As most will be aware, at the time of writing this post temperatures in the UK are at a long time high with weather consistently reaching the mid to high 20's. Although this may be great for us humans, for dogs it can cause all sorts of problems. We have put together a comprehensive guide on how to protect your dog during the warm months.
What does heat do to a dog?You may not know this but dogs can't sweat through the skin the way in which a human does. They rely on panting to cool down, as well as releasing heat through their nose in order to regulate the body temperature. Dogs do have a small amount of sweat glands in the paw pads however they only help a minimal amount. Given a large amount of dogs have a thick coat in order to keep them warm in the winter, this means that they can suffer badly with heat in a very short space of time.
What is heatstroke?Heatstroke is a silent killer in dogs in the summertime, with it only taking minutes for a dog to sucumbe to high temperatures. Most cases of heatstroke in dogs are caused through carelessness, such as leaving a dog in a car or not giving the dog a shaded area to rest during the high heat of the day. The early signs of that your dog is suffering from heatstroke is excessive panting and any signs that the dog may be uncomfortable. If you think that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, it is very important that you remove the dog for the current environment and find somewhere cool for the dog. If the dog is unconscious you should try to cool the dog down without the use of water near the nose or mouth as this could lead to drowning. You should run a cool bath or shower over the dog immediately, making sure the water isn't too cold and then seek veterinary advice. Preventing heatstroke is very simple:
- Always ensure your dog has a shaded area it can rest in
- Always ensure your dog has access to clean water - if you are planning on travelling out with your dog, ensure that you take water with you.
- Never leave your dog in an area which can quickly become overheated such as a car or confined room in the house/garden where heat can quickly build.
- Small regular amounts of water is great,but avoid letting your dog drink large amounts in one go as this increases the chance of a torsion due to overloading his stomach.
Dog walking and exercise in hot weatherAs all dog owners know, walking your dog and exercise in general is very important in ensuring your dog stays fit and healthy. You should always however follow a few simple steps to ensure that your dog is comfortable:
- Avoid walking your dog during the hotter parts of the day. Providing you are able to, a walk early morning and late evening would be best for the dog
- If you are unable to walk your dog during the cooler periods, missing one days walk will have a far less impact on the dog than walking the dog in the blazing heat. Play with the dog indoors to ensure it is stimulated throughout the day in replacement of the walk should you need to
- As with human skin, dogs paws can burn with direct contact to heat. Always avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces. Burnt paw pads are extremely painful for dogs and can lead to further complications.
- Take your dog somewhere with access to drinking water, if you are unable to take any with you
- A fantastic way to keep your dog cool is to find somewhere the dog can have a swim. This will ensure the dog is kept cool but can also have fun. Dogs swimming naturally comes with its own hazards, which we will discuss on another post.
Coat care and sunburnAgain, as with humans dog can suffer from sunburn, particularly dogs with pale skin. To ensure that your dog is kept safe always ensure that you are not walking your dog during the highest heat of the day. You can now purchase sunblock for dogs, which is a great way to protect your dogs most vulnerable skin areas should you need to. During summer and particularly hot months, looking after your dog's coat is extremely important to ensuring that the dog can remain comfortable throughout the hotter parts of the day, but can also keep warm in the cooler periods. Ensuring that dogs coat is well groomed, tangle free and generally in good conditions will allow the dog skin to access more air, therefore cooling down the dog quicker.
Dog housingIf you have a large garden, we would always recommend that you have a kennel for your dog which has access to both sun and shade. Depending on the size of the dog, a dog kennel such as this may be the most appropriate - this is of course dependant on the space your have available. For smaller areas, an insulated dog cabin can be fantastic to allow your dog to keep cool, in the shade. If you have any questions relating to how to protect your dog in the summer, dog housing or anything not mentioned in this post get in touch with us and one of our specialist team will be able to help.
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