Summer is in full swing, and the heatwave looks to continue. It is important to remember that many dogs do not like the heat and they can quickly become uncomfortable and overheat. We humans can remove our clothes when we’re feeling hot, but our dogs can’t escape their fur coats.
Several factors can affect how your dog copes with sunny days and high temperatures. These include:
Having a short nose breed
Your dog being overweight
Has previously suffered from heatstroke
Has either respiratory or heart disorders
Has a black hairy, thick coat
Suffers from dehydration
If your dog wears a muzzle, making it more difficult to pant
Keeping cool on walks
Try and walk your dog early in the morning and late in the evening when the sun has gone down. Also, keep to shaded routes.
If possible, allow your dog to spend the hottest part of the day in the house where you can try to make him as comfortable and cool as possible.
Keep one room in your house cool and well ventilated
Your dog will be quite happy to lie down and rest in a room with the curtains closed, providing some much needed shade from the sunshine. Leave a window open, or lock open the double glazing units around the house to allow a breeze to circulate. If you have a freestanding fan, set it to blow a low breeze over the top of where the dog usually lies. Try not to use too many appliances in the home that produce heat, such as the clothes dryer, dishwasher, oven and hob. What a perfect excuse to have a BBQ outdoors.
Regularly grooming your dog so you remove all the excess loose hair etc will help your dog to keep cool.
These are available from places like Amazon and Pets at Home and contain a cooling gel that will give some relief to a hot dog.
Alternatively, you could also try to lay a damp towel onto the kitchen floor, and persuade your pet to lie on this to cool him down. Do not cover your dog with a damp towel as this can create a sauna effect.
Leave a bowl of cool, fresh water
Check your dog’s water bowl frequently, and provide him with plenty of fresh water, in a bowl that he’s unable to knock over and even leave several around the house.
Another great idea is to regularly add ice cubes to the water to keep it cool.
Chilled or frozen treats will help to cool your dog down, but not too many at once.
Freeze his favourite toys for some cooling playtime!
Dogs generally love water especially when it’s warm. Why not look at getting a small paddling pool that your dog can have a paddle in to cool down.
If your dog likes a Kong then why not freeze it. One of my dog's favourites is to ¾ fill the Kong with either peanut butter (check it is safe for dogs) or with cream cheese and then put it in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Another favourite of my dogs is homemade bone broth then frozen ice cubes. So next time you have a chicken put all the bones etc in a slow cooker ideally with a little bit of Apple Cider vinegar and water and cook on low for 12 – 24 hours. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Warning signs to look out for
Heat stroke in dogs can be a life threatening situation. Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, moving around lethargically, seeming woozy and loss of consciousness. If you notice any of these serious symptoms, contact your Vet urgently.
This is a guest blog by one of our many animal community friends. It has not been written by The Finchley Vet staff. We love to showcase other people's work as we think it makes things more interesting for you, our readers, however, it does mean that we have not checked any of the facts and any opinions are those of the author and not of the Finchley Vet, or Local Vet Ltd.