The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets as well as people. By following some safety advice, you can try and ensure that you keep your pets, and yourselves, safe during the hot weather.
There are many ways you can help your dog stay cool in hot weather and we at Poochee Care have some tips to help.
- Encourage them to stay in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight.
- Put damp towels on the floor, for them to lie on.
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold water, but keep an eye out for any signs of chewing as the material could be harmful if swallowed.
- Put a garden sprinkler on.
- Keep a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash and paddle in.
Don’t leave your dog in a car
Most dog owners know that you can’t leave a pet in a hot car. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in just minutes, putting your dog at risk of heat stroke. But what if you open a window a little bit? Does that make it safe to leave your dog in the car? The answer is simple: You should NEVER leave a dog alone in the car, even with the windows open. Dogs left alone in a car on a hot day can quickly become dehydrated, develop heatstroke or even die.
Dogs mainly control their body temperature by panting. When a dog is very hot, panting isn’t enough to stop them from overheating. In warm weather, the temperature inside a parked car can climb rapidly and will be much higher than outside of the vehicle.
Don’t walk your dog when it’s too hot
Dogs need exercise, including during the summer months – but how hot is too hot? According to Vets Now it is generally safe to walk dogs in temperatures up to 19°C (68°F) but anything above that is a danger. Even temperatures of 20°C can put dogs at risk of heat stroke. If you are going to walk your dog during hot weather, we recommend walking your dog in the morning or evening when it’s cooler to reduce the risk of heatstroke and burning their paws on the pavement. However, sometimes its too hot to walk at all. If you are unsure if its too hot to walk your dog, you can try the 5 second test – ay the palm of your hand on the outside floor for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for your hands, then it’s too hot for your dogs paws!
At Poochee Care we take dogs health extremely seriously and that’s why during the extreme hot weather we will sometimes cancel our walking service. In these situations, we will offer an alternative service such as an enrichment visit whereby we will visit the dog at home and make sure that they are safe, well and have enough water.
Remember, no dog has died from missing a walk on a hot day, but many dogs have died from heat stroke.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs
The above tips will hopefully aid in reducing the risks of your dog developing heatstroke, however – it is still important that you are aware of the signs. The signs of heatstroke in dogs can include:
- Drooling and foaming at the mouth
- Bright red gums
- Weakness and collapsing
- Vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes containing blood)
It’s important to act fast if you notice your dog developing symptoms of heatstroke!
- Keeping them as calm & still as possible to allow them to try and cool down
- Taking them indoors or into a shaded, cool area
- Give them a drink of cold water (not ice, or icy water)
- Contact your vet and let them know that you think your dog may have heatstroke
- Make sure they have plenty of air flowing around them, open windows and keep the room well ventilated
- Let them lay on a wet or damp towel
- Using cool (not icy) water to slowly wet the top of their head, feet, ears and fur. Once they seem a bit cooler, you can start to pour cool water over their body (be careful they don’t inhale any)
- If possible, try to continue cooling your dog on the way to your vet
*Never use ice or very cold water – this can cause shock.*
If your dog has a mild case of heatstroke, and they receive treatment quickly, there is a good chance that they will make a full recovery. However, if they become seriously unwell, or their treatment is delayed, they could suffer organ damage or even die.
Some information sourced from PDSA, Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross.