Hot Summer Days with your Dog
With the met office predicting some fine days for July this year, it may be time to think about a summer weather routine for your dog to keep them comfortable in the heat. Dogs naturally have a higher core body temperature than us (37.7-39.2 °C) and can’t sweat to cool off, so panting is their main way to cool down when over-heated. Their fur functions as a thermal regulator slowing down heat absorption, but then traps the heat close to the body even after the dog is in a cooler environment so it takes them longer to cool down.
Here are a few suggestions to try, to keep dogs from becoming too hot and cool them down when they need it:
- Taking advantage of the longer days by moving walks to early morning and later in the evening, this will also help to reduce the risk of heatstroke and burnt paws from hot pavements.
- When at home, keeping access free to cooler environments and fresh cold drinking water. There is some debate on whether ice cubes are safe to give (they could cause some teeth damage or stomach issues if dogs try to chew or swallow them whole) so it may be better to let the cubes to melt in their water bowl.
- Doggie ice cream or frozen yogurt, either home-made or when you’re out enjoying one too! Whilst this won’t do much to help your dog manage the heat, they’ll certainly enjoy it. Human ice cream and frozen yogurt aren’t suitable as they contain lactose and other unsuitable ingredients. Watch for high levels of simple sugars in the doggie versions and only give as an occasional treat.
- Swimming. Not all dogs are natural swimmers and some won’t like getting wet at all, but for those that do, this is a great way to cool down. There are great options for the garden at home with doggie paddling pools, sprinklers and other water play equipment.
- Cooling vests and mats can help for those times when you and your dog need to go out in the heat of the day. Most of the vests need to be soaked in water first then placed on the dog to work so it may mean a bit more preparation before your walk.
- Sunscreen on exposed areas. For those dogs that love to bask in the sunshine this can be a good idea, but it’s worth checking you’ve got a pet-friendly sunscreen that doesn’t contain zinc oxide which could be harmful to dogs if licked.