As the mercury rises, so does the risk of your dog developing heat exhaustion and even heatstroke, which can be life-threatening. Dogs can take a long time to acclimatise to changes in temperature, making those shock heatwaves and changeable summer conditions in Britain less than ideal for your four-legged companions.
According to veterinary advice, temperatures up to 19°C are usually safe for your dog; anything above this puts your dog in the danger zone. Dogs, unlike their owners, aren't able to regulate their temperature effectively due to a lack of sweat glands. All your dog can do is pant or sweat through their footpads and nose on a hot day to cool down, making heat-related health concerns an unfortunate likelihood during the summer, unless you take action.
Waterman's Country Supplies will take you through the very best ways to keep your dog as cool and safe as possible in hot weather.
#1. Always Plan Ahead
Whether it's a short dog walk in the summer or a full day at the beach, check the weather forecast. Even if you're not feeling uncomfortable your dog could be suffering without you realising. Always keep an eye on any temperature changes so you can take action well in advance of hitting that 19°C safety threshold.
If you know it's going to be a hot day, consider evening or early morning dog walks, but when temperatures reach that midday peak, avoid the hours between 10am - 3pm in extreme weather conditions. If it's a warm day and you're planning to walk your dog, choose routes with lots of shade or areas where you can break, rest and take on water.
#2. Always Have Water To Hand
Wherever your dog goes in warm weather, water should follow. Always have a large refillable bottle of water and a dog bowl either in your car or carried in a backpack. Make stops along the way to allow for drinking and even dousing their coat if necessary.
This Stainless Steel Bowl from House of Paws looks stylish and the bottom is covered with silicon to limit movement when your pet is eating or drinking.
#3. Schedule A Summer Groom
Frequent trips to the dog groomers for a close clip and trim will not only keep your pet looking smart, it will ensure they're as cool and comfortable as possible. Regularly hosing down and trimming your dog's coat is also helpful if either you or your animal suffers from hayfever. Dog hair can carry the likes of dust, pollen and other irritants which makes grooming a great solution for tackling both the summer heat and allergies.
#4. Never Leave Your Dog In The Car
It's probably the worst offence and one that you're all too aware of, but it's important to reiterate that your dog should be nowhere near your car in hot weather. You should also avoid car journeys as well as static stays in the car as both can prove to be too much for dogs in hot weather. If you have to travel, air conditioning should be on, window shades should be down and access to water should be easy and readily available. If you see a dog that has been left in a car on a hot day and it's showing signs of heatstroke, dial 999.
#5. Look Out For Signs Of Heatstroke
If your dog overheats and can't cool down, they can be at risk of fatal heatstroke. This can occur in warm weather or more extreme heatwaves so it's very important to know the signs and symptoms:
How Can You Tell If A Dog Is Too Hot?
More serious signs of heatstroke include:
You know your pet better than anyone, so if you notice anything out of the ordinary on a hot day, refer to a vet or take your dog to an emergency clinic as quickly as possible if you spot any symptoms of heatstroke.