*This is a collaborative post
Summer is fast approaching, and if the last couple of months are anything to go by, it’s going to be a scorcher. It can be tempting to rush out at the first signs of sunny weather, but it is crucial to think about your dogs too. Dogs struggle in the heat, and they do not cool down as easily as humans do.
Read on for all the information you need to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer.
Signs of Overheating
Dogs struggle to regulate their body heat on warmer days. They mainly use panting to keep cool as they cannot sweat through the rest of their skin. If you notice your dog panting excessively, this could be a sign that they are beginning to overheat. Also, what do their gums look like? Bright red gums are an indicator of overheating and heatstroke. Finally, is your dog sturdy on its feet? If they are wobbly or they have trouble standing up, you need to cool them off as soon as possible or take them to the vets as a precaution.
Which Dogs are More at Risk?
Some dogs will struggle more than others in the heat. These types of dogs may need extra monitoring during the summer months:
- Dogs with flat faces. Dogs with short snouts or flat faces such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekingese are already prone to breathing difficulties. If your dog snores or snorts often, they may already have these problems. Hot weather can exacerbate these issues by making breathing more difficult, and it can also make it harder for them to try and cool themselves down by panting. If you have a flat-faced dog, take extra care that they don’t get worn out this summer.
- Dogs with thicker coats will get hotter more quickly and be less able to cool themselves down. Breeds such as Pomeranians, Huskies, or Chow-Chows might need extra help cooling down in the heat.
- Bigger dogs such as Great Danes or Bernese Mountain Dogs can struggle to cool themselves down simply because of their size – the same goes for overweight dogs. Dogs that carry extra weight are already under additional strain, and so they can be more susceptible to the heat.
- Older dogs or dogs with health conditions are, as a general rule, more sensitive to the heat as well.
Dogs will still need regular exercise, even during hot weather. Walks do wonders for your dog’s wellbeing. When walking your dog in the summer months, try to avoid the hottest parts of the day take them out in the early morning or late afternoon. Keep the pace easy; on hotter days, you should try going more slowly than usual. Always check the temperature of any roads or pavements before your dog walks on them. Place your hand on the pavement, and if it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dogs’ paws. Plan walks with plenty of shade available. If it is too hot for longer walks, adjust your dog’s schedule to allow for some extra training or play to make up for what they will miss. If you need things to keep your dog more engaged at home if they miss their walks, consider buying them some things to take up their time. Time For Paws is an online retailer that sells various pet supplies to suit all your and your dog’s needs.
There are things you can do to try and keep your pup as cool as possible. Encourage hydration, have water accessible to them at all times, refresh their bowls with cool water and consider taking some on your walks with you. As dogs sweat through their feet pads, it may be worth investing in a small paddling pool that you can fill with cool water for them to cool off their paws in. Or set up a fan and lay some cool damp towels down inside if you’d prefer to give them a shady option. If your dog is a little furrier than usual regular grooming can really help them cope in the heat. Dogs often shed fur in the summer months, so keep on top of brushing to rid them of the excess fur.
If you plan on taking your pet with you for some days out this summer, there are a few things you should bear in mind. First, your dog should always be secured safely in the car with a seatbelt. Second, carry water and water bottles with you, especially if you will be out for an extended period of time. Finally, never ever leave your dog alone in your car. Temperatures rise, and dogs can die in hot cars.
Often our furry friends are our best friends, and we must take care of them to the best of our ability. However, the summer months can be dangerous for dogs, so it is best to be wary and over-prepare.