Cool down doggy: how to keep your dog cool in summer

Liam Beauchamp

Unlike humans, dogs don't sweat through their skins, so rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose. Unfortunately, this isn't the most effective method of regulating body temperature and this is why dogs succumb to heatstroke so easily, so keeping our pets cool in the summer heat wave is incredibly important! Here we have a few hints and tips for keeping your four-legged safe from the heat this summer.

  • Don’t leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes. An open window or a windshield screen isn’t enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA, if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside a car. Dogs die this way every year – don’t let yours be one of them.
  • Don’t leave your dog in a glass conservatory or caravan. These can become greenhouses in the sunshine and it is just as dangerous as if you were to leave them in the car!
  • Do provide your dog with plenty of water, both in the house and on walks. If you are leaving your dog at home alone, make sure its bowl can’t be knocked over. Ensure you take a water bottle and bowl out on walks with you, and if you live with others, ensure all are aware to continuously top up their bowls at home.
  • Do keep one room in your house cool and well-ventilated by drawing curtains and opening windows if there is a breeze, so your dog can lie down there if it is getting hot. You could also invest in a cool pad. Cool pads work when either the weight of the dog or pressure is applied to the pad. The Cool Pad will maintain a slightly lower temperature than the surrounding temperature for up to 3 – 4 hours of constant use. It automatically recharges itself as your pet moves. These Cool Pads are ideal for use with beds, crates and travelling.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside all day in the hot weather. If it is unavoidable, ensure it has plenty of shade no matter where the sun is in the sky throughout the day and water at all times.
  • Do give dogs somewhere to cool themselves down in the garden. A doggy paddling pool is a great idea, allowing dogs to jump in and out for a quick relief from the heat. Be sure to put the pool in the shade so that the water does not heat up in the sun and encourage dogs to dry off inside or in the shade so that they don’t heat back up to quickly in the sunshine.
  • Don’t take your dog for a long walk in the heat of the day. Go in the early morning or late evening, and make the walk shorter than usual. (Remember to periodically offer them a drink!) Pavements get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.
  • Do apply pet sunscreen if your dog has a light-coloured nose or ears. Mammals burn just like humans, and can even develop skin cancer. Ensure you use a pet-safe sunscreen as some human ones can cause irritation to the more sensitive skin of dogs.
  • Do groom all breeds regularly. Removing shed and excess fur through regular grooming will help dogs feel more comfortable during the summer months.
  • Don’t ignore the signs of heatstroke. Common signs of heat stroke in pets include heavy panting; profuse salivation; a rapid pulse; very red gums/tongue; lethargy; lack of coordination; reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing; vomiting; diarrhoea; loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances. If your pet experiences ANY of these, seek veterinary advice immediately. Please take special care of flat-faced breeds such as pugs etc, as they will struggle with their breathing a lot more in the heat.

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