Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer
by Sian Griffin // July 2017
Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer
Summer is a great time of year for us to be going out for long days, to the beach, parks, having a bbq and to sunbathe and lounge around working on that tan! But for our dogs, summer may not be as fun; they often struggle with the heat and keeping themselves cool. To a dog, being out in the sun with their fur is like us wearing a thick winter coat out in the blazing sun.
Dogs can only cool down by panting as they do not sweat, which means it takes a long time for them to cool down. A dog’s body temperature needs to only exceed 41 degrees to have fatal consequences. If your dog develops heat stroke, their organs are at risk of shutting down and they are in serious trouble!
During the summer months, it is best to walk your dog during the cool parts of the day; early morning and late evening and even then, on very hot days the temperature may still be too high, so a short walk in a shady place is recommended.
Shady walks are better in the hot weather, as they are cooler for your dog.
Try to avoid walking your dog on hot pavements; you risk burning your dog’s pads if the concrete is too hot – to check if the pavements are too hot for your dog’s feet, hold the back of your hand on it. If you can’t hold it there for 5 seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog on.
Can you hold your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds?
Please remember to NEVER leave your dog in a car in this weather! Once the engine is off, it doesn’t take long for the car to become too hot for your dog to cope with. If the temperature outside is 22 degrees, it can easily reach 47 degrees inside the car; opening windows does not let enough air through!
The Dogs Trust have a campaign each year about not leaving your dog in a hot car, you can view it by clicking here.
If your dog does overheat, pour cool (not freezing) water over their bodies and bellies to cool them down. Give them water to drink and wet their tongue and mouth. Get your dog to your nearest vet ASAP.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your dog cool during these warm months...
Too cool for school!
You can buy cool mats and towels and encourage your dog to lie on them. These use special substances that stay cold when pressure is applied to them.
There are various cool coats which are used to keep your dog’s body temperature down. If you choose these, please make sure your dog is comfortable wearing a coat.
Encourage your dog to lie on a cool mat, to help keep them cool in the house or car during the warm months.
Place a cool, damp towel underneath them for them to lie on - it is best not put a damp towel on your dog, as the water will create steam with the heat from their body and will warm them up instead of cooling them down.
Use desktop or free standing fans to keep the rooms in your house cool (build these up, gradually introducing them to your dog so that they don’t find the sound or sight scary).
If your dog enjoys water, then you can let them go for a swim or play; you can provide them with their own paddling pool in the garden or tubs of water. If you place treats or toys in, this will encourage them to pop their head or other body parts in.
If safe to do so, a swim in the sea, a pond or lake or river can be good fun for a water loving dog!
Having a game and a swim in the sea is cooling and good fun!
A nice swim in the river
Even dogs who don’t like swimming can enjoy a toe dip in the shallows!
Stuff your Kong’s and freeze them so that they are cooling on your dog’s mouth.
Put carrots in the fridge - a healthy and cool snack for your dog to chew on!
Put ice cubes in their water to cool it down or give them some to play with; some dogs enjoy licking them and chasing them around.
Get creative –and make your own dog friendly frozen treats!
Make some chicken stock (boil chicken wings in water for an hour, take the meat of the bones and throw the bones in the bin) and pour this in to ice cube molds.
Use ice lolly molds and pour some of your stock in, along with the bits of chicken meat, other dog treats or vegetables suitable for your dog’s dietary requirements. Freeze these (without the lolly stick) and give your dog his own ice lolly when you have your human ice cream!
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