SUMMER seems to be happening in fits and starts in the UK and while we all look forward to scorching hot days, it can be a difficult time for our four-legged friends.
Dogs can’t wear a strappy top or carry a parasol – and unlike us, they can’t sweat to cool down.
So here are some tips to help make summer a happier time for our pets.
We probably shouldn’t even need to include this warning – given all the publicity in recent years about animals in cars but just in case you are new to planet Earth, remember that a dog left in a hot car can die within just a few minutes.
But first, here are some helpful doggie tips for the summer. Feel free to share your own helpful ideas in the comments section.
- Put a couple of inches of water in a small child’s paddling pool in the garden so your dog can cool off
- When leaving your dogs at home, make sure you leave them in a shaded room if possible
- Always carry water with you when out for walks or dog trips with your pet. Some pet shops now sell a water battle with a mini drinking trough attached so you don’t need carry a bowl
- If your garden is a real sun-trap, try to give your dog a cool spot to relax. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just a well placed garden chair with a towel over it will provide at least a little shade for smaller dogs
- If your car has been parked outside, it can be unbearably hot both for them (and you) when you get inside. Try to park in a shaded spot – or better yet, buy one of our popular reflective car sheets to help keep the interior cooler 🙂
- It’s multi-use and makes a great picnic rug/waterproof groundsheet too. Check out just some of its other uses here.
- Don’t over-do it on hot days. Dogs love to walk but they can easily overheat and become dehydrated in very hot weather. If you want a long walk, make sure there are shady places to rest along the way (or plan your walk to pass a country pub where you can enjoy some refreshment too!) It’s also worth thinking about walking your dogs later in the day when it is cooler.
Dark coloured dogs feel the heat even more since their coats don’t reflect the sun as well as white haired dogs. All dogs will benefit from our reflective cooler coat in direct sunlight and it also helps to avoid coat discolouration. Better yet, it is also great as a light raincoat (always useful for a British summer!). Guaranteed to least for years.
On warm days, you can help your dog to stay cool with our budget Wet Wrap coat which can be soaked in water and then put over your dog to provide cooling through evaporation for 1-2 hours depending on temperature and activity. It can also be used as a handy towel on days out.
- Many dogs love frozen treats on hot days – you can find some great recipes online. (Ours love to chase ice cubes around the kitchen floor tiles!)
- Grooming is very important in hot weather since matted fur will trap in the heat
And if your dog is less active when temperatures rise, consider reducing their food a little to compensate for the lack of activity
Finally, many people don’t realise that hot surfaces can easily burn the pads on their dog’s feet. Touch the pavement or sand – if it’s too hot to keep your hand there for a few seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Wait until it’s cooler to walk your pet – or, if your pet is happy to wear boots, they will offer some protection. (We sell quality Muttluks all-weather boots but if your pet will only need boots on a really hot day then you can buy boots very cheaply online. Just don’t expect them to last more than a few uses).
Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs – so make sure you know the signs and what to do in an emergency. Young dogs (who don’t know when to slow down!), overweight dogs and flat-faced breeds are most at risk.
There is a good guide HERE from the PDSA. (Please consider making a donation to PDSA when you click through – they do amazing work!)
DON’T FORGET – if you have any tips or tricks that other dog owners could try, please add them to the comments section. Enjoy your summer!