While this part of the world isn’t always known for hot weather, we can certainly get some scorching spells from time to time. Our dogs are often outdoors a lot during the summer months, going on walks and constantly running after balls.
While this is great fun for them, they can overheat very easily (especially if they’re having too much fun to take a break!) Heat stroke can be fatal, so it’s extremely important to keep them comfortable and hydrated during hot weather.
In this article, we’ll share some practical tips on how to keep dogs cool in summer, as well as how to spot the telltale signs of heatstroke.
Fresh, cold drinking water
Keeping your dog well-hydrated is the first step in keeping them cool and comfortable during a heat wave. At home, you can freeze their water bowl before filling it or add ice cubes throughout the day.
If you’re heading out and about for the day, bring a collapsible travel bottle or bowl and give your dog sips of water at regular intervals. You can also bring frozen treats in a freezer bag and dole them out at regular intervals.
Water to play and cool down in
If you’re relaxing in the garden, you can fill an inflatable paddling pool with cold water and let your dog splash about to its heart’s content. Bonus points if you have garden sprinklers!
If you’re going on a day trip, see if you can find somewhere with a beach or lake to let your dog cool down.
A cooling mat or wet towel
Another easy way to keep your dog cool in summer is to provide a cooling mat for them to lie down on. You can also wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it in their bed, or simply drape a soaking wet towel over them.
A shaded area to rest
Dogs will always seek out a cool, shady area to lie down in. If your garden doesn’t have a suitable space, you can create one using a tarp, a portable sun shade, a patio umbrella, or a pop-up canopy.
You can also buy a shaded pet bed, which provides a cool, comfortable, elevated place to rest during hot weather.
Cooling collar or vest
If you want to enjoy a summer hike with your canine companion, you’ll need to bring lots of water and take plenty of rest stops along the way. You can also buy a cooling collar, which works in the same way as a cooling mat. This will help keep your dog cool and comfortable for a few hours, making it the perfect hiking accessory during hot spells.
Another great option is a cooling vest, which transfers heat from your dog’s body to the environment through evaporation.
Avoid high sun time
The temperature tends to be highest in the middle of the day, so try to avoid taking your dog outside during this time. If possible, go out for walks and playtime in the mornings and evenings instead.
Never leave your dog in a parked car
It is absolutely vital that you never, ever leave your dog in the car on a summer’s day. Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can rise incredibly fast, even if it’s parked in the shade.
Always have a plan in place for rest stops when travelling with your pooch, and keep the air conditioning on at all times.
More frequent grooming in summer
Your dog will benefit from more regular grooming in the summer months, particularly if they have a long or shaggy coat.
Plan your walk route carefully
Your dog’s paws are tough but very sensitive to heat, so always check the temperature of the ground before heading off on a walk.
If it feels uncomfortably warm, then you’ll need to reassess your route and seek out a grassy or wooded area instead. Even a short walk on a very hot day can put your dog at risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal.
How to identify the signs of heat stroke
Heat stroke occurs when your dog cannot cool down its body temperature. It can happen very quickly in warm weather, even if the dog isn’t exercising or in direct sunlight. Even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep your dog cool this summer, always keep an eye out for the signs of heat stroke.
Signs that your dog is overheating can include:
- Heavy panting
- Loss of coordination
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Excessive drooling
- Foaming at the mouth
- Shaking or seizures
If you spot any of these signs, contact your vet straight away. Move your dog to a cool, shady spot and place them on top of a wet towel or cooling mat if possible. Give them small sips of cool water and pour some over their head, ears, paws and armpits.
It may be tempting to use freezing or very cold water but this can cause your dog to go into shock, so just stick to cool water.
While you’re on your way to the vet, continue keeping your dog as cool and comfortable as possible.
Keep dogs cool – all summer long
Heat stroke isn’t the only thing that could ruin your dog’s fun in the sun. Fleas and ticks are also more common at this time of year, so make sure you stock up on VetIQ Flea Guard Flea & Tick Repellant Powder to help your dog stay itch-free all summer.
Here at Mark + Chappell, we love our pets and we want you to have as much knowledge as possible to keep your dog safe, healthy, and happy all year long. That’s why we regularly update our blog with tips and advice, and we offer a wide range of veterinary-approved products from skincare to supplements.
Be prepared this summer and enjoy the warm weather with your furry friends!