There are a wealth of fun activities you can enjoy with your dog in the hot summer months. However, as temperatures soar, prioritising the well-being of your furry friend is crucial. Dogs have a harder time regulating their temperature, meaning that they are at a higher risk of succumbing to heatstroke. Additionally, summer adventures come with their own hazards, from strong sea tides to troublesome ticks. Our expert trainers have put together some tips on ways to keep your dog cool in summer.
- How to Cool a Dog Down
- Keeping Your Dog Safe On Summer Outings
- Keeping A Dog Cool In A Heatwave FAQs
How to Cool a Dog Down
Keep Them Hydrated
One of the most vital things you can do on a warmer day is to make sure your dog can always get to clean and fresh water inside and outside. The water should be changed regularly to keep it cool; you could even add some ice cubes to make it extra refreshing.
Similarly, you should take a bottle of water and a bowl with you if you are leaving the house for any length of time.
Apply Sunscreen When You Are Out And About
It may sound silly, but dogs are at risk of sunburn too. Similar to humans, damage from the sun can cause skin cancer in dogs. Additionally, pale dogs are more at risk of sunburn, especially in areas with less hair, as well as on their ears and noses.
You should try to keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day, which is between 11am and 3pm. Also, you should apply a pet-friendly, non-toxic sunscreen to protect them.
Keep Them In The Shade
To keep them feeling nice and cool and avoid sunburn, it is important to make sure your dog stays out of direct sunlight and has a spot in the shade where they can lay, both inside and outside.
If you do not have any natural shade in your garden, you should make some with items such as a parasol or a deck chair, for example.
Use Cooling Aids
Ice packs and cooling mats are a great place for your pup to lie down, as long as you keep them refreshed. You could even get out your paddling pool to make keeping cool fun – just make sure to keep an eye on them so that they are safe. Also, your furry friend would surely appreciate some ice cubes with their favourite food inside that’s been in the freezer.
Watch Out For Signs Of Heatstroke
- Heavy panting and breathing difficulties
- Excessive drooling
- Vomiting or collapsing
- Bright red gums
- Foaming at the mouth
Apply Emergency First Aid If Needed
To prevent the negative effects of heatstroke, it is important to:
- Move your dog to a cooler location, wet their coat with cool (but not freezing) water, and contact your vet straight away.
- Give them small amounts of cool water.
- Keep pouring cool water over the dog until their breathing begins to settle, but not too much that they start to shiver.
- If they are unconscious, they need urgent cooling as a priority.
You should avoid:
- Pouring water on or near your dog’s head, as they could inhale water which could lead to drowning. Flat-faced and unconscious dogs are at a higher risk of drowning from this.
- Putting wet towels over the dog, as this can trap heat and make their condition worse.
Go For Walks At Cooler Times In The Day
Pavements and roads can potentially be hot enough to burn your dog’s paws, so you should always check the ground temperature with your bare hand or foot before setting off. If the ground is too hot for you, it is definitely too hot for your dog.
You should also watch out for signs such as:
- Reluctance to walk
- Licking their feet
Generally, it is recommended that you avoid the hottest part of the day for walks, instead going in the early morning or late evening. If it is likely to be too hot all day long, you could decide against a walk, instead opting for games in the shade to help them blow off some steam.
If spring has been particularly damp and your dog has not had as much exercise as usual, you should ease them into their walking routine for the hotter months.
Do Not Leave Them In Cars
Even if your car does not feel that warm to you, it can become even hotter than the temperatures outside. For example, 22 degrees Celsius outside can reach 47 degrees within an hour inside your car. As dogs overheat rapidly, this puts them in danger; even a few seconds can be long enough.
Make Sure To Groom Them Regularly
Loose fur can act as extra insulation, so it is helpful to brush your dog regularly to help keep them as cool as possible. This is especially effective if your dog has a thicker coat or moults heavily in the summer.
Even though some dogs may benefit from a summer haircut, you should check with your vet first. This is because some dogs need their fur to protect them from the sun, meaning that they will not be cooler without it. It is important to get a pet-safe sun cream to make sure they are still protected after a haircut.
Additionally, excessive matts and tangles can provide perfect conditions for flies to lay their eggs on your pet’s fur in the summer heat.
We can help make sure your dog is looking stylish and feeling cool with our grooming service.
Do Not Leave Your Dog Home Alone In The Heat
With a bit of planning and common sense, it is easy to take care of your dog during hot weather if you are at home. But what happens when you are out at work? You may not be able to leave doors and windows open if the house is empty, and you won’t be there to top up their water bowls.
We are here to help look after your furry friend in the warmer weather. Find out more about our daycare services here.
