Summer is well and truly upon us, and as the days heat up it’s important to take extra care of your beloved furry friend. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat through their skin to regulate their body temperature. Instead, they pant and release heat through their noses and paw pads.
Here are some tips to keep your dog cool in the summer heat:
1. Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest parts of the day, rather stick to the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler outside. Taking your dog to a lake or beach can be an excellent way to give them both exercise and relief from the heat.
2. Avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces such as sand, concrete, artificial grass, or asphalt. Dogs' paws are sensitive and can burn easily, causing a lot of pain and potentially leading to infection.
Use the Five Second Method to test the ground before allowing your dog to walk on it. If the surface is too hot for your hand when held on it for five seconds, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
3. Leave a damp towel, ice pack, or cooling mat around to give them a cool space to rest and subsequently, help lower their body temperature.
4. Dogs have a natural cooling system and for some dogs, their coat has a crucial role in this. For dogs with naturally heavy coats, a trim before summer will allow excess heat to escape their bodies, helping them to stay cooler. However, a summer trim isn’t necessary for dogs with naturally short-haired coats such as Boxers or Boston Terriers.
5. Ensure your dog has a cool, shaded, and well-ventilated area to rest.
It is best to leave your dog at home rather than take them in the car. And, if they do come along on your adventures - never, under any circumstances, leave them unattended in a car. Dogs can get heatstroke and can die in as little as six minutes when left alone in a hot car.
6. And last, but certainly not least, never let your dog go without access to clean and fresh water at all times. Add ice blocks to the water to keep it cool. You may want to consider purchasing a pet water fountain to encourage your dog to drink more water.
By following these tips you can ensure your dog remains cool, comfortable and safe this summer.
Be aware of the signs of heatstroke this summer: restlessness, extreme thirst, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, dark tongue, frantic panting, lethargy, extreme salivation and uncoordinated movements.