How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
Dogs run into trouble in hot weather quicker than humans. They are more susceptible to heatstroke and are unable to sweat like humans so they are likely to overheat really quickly. This means that dog owners need to be alert to problems and prevent their pets from getting overheated, especially in summer. Here are some practical ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather.
If you know there's likely to be hot weather, start planning ahead with some simple things to keep your dog cool. Arrange some shade in the garden away from any direct sunlight or let the dog lie in a cooler part of the house. Damp towels for the dog to lie on helps keep it cool. Filling a hot water bottle with cold water for the dog to lie on also helps reduce any heat. If you have a paddling pool, encourage your dog to use it to cool off.
Time Your Walks
In hot weather, walk your dog during the cooler part of the day. Imagine stepping barefoot onto payment on a hot day. A dog's paw gets the same sensation if you take it for a walk in the hottest part of the day and this can actually lead to burned feet. The dog will also find it incredibly hot to walk as they have their coat to consider. Your dog will thank you for that walk when the temperature has lowered such as in the early morning or in the evening.
Never Keep a Dog in a Hot Car
One of the quickest places for a dog to overheat is in a car with the windows shut. Each year dogs die because the owner left them in a car on a hot day. Take your dog with you or leave it at home. Even if you parked the car in the shade and left a window open it is insufficient to keep the dog safe. On a hot day, dog owners need to plan ahead to avoid this problem.
Water is Vital
Dogs need to drink lots of water in hot weather. Make sure your dog has a full bowl of cold water at home. If you go out, take a supply with you so the dog can get a drink easily. This helps prevent heatstroke and dehydration.
Making sure your dog gets clipped regularly will ensure it has a healthy coat and that any excess hair from winter has been trimmed. Brushing will get rid of dirt and knots in their hair. Matted fur will trap heat so it is really important to free these from your dog's coat so it stays cool. Another hazard of matted dog hair is that it is attractive to flies where they lay eggs and this then becomes irritating and sore.
Adapt Your Games
Play is really important to dogs and keeps them alert. In hot weather, you should avoid too much running around as it leads to overheating. There are other fun activities to do with dogs such as sniffing out treats or sitting exercises. Using the garden sprinkler or getting them to play with a toy near a paddling pool will also keep them cool. Freezing some dog food will also help keep them cool as it acts as an ice popsicle. Ice cubes containing your dog's favorite treat are another great way of staying cool on a hot day. Some dogs like to swim but always be wary of tides and hidden hazards in rivers and oceans.
Know How to Recognize Heatstroke
Dog owners must be able to recognize the signs of heatstroke early so they can get help for their pets. Look out for glazed eyes, excess panting, vomiting or diarrhea, a rapid pulse, lack of coordination, and collapse. if you see these signs, get your dog to a shady area immediately. Cool them with cold wet towels and give them water or an ice cube to lick. Never place them directly into icy cold water as it will shock them. If the dog does not improve you need to get them to a veterinarian immediately.
- Holly W