How to Keep Your Dog Cool In Summer
With the cold weather on its way out and lockdown subsiding, many are optimistic that they can make up for the lost time of last summer in the coming months. Now we’re going to spend a lot more time out of the house than we did in the summer months last year, chances are we will be taking our fluffy friends with us too.
However, this may well be your first summer with your dog, or due you may just want to understand more about what the heat can do to man’s best friend.
Well, to put it abruptly, unfortunately, dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within mere minutes. Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their temperature in a desperate attempt to keep cool. Imagine yourself wearing a thick, fury coat on a hot summer’s day and you’ll understand why dogs struggle to deal with heatstroke so easily.
So, What Are The Signs Of Heatstroke?
Signs of heatstroke in dogs include collapse, unresponsiveness or a real reluctance to move. These are very serious signs that are mean your dog is already struggling significantly. If you suspect your pet is suffering from the condition, maybe because of less obvious symptoms such as excessive panting or dribbling, then move them to a cool place, wet their coat with cool – but very importantly not freezing - water, and contact your vet immediately.
Once a dog shows signs of heatstroke the damage is often already done, which is why it’s so important to look for the early signs to prevent it.
So, how can I prevent it?
Swimming is excellent exercise for dogs and a fantastic alternative to walking in the summer heat. Dogs that love to swim will often look for salvation from the heat in the cooler water when they come across it.
Letting your retriever gallop down to the water and into the muddy waters can often be a gutrenching site on a cold winters day. However, the reassurance that swimming is benefiting their body temperature in the summer will soften the blow of the wet dog smell you’ve gotten so used to. This, along with the super absorbent pet towel by Sph2onge ready to dry them off and get them clean when they get out is a trusty combination to leave you smiling while your dog enjoys a lovely paddle.
However, remember not all dogs like to swim, so if yours doesn’t then don’t force them purely because you think it might keep them cool. There are other alternatives!
My Dog Doesn’t Like Swimming, What Can I do?
An easy one to start- make sure your dog has access to clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the top. If you are out and about, carry more water than you normally would as they may quickly tire themselves out and require a top up.
On hot days, walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening- dusk and dawn if possible.
Keep a constant eye on your pet. Well, you don’t have to be watching them like a hawk every second of the day, but just check in on them regularly if they’re not being supervised. Watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. Spotting these signs early could make a vital difference in stopping things turning worse than they have to.
Cars are often a dogs worst enemy when it comes to heatstroke. Never leave your dog alone in a car, even with the windows open. An enclosed space such as a car can become very hot, very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm.
Treat your dog more! Make cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer. You also wont feel guilty giving them too many for good behaviour when they’re making a real difference and keeping their mouth area cold and their overall body temperature slightly lower.
Respect which breed you have! Different dogs have different needs and different thresholds. Be particularly careful if you have short nosed dogs such as bull breeds, boxers, pugs. Whichever type of dog you have, you also have to account for their age as older dogs are much more susceptible to heat related issues. These dogs can get heatstroke simply by running around.
To Conclude!You may well have read this and now be scared out of your skin thinking about letting your dog within an inch of sunlight. Well don’t be! Just like ourselves, we have to respect our dogs time in the sun. Follow our easy guide and your pooch can have a sun-filled summer together with it’s owner!