While it might not feel like it here in the UK just yet, summer is well upon us. And while you and I may relish the thought of lying out on the beach with a cocktail, it’s important to remember that heat exhaustion can be tremendously dangerous for our furry friends.
Fortunately, helping your dog to stay cool this summer doesnt have to be too hard. Here are some common-sense tips for helping your dog to enjoy the sunshine as much as you do
No Hot Cars
There’s a reason that animal rights charities tell us “dogs die in hot cars”. Imagine a metal and glass box parked in the sunshine for hours on end and its little wonder that each year dogs die after having been left in vehicles.
If you’re parking your car in the summer its critical to take your dog with you. Many owners leave their dogs for “just a minute” while they grab some shopping or suchlike. Don’t take the risk.
What happens if you yourself get ill, or the queues are longer than you expected?
In the hottest months of the year it’s better to be overly cautious than to have to live with the guilt of a heat-exhausted dog.
Once outside of the car the risks are far from over. Even short-haired breeds can still overheat in direct sunshine, so it is prudent to ensure that there is always some shade that your pet can retreat into.
At home try to keep a door open when your pet is in the garden so they can retreat to the cool when desired. When you’re out make a point of resting under trees or taking a parasol to be certain of a shady resting place for your pet.
Drinking fresh water can help to cool the body, as well as to avoid dehydration. On hot days try to carry around a bottle of fresh water and a collapsible water bowl so that your best friend can drink regularly throughout the day.
Whether it’s swimming in the ocean or comically leaping into an outdoor paddling pool, the ability to bathe in cool fresh water can be a great way to rapidly cool the body. For maximum fun, try watering your garden with a hose to see how your pet reacts; for many dogs there’s little more fun than a water hose on a hot day!
Time for a Cut
Imagine wearing a fur coat all year long. Lovely and toasty in the snow, but how would you feel in the middle of July?
The summer months can therefore be a great time to give long-haired breeds a little trim. Your local parlor can remove some of this insulation, making the warm weather easier to handle for your dog.
Lastly some dog owners find that their dogs enjoy the experience of ice cubes in summer. Whether they’re added to water bowls or given as a treat to gnaw on, just be certain the cubes are small enough that you dog cannot choke if it is swallowed. For small breed dogs ice cubes can be blended to create an “ice slurry”, which can be provided in a bowl.
Whatever options you choose, please remember as a responsible and caring dog owner that it’s not just about keeping your own dog in top condition, but also about educating and assisting other less-experience dog owners. Don’t be afraid to share your water or shade with another panting dog; you’ll make their day!