5 tips to make sure your dog stays safe in a heatwave
sophisticated temperature regulation system and some breeds, in particular, can really struggle with
warm weather. But the good news is that there are some really simple steps that you can take to ensure your dog stays cool and safe during a heat wave, to prevent any unnecessary emergency vet trips.
1. Don’t walk your dog in the midday sun
This doesn’t just mean at 12 o’clock, depending on the temperature on a particular day this might mean several hours before or after. Puppies, flat-faced breeds and those with very dark or
thick coats struggle more than others, so extra care is needed if your dog has any of the above
characteristics. If it is expected to be a particularly hot day get up early to take your dog out
ahead of the sunrise and before the pavements have a chance to become hot and burn your dog’s
pads. To check whether the tarmac is too hot for walking on place your hand on it for a couple of
seconds, if it is too hot for your palm it is too hot for their pads!
2. Keep your dog cool throughout the day
Use paddling pools, your Mud Daddy shower filled with cooled water, cooling pads and cold, wet
towels to ensure their body temperature stays regulated. Freezing a Mud Daddy lick mat is
another simple way of cooling a hot dog. Keep them out of direct sun and encourage them to lie
in the shade if you are in the garden with them. Ensure they have a regular supply of cold water
and are keeping themselves hydrated. Some dogs need encouragement to drink enough water and
freezing treats into ice cubes is an easy way of getting fluids into their system.
3. Look out for signs of heat stress in your dog
Panting is a sign that your dog is trying to cool themselves down. Dogs can’t sweat properly so they use panting as a way of trying to regulate their body temperature.
Lethargy or dizziness are also signs that your dog has had too much sun. If your dog begins refusing food or starts vomiting this is often a sign of heat stroke setting in. It is important to call your vet as soon as you notice any signs which are concerning you if your dog has been exposed to too much heat.
4. Don’t leave your dog in the car if it is hot. This even includes if the windows are open. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to become so hot
that it can kill a dog, even with the windows open on a hot day. If you have to travel with your dog ensure that they are shaded in the car and are lying on a cool mat. Regularly offer them cool water to drink and have the air conditioning on in the direction of your dog if you have it.
5. Keep exercise low-key when it is cool enough to walk your dog don’t exert them too much. High-intensity exercise uses further bodily resources and increases body temperature. Exercise can often trigger temperature-related illnesses and cause heat exhaustion so a gentle potter on a long lead is the best course of action. If possible, walk your dog around a natural water source such as a stream or river and encourage them to paddle to bring their temperature down naturally whilst
hydrating themselves through drinking.
Prevention is so much better than cure so always err well on the side of caution on a hot day and call your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s physical symptoms of heat stress.