Dogs in hot weather
Right then, listen up, we’re going to tell you everything we know about dogs in hot weather and how to help keep us safe. First off, for the human doubters, try two things – go and stand outside in the sun in a fur coat and see how long it is before you are sweltering. Secondly, put your hand palm down on hot concrete and see how long it is before it blisters. If that hasn’t made you realise how hard it can be for your four-legged pals then there’s no hope for you.
Different breeds are more or less suited to different climates
Some breeds cope with heat better than others. Even within a breed some dogs cope better than others. In all events it is better to err on the side of caution than to take a risk. A dog with a thick coat is less likely to cope than a hairless one – but don’t forget we can all get sunburnt on exposed flesh just the same as you can.
Don’t exercise in the heat
Some people say go early or late. However, early and late can be hot too. Of course, strong direct sunlight is worst of all, but remember that the ground retains heat, so walking in an evening may seem fine to you, but may still be very warm underpaw. It will not do us any harm to have a day off walking or even a few days. Give us some indoor brain game time and we will be just as happy as going for a walk. We hit our max at about 24 degrees. Anything over that and we find it hard. Shadow, now she’s old can’t even cope with that. It’s just like humans, the elderly find regulating their heat harder.
Ice in water
Put some ice in our water, to help keep it cool for longer. Replenish it regularly. Warm stale water is not very refreshing on a hot day. Don’t leave our bowl out in the sun where it will warm up. That is especially the case outside.
Cool mat / Cool coat / Wet towel / Carry water
If you can afford it, buy a cool mat for us to lie on. It will help to dissipate our extra heat. A cool coat can be good if you do have to go out. You pour water on them and that keeps us cooler and panting less. At home a wet towel can be good. Refresh it regularly.
If you do have to go out then make sure you care carrying lots of water for us. Give us regular drinks.
Don’t play ball with dogs in hot weather
Don’t play games with us outside in the sun instead of going for a walk. Some dogs such as our breed just don’t know when to stop and even playing on grass it will be far too hot very quickly. Don’t be afraid to let us just chill out for the day.
Be careful if you’re sunbathing
If you have a dog who always wants to be close to you then be careful about sunbathing. The risk is that if you sit out in the sun, your dog will sit out there with you, even if they are uncomfortably warm. Your dog’s desire to be with you is greater than their sense to find shade
Car fans don’t always reach the boot
If you are out in the car and you have the fan turned up because the car feels unbearable, you might find we are struggling if we are in the boot. Airflow does not always reach the back of a car effectively. If the sun is beating down on the back window and we are in a crate in the boot it can get very warm. Also, the metal of the crate can get hot, so if you are returning to a hot car, give time for the crate to cool before you ask your dog to get in.
Never leave dogs in the car in hot weather
Never leave dogs in the car in hot weather – NEVER. Not for five minutes. Not while you nip in a shop. Not while you go to the service station. Cars heat up very quickly. The best way to get airflow to your dog is to have a tailgate lock, which will lock the boot in the open position. However, if you do this you still need to think about our security and that of your car. If you are travelling long distance and need a loo break then go to the petrol station and park under the canopy in the shade. Fill up with fuel and use the toilet when you go to pay.
Paddling pools can be great for dogs in hot weather
In the garden a paddling pool can be a great way for a dog to cool off. Put it in the shade so the water doesn’t get hot. Sadly our pool was eaten by mice, so think about where you store it in the winter.
If your humans have a garden table they are likely to be sitting at, ask them to put up a patio umbrella for you to sit under, so you can be nearby. Ask them to put it up early, so the ground underneath it doesn’t get too hot. Better still, put your cool mat there to lie on.
You can ask your humans to use a Kong or bone to fill with treats and put in the freezer so it’s nice and cold. Anything from frozen yoghurt and kibble, to water melon can be refreshing on a hot day.
Get a fan
If the weather is going to be hot for a while then get a fan. Obviously if you all sit close together in front of the fan it will defeat the object so you may need your own.
Hard floors can help. Inside the house where it is shady, a stone or wood floor can provide a welcome place to lie on a hot day.
Watch for discomfort
If your dog is confused, panting heavily, walking in circles – amongst other things then they may be suffering from heatstroke. It is serious and you need to take action immediately.
Also check the pads of their paws to make sure they haven’t burnt their paws. It can be very painful.
Take care and enjoy the summer together safely.