While humans can easily regulate their body temperature, for dogs, it’s not quite as simple as kicking off the duvet. So, if you’re struggling to sleep in the heat, spare a thought for our furry friends who also have a little extra insulation to contend with!
Melanie Sainsbury - Veterinary Education Manager at Natures Menu, Europe’s leading raw pet food manufacturer - shares her top tips to help keep your canine friends cool throughout the night.
Limit evening activity
Establish an evening routine that’s calming and relaxing to keep your dog’s body temperature down. Try to keep physical activity to a minimum and make sure your dog can wind down at the end of the day. You can supplement their dinner with frozen snacks – like carrots, broccoli, or boiled chicken – to help your pet stay hydrated and regulate their body temperature before bed. Go one step further and fill a frozen Kong with Natures Menu cans or pouches for a cooling snack – just be sure to supervise mealtimes if you do!
Bear in mind that many dogs have a reduced appetite in the heat, and some may even go down to just one meal a day in the summer months. Try to feed them at cooler times of day, such as early morning or late evening.
Location, location, location
Make sure your dog’s sleeping arrangements are as comfortable as they can be for a cool night’s sleep. A well-ventilated room with a tiled floor for them to lie on is perfect. If that’s not an option, consider laying out damp towels or cooling mats or filling a hot water bottle with cold water to keep your pooch from overheating in the night. Of course – always take care with dogs that have a tendency to chew!
Think about fans
Fans are a great option to help keep things cool but can pose problems. Introduce them carefully and under supervision first to make sure your dog isn’t going to be frightened by the sound or movement. Ensure they’re also placed out of reach of inquisitive pups to avoid any midnight mishaps. For added chill, freeze water in soft drink bottles and place these in front of a running fan to circulate cold air.
Ice with that?
Ensure your pets have access to plenty of fresh water throughout the night, adding ice cubes to the water if it’s particularly hot and humid. Consider using a ceramic or clay water bowl which stay cooler than metal or plastic and top up regularly.
Keep your pup well-groomed
Make sure your dog’s fur is clean, detangled, and brushed regularly before bedtime. Clean hair moves around more easily, letting air through to cool the skin underneath. Long or curly coats need regular trims to prevent matting. For owners of double coated breeds, if you’re concerned that a clip might change the colour of your dog’s fur on regrowth, consider speaking to your groomer about a belly clip which can help to cool the body and hide any changes in fur regrowth.
Recognise the symptoms of heatstroke
There is no general ‘safe’ temperature for dogs as all breeds are different, and humidity can make it difficult for a dog to cool down, even at lower temperatures. Never let your dog sunbathe – no matter how much they may enjoy it! – and take care with darker coloured dogs as they’ll absorb heat more readily.
A normal, healthy temperature for a dog ranges between 38.3 and 38.7 degrees Celsius. Some dogs are more susceptible to overheating than others, particularly those with long or thick coats, or those that are very young or old, have existing medical conditions that impact their breathing, or are flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers.
For dogs that struggle to keep cool, consider wetting their coat to help regulate their body temperature. Always bear in mind that some dogs do not like being sprayed with a hose – and if they get stressed, this can actually make them hotter! Instead, use a spray bottle filled with cold water or an old flannel soaked in cool water, wrung out over the coat. Alternatively, cool jackets and cool neckerchiefs are widely available at pet supplies.
In hot weather, keep an eye out for the symptoms of heatstroke – even after the sun goes down – including heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy or drowsiness, vomiting or collapsing. Contact your nearest vet if you have any concerns.
Spring is almost upon us and with it comes flowers and plants galore. But while they are beautiful to look at, many common spring novelties found in gardens across the country have toxic elements that could prove dangerous to your four-legged friend.
The team at tails.com have compiled a list of pet-safe plants for your spring garden - and some to avoid.
While daffodils can make a lovely decorating piece, they are toxic to dogs and can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and drooling. Some dogs love digging holes, whether that's in your own garden or on a walk, and this is when they can come in contact with a daffodil bulb. If you love the plant, consider fencing them off to keep them safely out of reach from your dog.
Although adding a pop of colour to your spring garden can be tempting, it’s best to leave azaleas out of the mix. These plants can be toxic to dogs if ingested and cause mild problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea and weakness. Keeping these out of reach of curious paws may be sufficient to protect your canine companion.
The bluebell may be a beautiful addition to your flower beds but this springtime favourite is dangerous to have around if you have a nosey puppy. When ingested they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and disorientation in dogs as they contain glycosides.
Prairie Lily, Lily of the Valley, Peace Lily, and Calla Lily
Consumption of lily tubers is known to be toxic for both dogs and cats, so it’s safe to keep these out of your pets' reach and be extra cautious when out walking. While not all lilies are toxic to pets, the majority can cause an upset tummy and other uncomfortable reactions.
If your dog consumes a lily plant, it may cause gastrointestinal upset including vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. If your dog has got its paws on a lily and seems unwell, it's important to contact your vet for further advice.
Tulips and Hyacinths
While tulips and hyacinths are two of the world’s most popular spring flowers, they are considered toxic to most animals, including dogs, cats and horses, so if you have any pets it's important to keep them out of reach inside your home or garden. When ingested the plant can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and drooling.
If your dog eats a large amount of the plant bulb, they may experience changes in heart rate and respiration, which then you will need to seek veterinary attention.
Nurture them with sunlight, regular water and pruning and they are guaranteed to remain colourful and luscious throughout spring - while posing no threat to your furry friends.
Despite their fiery-sounding name, the humble snapdragon is guaranteed to offer a sweet and delicate touch to any flowerbed. These flowers need to be dead-headed regularly, but fed only weekly, making them pleasantly low-maintenance. The best thing about snapdragons? They pose no threat to dogs at all!
Sunflowers require a lot of water, as they become very unhappy when left to dry out. To encourage strength and vitality, we recommended adding tomato feed to their soil. If you are lucky enough to witness your sunflower stem grow tall, it could be wise to invest in some kind of bamboo pole, in order to support it.
Camellias are always a beautiful and safe addition to any garden and come in many varieties and colours. Another benefit is that they can survive through the colder months, as long as they are watered regularly and not left to dry out. They do not enjoy too much sun exposure, so plant them somewhere that is sunny in the morning but shady in the afternoon.
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