We know this is Britain so the term “summer” can be misleading, but with the warmer weather upon us MyPawsOn.com wants to share our top tips to keep dogs cool through the next few months.
Are YOU and YOUR dog ready for summer ?
We have some creative tips to keep dogs cool. Along with some tried and tested advice.
Why it’s important to keep dogs cool
Our furry friends can’t cool down as easily as humans. Panting is their way of keeping cools. As they can’t sweat through all of their skin they rely on their paws and nose to control temperature and keep cool. In addition they are technically wearing a fur coat, which contributes to over heating.
Once a dog shows signs of heatstroke the damage is often already done, which is why it’s so important to prevent it.
What are the signs of heatstroke
Any dog can feel uncomfortable in hot weather and all dog owners need to be aware of the signs of heatstroke. Common signs include:
- panting heavily
- wobbling and having trouble standing up
- bright red gums
Which dogs struggle more in the heat
Some dogs will struggle more than others on hot days. These dogs might need a bit of extra attention in warmer weather to stay hydrated.
Dogs with breathing difficulties
Dogs with flat faces and shorter snouts, such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekingese, often have breathing difficulties. If your dog snores or snorts this is a sign they’re are likely to have these problems. While they may cope most of the time, hot weather can make breathing more difficult for them. If your dog demonstrates breathing problems you need to be extra vigilant in hot weather.
Dogs with thick coats
Pooces with thicker coats will get hot more quickly and be less able to cool down than dogs with shorter fur. Breeds like Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Huskies or Chow Chows might need extra help cooling down during a heatwave. It is particularly important to keep on top of grooming with these breeds. Most dog groomers will be able to offer a “summer cut” for your dog.
Large dog breeds
Big dogs can struggle to keep themselves cool simply because of their larger size. Giant breeds include Irish Wolfe hounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, or St Bernards.
Older dogs or dogs with ongoing health problems
Older dogs and dogs with health problems are generally more sensitive to hot weather and could overheat more easily. You might consider specialist advice from your VET if your dog is recovering from illness.
Carrying extra weight already puts your dog’s whole body under additional strain. That can make a big difference when they’re trying to cool themselves down, so try and get that weight off. Read our article on avoiding obesity in dogs for some tips on how to get the excess weight off.
The basic rules to keep dogs cool
Dogs and cars
It goes without saying that you should NEVER leave a dog unattended in a car. Did you know, when it is 20 degrees outside it can reach temperatures of over 50 degrees in a car.
If you absolutely do have to take your dog in the car, make sure the windows are open and you are parked in shade.
Think about buying a canine cooler mat. These are amazingly effective and if your dog has to travel in the back of the car, they can really help. As an alternative, a damp towel will also help a dog stay cooler.
Tinted windows do offer a little extra protection.
Keep the air conditioning on. However,remember it will not be as effective in the back of the car.
Ensure your dog always has access to plenty of fresh water.
Take a bottle with you when you go for a walk.
Leave a bottle and a bowl in your car to make sure you always have some to hand.
Try and go for your walk before or after the strongest sunshine. If your dog is used to walking at a certain time, think about moving that time a little each day before it gets too hot.
Stay on the shady side of the street.
Allow plenty of rest time and limit running after balls.
Consider taking shorter walks more frequently.
Remember your dog is not wearing shoes so don’t make them walk on hot pavements.
If possible, find a shady route or woodland walk. If your dog likes the water, head for the river or seaside so they can have a splash around. You will find loads of good dog walks on our walks page.
Practical ways to keep dogs cool
Is your dog due for a summer hair cut ? You can always find a dog groomer in your area on our dog business page.
Brushing your dog to remove loose hairs can help. If your dog will let you, a good hoovering with the nozzle can get rid of dead fur.
Make sure your dog always has a shady spot to rest. Dogs can get sunburn too. If you don’t have any shade, consider getting a parasol for your dog to lie under.
Dogs can get comfort from laying on a wet towel.
Try and keep at least one room cool in the house. Avoid direct sunlight and keep blinds or curtains closed. Create a draught if you can. Install a cooler floor surface, like tiles. Perhaps instal a fan or some air conditioning.
Treat your dog to a cool pad or vest.
Fun ways to keep dogs cool
If your dog likes water, why not invest in a paddling pool. They are quite cheap from most supermarkets and you can dip your toes in too.
A quick spray with the hose can be fun and help your dog to cool down.
Let your dog bob for balls in a bucket of water.
Most dogs will enjoy an ice cube so when your making your G&T spare a few cubes for the dog. You could even get dog shaped cubes for a bit of fun.
Creative ways to keep dogs cool
Tie a bag of ice cubes round your dogs collar.
A wet t-shirt will keep your dog a few degrees cooler and it keeps the UV rays off too.
Grow a patch of longer grass in your garden for your dog to lie in.
Get your dog a sunbed to keep those paws off the floor.
Freeze some chunks of water melon for your dog to chew. (You must get rid of the pips first)
Make some fun frozen pupsicles or ice cream for your dog. Billy and Margot do a tasty range.