Hot Weather

Dogs in Hot Weather

It’s that time of year again when the sun’s out and we all start to feel the heat. Dogs have to rely on heat evaporation through their paws, mouth and nose to stay cool and those with shorter muzzles, like French Bulldogs and Pugs, do tend to find this more difficult.

Heatstroke, as we all know, is very dangerous for dogs. The primary signs include excessive panting, gums turning purple, decreased awareness and eventual collapse. The best first aid involves keeping plenty of water nearby in a water bottle or travel bowl, placing a damp towel or cooling mat under your dog, and rubbing alcohol pads on his feet. Don’t place damp towels over the top of the dog as this actually reflects heat back onto the skin, instead use a cooling vest. It is also important not to cool down a dog too quickly as this can be dangerous too. If a dog does get overheated, always seek immediate veterinary help because without this, severe organ damage may result.

Fortunately overheating is very easy to prevent. Never, ever, leave a dog in a car – even in the shade, or with windows ajar, as the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to critical levels in just a few minutes. Only walk your dog in the early morning or late evening to avoid exercising during the hottest hours of the day, and regularly groom your dog (or go to a professional salon) to remove excess hair, particularly with dense-coated breeds.

Out in the garden, using the hosepipe can create an entertaining game for you and your dog while helping him stay cool, if you live near a pond or stream consider trying some floating dog toys. Snack time? You could also try freezing some of your dog’s food, or some treats in an ice cube tray, to provide fun and refreshing meals to enjoy on hot days.

Alessandra Pacelli

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