Well, as we’re having an unusual hot spell here in the UK this bank holiday weekend, I thought I’d put down a few ideas about keeping our furry companions cool and comfortable when the temperature soars. I’ve put together my favourite ideas that I use with my gang to keep dogs cool, but I’d love to hear your ideas or feedback if you’ve given any of my suggestions a try, as always feel free to drop me a comment in the box below and I’ll get back as soon as I’m done with my happy family.
First off keep your dog well groomed, especially long haired dogs, but keeping them tat free and brushing out any dead hair and tangles will help to keep them comfortable. Don’t be tempted to shave your dog, I’ve seen some pictures of thick haired breeds completely shaven in the mistaken assumption that it will help them keep cool. It won’t! Their thick coats actually help to regulate their body temperature and keep them cool.
Before I go into ideas for ways to keep dogs cool a quick word on heat stroke. Unlike us humans, dogs can’t sweat to reduce body heat, they have to pant and release heat via their pads to cool down. Signs of heat stroke include:
- excessive panting
- rapid heart rate
- dark red gums and tongue
Heatstroke can be fatal, and it can progress rapidly, so if you’re in any doubt that your pet may be showing signs you should do the following:
- stop whatever you were doing with the dog
- move into a shaded area
- provide cool, fresh water – not ice cubes
- call your vet
Snub nosed dogs, like pugs and boxers, as well as older dogs tend to be more susceptible to heat stroke too, so keep an extra close eye if you have those dogs.
If your pooch is happy indoors make sure that you close curtains, open windows and provide plenty of cool, fresh water. You might also think about switching on a rotating fan if you have one. Think carefully about exercise time, if possible walk your dog int he early morning or late evening when temperatures are likely to have dropped. Check the temperature of the pavement too, remember we have shoes to protect our feet from hot pathways, dogs don’t.
There are a host of products on the market that can help with keeping dogs cool. There are a variety of cool coats available which aim to keep the dog cool by using the cooling effect of evaporating water to reduce body temperature. There are also cooling mats which provide a cooler place for the dog to lie. If your dog is outside it makes sense to keep them calm and in the shade, regardless of what accessories they may also have.
My dogs love to play in their paddling pool. It’s not the inflatable type, as their claws would pop that in no time, but the plastic, shell designed pool. I fill one half with water, the other with sand. Then you can put empty plastic bottles, floating toys, balls, etc in for them to play with. This provides a cool, but fun activity on a warm day. You can also use the sand side for them to dig in, hide their favourite toys, etc.
Ice ice baby!
Now another word of warning, I’ve read a lot of ideas about using ice cubes in water bowls, freezing snacks in ice cubes and other such ideas. Whilst iced water will certainly help I would suggest that you use crushed ice rather than cubes, just to avoid any choking hazards.
Many dogs love to swim. If yours is one of them then make sure that they are somewhere safe and you can have loads of fun. If you decide to let them swim in the sea it is a good idea to take fresh water, as if they drink sea water they are likely to be sick, or worse! Rinse the salt water off their
coats and skin after swimming too, as it can irritate their skin afterwards.
We read loads of advice every year about the hazards of leaving dogs in hot cars. Even a few minutes can be enough to kill. Best advice is to never do it, even on cooler days when the sun is out, as the temperature inside a closed car can soar rapidly.
So, that’s my quick overview on ideas for having fun whilst keeping Fido safe in the heat. Have fun, and don’t forget to post your ideas and photos below.