The UK is set to have some of the hottest temperatures of the year so far over the coming days, with some areas of the country predicted to experience highs of 30c.
But while for us humans, basking in the sunshine is often enjoyable, we can quickly forget that the heat can be much harder to bear for our dogs, so it’s important to consider how to keep them as cool and comfortable as possible.
Below the team of experts at tails.com share some seasonal guidance on keeping your dog cool during heatwaves, as well as some signs of heatstroke to look out for in your pet.
Avoid walking your dog during the warmest part of the day
When the weather gets hot, tarmac and paved surfaces can get extremely hot, and become incredibly dangerous to our dogs, possibly resulting in scorched paws.
In fact, tarmac can reach a staggering 52c when it’s just 25c outside, so with temperatures set to well exceed this over the weekend, it’s important that dog owners avoid walking their furry friends at the hottest points of the day.
Instead you could try going early in the morning or late at night to avoid the hot weather. If you are ever unsure whether it’s safe, do the palm test – hold your palm to the ground and if you cannot comfortably hold it in place for more than 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
Keep them hydrated
Whether you’re out and about or at home attempting to keep cool from the sun, one of the key ways you can help your dog beat the heatwave is to make sure they stay hydrated. Ensure they have access to fresh water at all times and fill up their bowl whenever it starts looking low.
If you do head out on a walk while the weather is warm, it is also important to bring travel bowls or doggy drinking bottles, so your canine can have a refreshing drink on the go.
Feed them little and often
You may notice that when the weather is warm, your dog displays signs of a decreased appetite, especially if they are spending more time indoors, or taking part in shorter walks or activities preventing them from building up an appetite.
It is therefore worth feeding them little and often so that they still get all the nutrition they need, but at a pace that suits them.
Consider frozen treats
Like us humans, when the weather is warm, one of the easiest ways to cool your dog down and stay hydrated is with a delicious frozen treat.
Though dogs can’t eat ice cream, a great alternative could be cutting up some bananas and freezing them, or adding your dog’s favourite treat to a lick mat. You could even whip up your dog some frozen ice lollies, by freezing some of their favourite kibble in water in an ice cube tray.
Set up a paddling pool
For a complete and easy cool down, try setting up a paddling pool for your dog in your back garden for them to splash around in. Make sure however, there is plenty of room for them to relax if you don’t want to end up soaked yourself!
If your dog prefers to stay inside, you could close the curtains and set up a fan out of the heat, for the ultimate chill den.
Keep them out of the car
When the weather reaches temperatures anywhere above 20c make sure to keep your dog out of the car. Not only can leaving your dog in the car be fatal, your dog can begin to experience heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes.
This is because cars act like greenhouses, trap heat and therefore get much hotter inside than out. So if you’re planning to go somewhere by car on a hot day it is always best to leave your dog at home.
Signs your dog experiencing symptoms of heatstroke:
Heatstroke is about more than your dog feeling hot and bothered – it’s a condition that can be fatal. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, or they are displaying symptoms such as excessive panting, make sure to take them straight to the vet. Other signs to look out for include:
- Rapid or laboured breathing
- Excessive thirst
- Lying on their side
- Seeming unresponsive or quiet
- Seeming agitated or stressed
- Lack of coordination