The recent mini heatwave saw temperatures pass 30C prompting many to seek tips on caring for dogs in hot weather. We asked pet food brand Natural Instinct how pet owners should help their dogs cool down.
“With temperatures continuing to soar, we can often become preoccupied in ways to keep ourselves cool, from opting for light clothing through to using fans and enjoying an icy drink or two, explained Animal Behaviourist and Canine Specialist, Kirsten Dillon. “However, we must remember our pets cannot do this for themselves, and it is vital we protect them from the heat too. Pets can easily get dehydrated, and it is essential we monitor them during the hot weather, doing everything we can to keep them cool and comfortable.”
Top tips – caring for dogs in hot weather
Water is essential during a heatwave and having cool water available at all times, even when it’s warm, is very important for your dog (and you!). You could even pop in a few ice cubes for an extra refreshing feeling. If you’re considering travelling, pay special attention to caring for dogs in hot weather. Invest in a good quality travel bowl as well as a cooling water dispenser so that you have a supply when on the move. Also, never leave your dog in your car, even if it’s for 5 minutes and you do not feel that it is that hot.
When indoors, avoid direct light and always check the temperatures of shaded areas, as they can be deceiving. For shaded relaxation areas, check the floor temperature and invest in a cooling mat and ice packs for extra comfort.
Don’t take your dog on walks or runs under the heat of the sun or at peak temperatures. Early mornings and evenings when temperatures have cooled down are the best times and find some shaded woodlands. Your dog will love it!
Just like human skin, your pet’s paws can burn when they contact hot surfaces. Check ground temperatures for 20 seconds before your walk. Paws are similar to our thumb pads; they are sensitive and will react to the heat. Burnt feet pad signs are – limping, blisters, redness and your dog limping and licking their feet. Use shade, grass and earth as surfaces to walk on, as opposed to concrete and asphalt, which can quickly become very hot.
For dogs that are required to wear a muzzle, ensure that it is correctly fitted and avoid taking them out when the weather is very hot. Just like wearing a face mask for humans under extreme heat, an ill-fitted muzzle can restrict breathing and panting for your pet, making them feel very uncomfortable.
Treats and food
Just like ice cream, frozen food and treats, or food that can be defrosted, is ideal for hot temperatures. Consider freezing carrots for a refreshing, healthy chew.
Just like our own human hair, a dog’s coat can start getting unruly in the summer as well as overheating, making them feel irritated. Brushing your dog’s hair regularly and taking them for a trim will help ease the strain of overheating. Also, look out for ticks as the heat is ideal for them to thrive. Long-haired breeds such as Huskies or German Shepherd types should be clipped for the summer. However, never let your groomer remove their undercoat. As much as this keeps them warm in the winter, it also keeps them cool in the summer, so leave it be.
Pet sunscreen is available to buy and an essential for those with white fur, a thin coat or exposed patches of low pigment skin.
When choosing a sunscreen for humans, ensure you purchase a pet-friendly one as some ingredients can be toxic to your pets.
If you think your pet has heatstroke, seek veterinary help immediately. There are many signs to look out for if you believe your pet has heatstroke:
- Drooling or salivating
- Acting lethargic and sleepy
- A bright red tongue
- Very red or pale gums
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing distress, vomiting and diarrhoea
We recommend contacting your vet, even if you think your pet’s condition is improving.
Treatment for heatstroke
To help with a heat stroke:
- Make the dog as cool as possible by moving them to a cool area.
- Use cool (not very cold) water, apply to lips, ears and coat, and try to get the dog to drink small amounts.
- Apply a wet towel, but for no more than 5 minutes as it will begin to heat up.
For more information, expert advice and top tips, visit the Natural Instinct website.
If you found Caring for dogs in hot weather – expert tips for keeping interesting, you’ll find more tips for caring for pets in hot weather on our Pets channel.Tags: dogs, Heatwave dog care Last modified: June 23, 2022