Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer

Hot Weather Is Not Good For Your Dog

Let’s face it, not everyone looks forward to the heat of the Australian summer.  We need to keep our cool and we do so in many ways, using shade, drinking cold drinks, swimming in the sea, using parasols etc.

Your dog is no different, and it is important to make sure they are keeping their cool, just like us.

It is so easy for them to overheat, and sadly many Dogs do pass away due to heat stroke, and the thing is, we can help stop it.

Dogs and cats are nowhere near as efficient as humans at cooling themselves down.  They can’t sweat to lower their temperature, except through their paw pads, so they rely on evaporative cooling to beat the heat. Cats moisten their coat by licking it while dogs expel excess heat by panting.  Without access to enough cool air, the risk of overheating becomes a real problem.

 

How To Keep Your Dog Cool During The Summer

  1. Don’t exercise your dog during the hottest time of the day – usually between midday and 4pm. During the summer months, try to exercise your dog early morning during summer, and/or late evening– remember that concrete may still be very warm to touch, so it’s advisable to check first
  2. Carry a Travel Water Bottle with you when you take your dog on a walk.
  3. Get  your dog a paddle pool – These do vary in price, however we don’t need to fill the pool to the top with water, simply add enough for your Dog to soak their paws is adequate.
  4. If you do need to leave the house, and your dog, make sure they are in a cool area and not in direct heat from windows & always try to have good air flowing through the house, or have a fan circulate the air (not while dog is alone though).
  5. Consider a cooling jacket for your dog – these are a great product.
  6. Never, ever leave your dog in the car.  Even if you are just “nipping in to the shop”.  People just don’t realise that their dog could die from the heat in a very short period of time, even with the windows slightly open..
  7. Put a few ice cubes in your dog water bowl.
  8. If it’s hot outside, then consider playing hide ‘n’ seek games indoors.  Short 15-20 minutes of these games will really give your dog a mentally stimulating  workout.
  9. Try using a Cooling Mat or Cooling Jacket.
  10. Don’t do dog Sports during the heat, unless it’s indoors / air conditioned, and your dog is able to cool down.

 

Keep the overcoat. Just get rid of the undercoat!

The overcoat is the fur that you see and this helps to repel the rays of the sun.

The problem comes when the undercoat grows and if left unheeded can mat together and possibly cause skin problems.

It is important that you regularly groom your dog with a de-matting tool to minimise this undercoat which will enhance the overall comfort of your dog as well as enhancing the natural temperature control effect of the fur and skin.

A popular choice is this de-matting tool called the Furminator designed specially for this job.  There are different sizes and types according to the dog breed and type/length of fur.

The one shown here is what you would use for medium size dogs.

 

 

 

 

Heatstroke in dogs: know the signs

It’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms heatstroke causes, including:

  • Increased body temperature (above 40 degrees)
  • Vigorous panting
  • Drooling and salivating
  • Distress
  • Bluish-purple or bright red gums (caused by inadequate oxygen supply)
  • A bright red tongue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tremors
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dizziness or disorientation, mental confusion
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Collapsing, lying down, struggling to get up
  • Loss of consciousness

If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you need to act quickly:

  1. Remove them from the heat. The first thing is to remove your pet from the hot environment immediately – if they’re locked in a hot car, get them out and into a cool environment; if they’re in the sun, move them into the shade.
  2. Cool your pet down. Next, put your dog in a cool bath or spray them with cool water. Please note that you should not use icy cold water or ice in this scenario as it may construct their blood vessels and slow the cooling process.
  3. Maintain airflow. Maintaining a steady flow of air over your pet’s body is crucial to help them cool down. Use a fan or air-conditioner to keep the air circulating, and remember to keep this going as you transport your dog to the vet.
  4. Give them a drink. If your dog is able to drink, give them a chance to do so by providing a large bowl of water.
  5. Seek veterinary help. Heatstroke is an emergency and extremely serious, so always see your vet as soon as possible. Wet towels are also extremely handy to help cool your pet while you’re on the way to the vet.

Check your dog’s temperature every five minutes and end the cooling treatment when the temperature is down to 39°.

What about shaving your dog to help keep them cool?

Curiously, this can have the opposite effect to what you are trying to do.

If your furry friend has a double coat like Mastiffs, Spitz, or terrier types, you may be tempted to simply shave off all that fuzz in hopes of keeping them cool. Before you break out the razor, you should know there can be several drawbacks to this solution, including a sudden lack of insulation and decreased sun protection.

Additionally, because longer guard hairs have a different growth cycle than inner insulation hairs, it can take years for some dogs to regain their natural appearance.

Dehydration in dogs: know the signs

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Gently pinch a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back?

Not all signs of dehydration are easy to detect. If you suspect your dog may be dehydrated, a trip to the vet is recommended.

Offer clean cool water. Try different bowls, adding a splash of carrot juice, chicken broth, or pieces of a favorite fruit to one of the bowls to encourage drinking. Some dogs enjoy a few ice chips in their water dish.

The following are a few of the items listed above and well worth investing in for the comfort and safety of your dog .

Products to keep dogs cool during summer

Travel Water Bottle

 

Carry a water bottle with you when you take your dog for a walk


Paddling/Swimming Pool For Dogs

 

A great, fun way to keep cool


Cooling Jacket For Dogs

 

Dog Cooling Jacket

 


Cooling Mat For Dogs

 

A great way to help keep your Dog cool

 

 

 

Please remember, if you are in any doubt as to whether or not your Dog may be suffering from overheating, or heatstroke, please phone a vet asap.

 

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