill when getting low or even fountains which spray when your dog stands on them!
#3 Ice Treats
Who doesn’t love a nice icy snack to help cool down in hot weather? Dogs are not different!
Keeping in mind of allergies and what your dog can and cannot eat there are many little snacks you can make for your dog to ensure they’re happy and cool!
Frozen treats for your dog can be as simple as freezing fruits, meat, and bones! Most dogs love ice and there are plenty of toys made to fill and freeze which you can grab to help keep your dog cool while playing and exercising during the summer!
#4 Pool Party
We know not everyone has a full-size pool they can let their dog play about in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw them an awesome pool party to keep them cool in the hot weather.
Little paddling pools are great cheap ways for dogs to cool down, for as little as £5 you can grab a small ankle-deep pool for them to play around with in your garden helping them keep cool and look even cooler.
Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with pools, however, there are many ways to make it fun for the both of you! Why not grab some toys to throw and watch them bundle after or even grab a hose or water pistol and watch them darting about trying to catch the water!
#5 Keeping a cool house
Having a cool house gives your dog an area to keep shaded and cool down, not everyone has aircon but luckily the best spot for this is in the northernmost room in the house due to it getting the least amount of sun during the day.
By giving your dog access to this room you may not even have to worry about leaving windows open or leaving air-conditioning on, especially if your house is insulated as it should manage to keep the room cool enough to let your dog regulate its body temperature. To find out out if your house is insulated contact the specialist at Heat Insulation here.
You may notice during especially hot days your dog or other pets laying on tiles like your bathroom floor, this is because these aren’t very good at absorbing heat and therefore stay relatively cold so getting them a light ceramic tile or cooling mat kept in the shade for them to lay on can be a nice little comfy spot for them to chill out and cool down in the hot weather.
#6 Avoid exercising during midday
As mentioned above exercising at the hottest points of the day is a big no, no, during these times of day in the summer there are many hazards for your dog which can easily be avoided.
Firstly, at the hottest points of the day the sun has been heating the floor up which can make it unbearable for your dog to walk on and even severely burn their paws, Tarmac has been known to get as hot as 60oC and even begin to melt people’s shoes, imagine how painful this could be for your poor dog’s bare feet!
Secondly, If the heat is uncomfortable for you it is also uncomfortable for your dog, especially if you’re getting them to run around playing and exercising. If you’re going to do this wait for the weather to cool or do it earlier in the morning, the increased heat makes over exercising much more likely in all dogs so beware and try your best to avoid exercising your dog’s during the hotter parts of the day.
#7 Dress For the weather
It is easy to forget how hot the ground can get in the summer heat, it is always good to check before you take your dogs on a walk, especially if you cannot avoid exercising them at the hottest parts of the day, if the ground is too hot one way to protect your dog’s paws is booties!
You can get many different styles of boots, shoes, and socks to help protect your dog’s paws and keep them clean, however it is important to make sure you research the attire before putting it on your dog as some shoes are purely aesthetic and can cause your dog more pain than comfort!
Shoes aren’t the only item that you can dress your dog up in to help protect them from the heat, there are also protective and cooling jackets. Some jackets are made to hold on to water and help cool off your dog in a similar way to us sweating.
#8 Sun cream
Your dog just like you need protection from the sun, this is especially important on dogs with shorter coats and light skin as these are liable to be burned, especially in places like the nose, ears and other areas with less fur.
It is also a good idea to use things like moisturizers or waxes to help protect your dog’s bare paws to help protect them from injury and keeping them in tip-top condition, as well as regularly checking them to make sure any injuries are cleaned out to ensure they are as least painful as they can be.
#9 Don’t shave
Shaving your dog may seem like a great idea but it’s not.
Dogs fur is there for many reasons and shaving it might have more of an effect than just cooling it down and changing its look. Double coated dogs such as the Husky, Akita and even Pomeranians have 2 layers of fur for 2 different reasons, the first undercoat is a short fine fluffy hair which is used for insulating the dog and changes depending on the weather to regulate their temperature.
The second coat is their top coat which is made of much tougher hair which is used to protect your dog from bugs, plants and the sun. This layer also helps in insulating them from the sun letting the wind get in and under the fur to keep them cool.