As we are expecting a heatwave this week in the UK, we thought we would share a few tips on how to keep your dog cool this summer.
Make sure fresh and preferably cool water is readily available at all times. It is best to keep the bowl in a shaded area so that it stays nice and cool throughout the day. A paddling pool is a great source of water and also allows them to get in and wet their fur. Plus it’s great fun!
Shelter and shade
Make sure there are plenty of places for your dog to get away from the sun. Shade from a tree or building is suitable but a closed structure is even better for helping your dog to cool down and stay out of the heat whether you give them access to the house, a dog shed or an open-air tent in the garden.
If you know it is due to be a warm day then try to schedule your daily walks for early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler. Try to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. Also, pavements are likely to become very hot during the day which can burn your dog’s paws. If you are taking a day trip, try to keep them out of the sun for as long as possible and give them plenty of shaded breaks and water to ensure that they do not get overheated or sunburnt. If your dog has thin fur or pink skin on their nose, ears, belly or groin then it is best to apply sun cream to ensure these sensitive parts do not get burnt. Any dog can become sunburnt but a few breeds are particularly susceptible such as Boxers, Staffies, Bull Terriers, Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers. However, it is not always a good idea to use human sun lotion as many contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs if ingested. You can buy sunscreen for dogs or sunblock designed for babies or sensitive skin may be fine as long as it is not licked off. It is also wise to protect your dog’s eyes and there are many doggie sunglasses on the market.
Dog beds are usually cosy and fleecy for a good night’s sleep, however they can also be very warm! Consider investing in a cooling dog bed or supply a wet towel for them to lie on so that they have somewhere nice and cool to have a nap.
Although a fan is a great way to supply a nice breeze, regular fans don’t have the same cooling effect on pets as they do for us. The best way to cool your dog down is to get your dog nice and wet! You can try putting water on their underbody which will help bring down their body temperature or buy a misting fan that dampens the fur.
If you are travelling with your dog on a hot day, make sure you bring plenty of bottled water and a travel bowl and stop regularly to give him access to it.
Never leave your dog in a hot car.
Dog’s do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating like we do. Instead, dogs pant to help them to circulate cool air through their bodies and with lots of fur it’s the equivalent to wearing a big, heavy coat! In a closed space with no air flow, such as a car, a dog will not be able to get enough fresh, cool air to help them regulate their temperature. Dogs can become dangerously overheated inside of a parked vehicle which can potentially lead to dehydration, sunstroke, and even death. Even when the outside temperature is just 20°C, the temperature inside a closed car in the sun can rise to 45°C in a matter of minutes.
Dogs that are overweight, have a thick, heavy coat or have a brachycephalic muzzle (squashed nose) will overheat faster than other dogs.
We hope you have found these tips helpful and hope you have a safe summer in the sun!