As the met office releases its weather predictions for June, the UK is set to experience predicting temperatures as high as 35C with an ‘African plume’ sweeping across Europe. However, excessive sun exposure and heat can pose problems for our pets.
Thankfully, Pooch & Mutt’s in-house Veterinary surgeon Dr Linda Simon has some top tips and expert advice on how you can keep your pooch safe this summer including:
1. Walk in the early morning or later in the evening
The ideal times for dog walks are early morning before the ground heats up and at sunset when the temperature drops. Avoid walking during the hottest part of the day to prevent heatstroke and to protect your dog’s paw pads from hot pavement.
2. Make sure they always have the option of a shaded area
Like humans, dogs enjoy sunbathing but can get overheated. It’s important to provide a shaded area where they can cool down. Keep the door open for them to seek shade indoors or set up a tent or shaded dog bed in the garden. Monitor your dog’s sun exposure and move them to a shaded area if they become too warm.
3. Keep them hydrated
Keeping a stubborn dog hydrated in the summer can be difficult. Offering ice cubes is a good way to get your dog to take more water, as rather than a drink, they’ll see it as a snack. Be careful not to offer these when it is too hot, though, as changing your dog’s body temperature too drastically could send them into shock!
Another way to keep your dog adequately hydrated is by soaking their favourite soft toys in cool water. This way as they play with them, they are likely to drink the water out of them without really noticing whilst keeping them nice and cool.
4. Freeze their food
Freezing your dogs’ food is a great way to keep them both cool and occupied. Try stuffing your dog’s favourite meal or treats into a kong or spreading them onto a lick mat before popping them in the freezer. When freezing food in a Kong or similar treat-dispensing toy for your dog, it’s important to supervise them to ensure they don’t cover the holes, as this can create suction and potentially pose a safety risk. Once frozen, you can give it to your dog and watch their delight as they spend hours licking it, just like an ice lolly. Frozen bananas or carrots will also go down a treat!
5. Keep your car cool
Leaving a dog in a hot car is dangerous, so it’s best to avoid it in summer. If necessary, leave them for no more than 15 minutes. Prior to leaving, run the AC and open the windows slightly to maintain a cooler car temperature. When travelling with your dog, ensure a comfortable temperature by keeping the AC on or placing a cool mat on the seat. Remember to secure your dog properly during the journey.
6. Get them groomed before or as soon as the hot weather begins (to remove excess hair)
Most dogs will shed all year round, but in the lead up to summer, shedding can increase to make way for a lighter summer coat. Often without a good brush or professional groom, the loose hair will sit on your dog’s body, which will keep them feeling warm. As the weather heats up, getting your dog in for a good groom is a good way of removing all excess hair and will aid in keeping them cooler in the summer sun.
7. Invest in the safety of your pooch
Keeping dogs safe and comfortable in summer is essential. Along with the mentioned tips, investing in cooling mats or vests can provide a comfortable spot for dogs who love sunbathing. Portable water bowls/bottles are also worthwhile investments for walks or car journeys, ensuring easy hydration on the go.
8. Know the signs of heatstroke!
Recognising the signs of heatstroke in dogs is crucial as it can be life-threatening. Common signs include excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion, uncoordinated movement, collapse, and in severe cases, seizures. If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary assistance for the best chance of a positive outcome.
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