Now that summer’s arrived, we’re excited to have plenty of adventures with our companions?! However, summertime means heat stress - and it’s something we need to prepare for.
Heat stroke in dogs, heat exhaustion, and dehydration are very serious dangers. In fact, they can lead to brain damage, organ failure, and even death.
So today’s blog will help you understand why your dog experiences heat differently from you…including tips to help keep them cool during summer.
Did you know certain dogs are more prone to heat stroke than other dogs?
- For example, brachycephalic dogs (short-muzzled, flat face breeds) already have restricted breathing, so extreme heat can affect their breathing.
- Obese dogs - they are carrying extra fat, meaning they carry unwanted insulation!
- Dogs with dark coats, solar radiation is absorbed more (rather than being reflected).
3 reasons why dogs suffer during the summer heat
- As humans, we can seek out cooler areas, open doors and generally move if we feel uncomfortably warm. More often than not, dogs will stay where they are put - some dogs simply won't move, so bear this in mind.
- We remove unnecessary clothing to cool off, but dogs have their fur coats to put up with!
- We sweat to remove the heat from our bodies (as this water evaporates), but dogs don’t sweat or lose heat like this.
Aside from the heat itself, other problems to consider are paw burn, wasp & bee stings, ticks, fleas & mites. So now onto the 5 tips to keep your dog cool this summer.
5 tips to ensure your dog has a fun-filled, cooler summer
- Drinking & Feeding
Make sure they have access to fresh clean water (for drinking and showering)! Keeping your dog hydrated is one of the most important things for keeping your dog cool - it’s an obvious one, but important. Remember your dog’s portable drinking bowl and water bottle if you’re heading out. Chances are, your dog will appear less interested in food. And because your dog is doing less running around in the summer heat, they’re not using as much energy.
EXTRA TIP: Try ice cubes made with low-salt chicken stock for a treat.
- Dehydration - signs to look for
Skin elasticity is a sure sign, so here’s a simple check. Gently pick an area of skin on their back into a fold, it should return back into place once you let go. When the skin stays up in a ridge, it’s a sign of dehydration. Other sure signs, aside from a severe lack of energy, are dryness of the mouth, sunken eyes, circulatory collapse.
- Change your dog’s activity routine
Are you a lunchtime or early afternoon dog walker? Consider taking them out for some daily exercise early morning and early evening as this avoids the peak heat! If your schedule is rigid, plan your route somewhere with maximum shade - somewhere close to some water is perfect for a doggy paddle.
- Look after your dog’s paws
Dogs enjoy the sun like we do, but don’t let them sit there and bake themselves. Remember to test the surface with your own hands or feet to gauge whether it’s too hot or not. As a test, place the back of your hand on the surface, if it’s too hot, then it’s too hot for your pooch!
EXTRA TIP: The tips of their ears, nose, forehead and areas of fur you can feel getting hot all need sunblock to protect them from the UV rays!
- Visit your dog’s groomer
Whilst a nice fur trim looks neat and tidy, it’s also VERY practical during the hot summer months. If your dog’s a breed or mix that would benefit from regular trims, get it done. Your pooch will thank you for taking that extra layer off!