It’s been a sweltering hot summer so far and if you’ve got a fur coat that’s no joke! Below are some quick and easy ideas on how to keep your pup nice and chilled, information on how to keep them fit and trim even in the heat, and the signs to watch for with heatstroke to keep them safe!
Ways to keep cool
Using paper cups, or ice cube trays you can make fun pupsicles for your pooch. You can pretty much do any combination of flavors as you might like. All you need to do is dilute with water to ensure you have a liquid you can freeze. Try to avoid too much dairy as dogs are lactose intolerant. Also be careful to avoid any artificial sweeteners as these can be potentially toxic for your dog!
Some ideas may include – natural yogurt, peanut butter diluted with water, place blueberries and banana in the ice cube trays, pour diluted peanut butter yogurt water on top and set. You can also use K9 Connectables such as the Dental attachments or the Original which works very well as a bobbing toy in a paddling pool
- Cool Mats
I am not a massive fan of cool jackets, as your dog has no choice but to wear one once it is on. I am also not sure if they do keep your dog cool, once they have warmed up your dog then just has an extra layer on which might make the situation worse! I prefer cool mats, or a wet towel as then your dog can have the choice and can control whether to lay on it or not. If you don’t want to splash out on a cool mat, a wet cold towel that you lay on some plastic table cloth to protect your floor or carpet can also work just as well
- Puppy Paddling Pool!
Kiddy paddling pools can be fantastic for your pup. Bobbing for treats can be a fun game too. As dogs lose a lot of their heat through their paws this is another nice way to keep them cool. Also provided you get one with a cover (to stop the local cats and foxes using it as a litter box) it can then be filled with sand and make an excellent digging pit for when the weather gets cooler!
Just remember not all dogs like water, so you want to give them choice and control over this. If your dog is water shy consider just filling a pool with a few cm of water to start with and pop some of their favourite treats inside. That way they only have to get as wet as they would walking through a puddle.
- Day trips to the sea or going for a dip!!
A trip to Camber Sands is always a fun day out for you and your dog. Just remember that salt water can make them poorly – so be sure to bring water with you. Also make sure you rinse off and wipe down paws so they don’t lick off too much sand and salt.If you pup wants to go for a dip in a local pond or stream do check that its safe for them to do so first. Some areas are protected wildlife preserves and also certain types of algae are toxic to dogs. If your pup does go for a swim in algae contaminated water get them to the vet asap!
Exercise in the warm weather?
- Avoid walking during the peak of the day. Remember who your walk is for! A shorter walk in the morning and then in the evening will be just as beneficial for your dog – provided it includes mental stimulation like sniffing for hidden bits of food. Or just smelling a new environment.
- If you do go for a walk, be sure to apply the five second rule to the pavement. If you can’t hold your hand against the pavement for 5 seconds then the tarmac is too hot for your dog too!
- Always have cool water with you when out on a walk, I’d recommend a set of two collapsible bowls so you can just keep one in the car as well. Or as alternative there is this nifty thermos which will keep water cool and comes with its own bowl.
- Don’t under-estimate the power of mental stimulation. The hot weather is a great excuse to stay at home in the shade and the cool and spend some quality time bonding with your dog and teaching them some new tricks. Training shouldn’t stop just because your dog isn’t a puppy anymore! Scent work is a great way to get your dogs brain active and working when they need to be indoors to avoid the heat! A good introduction can be found in the book Detector Dog
How to Spot Heatstroke
The below image is a very good guide of the signs to watch for. Special Care needs to be taken with shorter nose breeds like pugs, boxers, French Bulldogs etc as they can really struggle to pant and cool down because of the structure of their faces. With thanks to Vets Now and Pet Plan.