How to keep dogs safe in hot weather

With this British summer proving to be a bit of a scorcher, it is important to keep our furry pals cool and safe in the heat. Here are some tips and ideas on how to keep your dogs happy and safe in the heat.

1. Always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh clean water, with access to shade and/or a cool, ventilated room.

2. If exercising, walk in the early morning or late at night to avoid the hotter periods of the day. A good way to tell if it's too hot for your pooches is to try holding your hand on the pavement for 30 seconds – if you can't do this then it's too hot for your dog’s paws.

3. Never leave dogs in a hot vehicle, even if it is just for 5 minutes. Dogs can only sweat through their paws, which is not an effective way of reducing their body temperature, so can overheat very quickly which is extremely dangerous.

4. Lots of dogs love swimming! But if your dog is swimming in salt water make sure they do not drink the water, as it could make them sick. If swimming in fresh water, make sure there is no blue-green algae as this is toxic to dogs.

5. On hot sunny days stay out of the midday sun and cover your dog with a loose t-shirt. If your dog is still struggling with heat, try a cooling vest. They absorb water to help keep dogs cool.

6. Most long-haired breeds lose their coat during the summer months but by brushing and grooming dogs you can assist with this to help keep them cool. It is good to remember that pale-skinned dogs are prone to sunburn and the sun can aggravate dogs with skin allergies.

7. Some dogs can have a loss of appetite in the heat so ensure food is offered at various times of the day.

8. Be aware of the dangers of heat stroke in dogs. Much like humans, dogs overheat in the hot weather and are unable to get their temperature back down. Obese dogs are particularly at risk, alongside brachycephalic breeds. Heat stroke symptoms to look out for include: excessive panting, lethargy or drowsiness, and vomiting. To avoid heat stroke, ensure dogs have access to water and a cool, shady, well-ventilated area.

If you suspect that your dog has heat stroke or you are worried about anything mentioned in the post above, please contact your vet straight away. Alternatively, if you would like to be put in contact with our in-house vet, please give us a call on 01743 384562 or send us an email at [email protected]