Keeping your dogs cool in warmer weather is really important. Now that British Summer Time is officially here – well actually, it was a few weeks ago, but the Sun is out in all of her glory! But what does that mean for our dogs?
As an owners of two hairy German Shepherds, Cody and Prim, a little Patterdale, Paddy (black dog and sun worshipper) warmer days are always a cause of concern for me! Did you know our dogs sweat though their paws and pant to try and cool themselves down. The last thing we want, especially during lockdown, is a dog with heat stroke!
Heat stroke happens when a dog is no longer able to self – regulate and keep their temperature at a comfortable level. As with anything – prevention is better than cure. So here are some top tips to keep your dog’s cool and happy!
Well, you knew it was going to be in here guys – I’m a groomer! I cannot stress enough how much a well-maintained coat helps. It’s essential that the coat is completely matt free to allow their body heat to escape via their coat, any matts will trap the heat against the coat making it warmer. The coat acts as a protective barrier for dogs too, so clipping right down in the summer can be counterproductive. Also, with double coated breeds their undercoat needs to be raked out regularly. We’d always advise against clipping off a double coat as it can damaged the coat and make it thicker.
Lickimats/Kongs and treat dispensers
Our favourite friends – They’re perfect in the summer as a low arousal exercise that will keep your dog occupied. They can be stuffed/filled and frozen to make them last longer and they’re a bit like an ice lolly for your pup! You can freeze lots of snacks and treats in ice cube trays and keep your dog entertained. Dog, bone or paw print shaped ice cube trays are really and fun and saves you getting them confused an putting the wrong one in your G & T! There’s a common misconception that you can’t give you dogs frozen products. You absolutely can, as long as your dog is not showing any of the signs of heat stroke which we will come on to.
Water play is a great way to keep your dogs cool, even better if they’ll chill out in a paddling pool. Some dogs absolutely love to have a lay in the water, they cool themselves fastest by keeping their chest cool. The one thing to watch out for with water play is to make sure that your dog isn’t getting over excited and getting too hot. I’d avoid playing at all during the hottest hours of the day. It’s also important that your dog doesn’t ingest too much water, so if you have a dog (like Cody) who is constantly snapping at the hosepipe water then it’s best to avoid this type of play and just keep it slow and gentle. Whilst we’re on the subject of hosepipes, keep them away from your dog until you’ve ran the water through them and it’s cooled down, water sitting in the pipe can get really warm.
Cooling jackets and mats
Some dogs like them and some dogs don’t. I know for a fact that if I put a cool mat down near any of my dogs then they’d plonk themselves on the floor next to it rather than on it. It’s possibly worth testing with a wet towel first before you invest in one. Cooling jackets, are slightly different. You need to put these on a cool dog, so if you’re dog’s already warm don’t put it on as they can just make the dog hotter. You also have to watch cooling jackets and make sure they’re constantly rehydrated to be effective.
These are great and widely used in the agility world. They are usually silver so that they reflect the heat of the sun away, meaning they leave a nice shaded area under them. I tend to pop these up in the garden earlier in the morning so that it stays cooler under there throughout the day.
Keep walks to a minimum
Not hard at the moment, but walk your dog first thing or last thing when it’s cooled down. Chances are if it’s really hot, your dog won’t want to walk anyway! If the pavement is hot for you when you put your hand on it for a few seconds, it’ll be too hot to walk your dog on. The amount of dogs I saw being walked last summer in the midday heat was crazy – please don’t be that crazy person that makes me want to pull over and ask why you’re walking your dog. If you dog has to miss a few walks then so be it – their welfare is more important
Keep an eye on how much water your dog is drinking. They need to stay hydrated and you can do this by encouraging them to drink a little more such as adding a little water to their food. Adding a bit of kefir to a small amount of water (not a massive bowl so that they guzzle it all at once). Keep their water fresh and topped up and having bowls easily accessible and dotted around.
When your dog gets too hot there is an increased chance that they could develop heat stroke – here’s the key signs to keep a look out for;
Signs of heat stroke in dogs
- High body temperature (above 39 degrees)
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Glazed eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Bight red gums
- Increased pulse
- Excessive thirst
What to do if you think your dog has heat stroke:
- Call your vet
- Turn your air con on in your car to ensure it’s as cool as possible before putting your dog into it
- Move your dog to a cool area
- Put a cool fan on them
- Give small drinks of cool water. No ice
- Apply wet towels to the chest
- Take your dog to the vet – even if you think they have fully recovered.
Dogs that are at most risk of heatstroke are:
- Flat/squishy face breed (brachycephalic breeds) such as pugs, boston terriers, bulldogs, boxers
- Older dogs
- Over weight dogs
- Giant breeds
- Hairy and double coated breeds
I hope you’ve enjoyed out blog and found it informative for keeping your dog nice and cool in the summer. So far it’s been a beautiful one and long may it continue.
If you’re concerned about your home maintenance routine then please don’t hesitate to give us a call 07467 394567 or take a look at our spa packages