With the heat in the UK reaching record highs this summer it’s not just we who suffer, our canine friends do too. If your dog/s are anything like my tribe, they love nothing more than rambling along in the countryside sniffing out new exciting smells or having a swim along the south’s beautiful coast. This is all great but what should we be considering when out and about with our dogs in the hot weather and how do we keep them safe?
In the heat only walk your dog in the coolest part of the day. Before you set out do the pavement test. If it’s too hot to keep your palm down for 5 seconds it is definitely too hot for your dog’s pads. Carry water and frequently offer a drink to your dog.
Who doesn’t love a quick dip in the sea on a hot day? Bumble and Pebble my chocolate labs love swimming and sometimes I will join them if I am brave enough! Make sure if your dog is swimming in the sea that there are no dangerous currents as even the strongest swimmers can be swept away. The last thing you want is to do a Baywatch esque leap into the sea putting yourself in danger at the same time! If your dog is new to swimming you might want to start them off with the humble paddling pool in the garden or a river which isn’t too fast flowing or deep. If you are unsure of your dogs swimming ability use a long line so you have ultimate control. If your dog is swimming in a river, make sure that the banks aren’t too high, so they are able to climb out.
Known as hyponatremia this occurs when a dog swallows excessive amounts of water. It is quite rare but can be fatal.
It is usually caused by dogs taking in too much water when they are either diving in and out for a long period or fetching things from the water.
Signs can be bloating, vomiting, excessive salivation, glazed eyes, loss of coordination and pale gums. If the condition is severe then the dog may start to show difficulty breathing, seizures, collapse, coma and very sadly death. Please contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any of these symptoms.
We all know that regular grooming keeps our canine friends looking and feeling great.
In the hot weather it is especially important to pay attention to brushing. Heavy or double coated dogs in particular need their undercoat brushing out. This will ensure that air can get to the skin, helping to keep our dogs cool and prevent dirt and moisture being trapped, thus helping to prevent skin irritation.
Matting doesn’t improve after a dip in the river or sea! Brush often to keep knots to a minimum, and wash off with clean water when you get home after a great day out (and your groomer will love you for it and shower you with treats)
Just like us humans our canine friends can get sunburn and some breeds are more susceptible than others, especially those with pink skin/or thin coats. Some breeds that can be affected are bulldogs, Dalmations, Beagles and Whippets.
Use pet safe sunscreen and cover their most vulnerable areas such as nose, tips of the ears, belly and any bare or shaved patches. Investing in protective clothing for your dog can also help such as cool mats and cool jackets which are widely available online and in pet shops.
Heatstroke in dogs
The only way they can lose heat is either sweating through their paws or panting. Overweight dogs or those with a thick undercoat are more in danger of heatstroke. Keep an eye on your dog and watch out for how they are coping in the heat.
Dogs must not be left in a car even for a few minutes, even with windows open. In the shade a car can heat up extremely quickly. Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke call your vet immediately. Make sure you move them to a cooler area and try and bring the dog’s temperature down by giving them a cool bath and offering a drink of water. Make sure that the water isn’t ice cold as this could bring your dog into shock. Direct a fan onto your dog and talk to them calmly until you can get to a vet.