Keeping Your Dog Safe On Summer Outings
You may be tempted to take your dog to enjoy the vast space available in public and neighbourhood gardens, however you should exercise caution when doing so. This is because they may not be as dog friendly as your own garden, potentially containing toxic plants such as azaleas or remnants of weed killers, pesticides, and fertilisers.
Beach & Swimming Safety
The beach or river can be a very exciting day out, but it is important to be wary of potential hazards for your dog, such as:
Potential hazards to be wary of at the beach include:
- Your dog eating objects they find on the beach
- Hazards washing up on the shore, such as toxic palm oils and jellyfish
- Swimming too far out from shore
- Your dog drinking the seawater, as too much will make them ill
- Large waves and rip tides
- Salt and sand drying and irritating their skin if it is not washed off properly
- Heatstroke due to a lack of shade
If you are not sure whether your dog can swim (as not all dogs can), we would not recommend letting them go in the sea for their first time.
While your dog enjoys a dip in the river, it is important to be aware of:
- Strong currents
- Toxic algae, such as blue-green algae
- The risk of drowning – contact your vet if your dog has inhaled water, as this can lead to complications
While your dog enjoys a dip in a river or the sea, it is important to be aware of water intoxication. Essentially, this describes when your dog swallows too much water too quickly. In some rare cases, this can lead to brain damage, and can even be fatal under extreme circumstances. Here are some signs to look out for in your dog:
- Loss of coordination (falling or swaying, for example)
- Pale gums
In the event that your dog loses consciousness or struggles to breathe, you should call the vet immediately.
It is recommended that you limit the amount of time they spend swimming to 10 minutes, making sure they have breaks to drink water and catch their breath.
Fleas & Ticks
During the warmer months, you are even more likely to run into ticks and fleas on your woodland and grassland walks. Ticks and fleas can both carry diseases and cause your pet discomfort. That is why we would recommend staying on top of their treatment.
Flea bites can be uncomfortable as it is, however, if your dog is allergic to them, this can lead to infection from severe scratching.
If your dog has fleas, you will need to remove the eggs and treat them at home.
Ticks are highly likely to carry dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease. In the event that you find one attached to your dog, you should carefully remove them. It is important not to squeeze their body, or let their head get stuck inside your dog.
Bees & Wasps
While you are enjoying nature with your dog, it is important to be aware of your dog’s temptation to chase buzzing insects. Mostly, stings will just irritate your dog and cause them pain, but multiple stings can potentially be fatal. Additionally, if they get stung in the mouth or throat, swelling can potentially block their airway.
Similarly, some dogs are allergic to stings; if you spot any signs of an allergic reaction, or they have been stung more than once, you should take them to the vet. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and swelling.
The only venomous snake in the UK is the adder; they do not tend to approach dogs or humans. However, they may bite if their habitat is disturbed and they feel threatened. When treated quickly, dogs are likely to survive adder bites, so it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible. You should also carry your dog instead of letting them walk, if possible, to reduce the chance of the venom spreading.
Keeping A Dog Cool In A Heatwave FAQs
Why Are Dogs More At Risk Of Heatstroke?
Essentially, dogs cannot sweat through their skin like humans. Instead, they rely on panting and releasing heat through their nose and paw pads to regulate their temperature.
Are Some Dogs More Likely To Overheat Than Others?
Some dogs are more likely to get heatstroke, including:
- Very young or old dogs
- Dogs with thick, heavy coats like German Shepherds, Chow Chows or Huskies
- Breeds with very short, flat faces (such as Bulldogs, Pekingese or Pugs)
- Dogs on some types of medication or with certain diseases
- Large dog breeds, like St Bernards or Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Overweight dogs
- Active or energetic dogs
Can I Break Into A Hot Car To Free A Dog?
If you see a dog in a hot car, and they appear to be showing any symptoms of heatstroke, dial 999 immediately. Breaking the window to get into the car could be classed as criminal damage, and you may be required to defend your actions in court. However, from a legal standpoint, you can damage the car if you believe the car owner would consent if they knew the dog was in danger.
In the event that you need to free the dog, it is important to tell the police what you are intending to do and why. You should also take photos or videos of the dog in its current state, as well as taking contact details and names of any other witnesses.
If the dog in the car appears okay, see if you can ascertain how long they have been in there, from a parking ticket, for example. You should make a note of their registration, and if you are at an event or venue, ask the staff to make an announcement. Additionally, you should make sure you or someone else stays with the dog and be prepared to call 999 if they get worse.
Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer
Our Lancaster doggy day care centre is fully equipped to cope with even the warmest weather, keeping your dog cool and comfortable. Our fully trained team will be around all day to take care of your pet, so you can get on with your day knowing they are safe and sound however hot it gets.
To find out more, call The Lounge Doggy Day Care team today and see how easily and affordably we can look after your dog this summer.