Keeping hot dogs cool
As the temperature starts to rise this summer, the only hot dogs you see should be on your barbecue. Dogs can be affected by heatstroke and it can be very serious – even fatal – if not treated quickly enough. Some breeds of dog are more at risk than others including those with flat faces and very thick coats, so it’s important that owners know how to spot the signs.
Signs of heatstroke
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Foaming at the mouth
- Glazed eyes
- Bright red gums
- Increased heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shaking or wobbling
- Collapse or seizure
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, you should contact your vet immediately and move your pet to a cool, shaded area as quickly as possible. Apply towels that have been soaked in cold water to your dog’s head, neck and chest areas, and offer water to drink. Never use iced water on a dog with suspected heatstroke as it could cause them to go into shock.
There are lots of pet products available that will keep your dog cool and safe on hot sunny days. These include bandanas that can be soaked in cold water before being worn around the neck to give a long-lasting cooling effect, and cooling mats that contain a special gel which goes cold under the body pressure of a pet lying on it. Cooling coats, which you soak in cold water and wring out, provide an all-over cooling cover.
Pet water fountains are a useful way to ensure that your pet has access to unlimited fresh, cold drinking water so that they can remain hydrated. You could also stuff your dog’s usual wet food into a Kong toy and freeze it for a cool, boredom-busting treat.
Whenever you are out and about with your dog, make sure you have plenty of drinking water for them. There are some very handy travel bowls and water bottles available to make this easier.
Keeping cool top tips
There are lots of other things you can do to make your pet more comfortable in the heat. Here’s our top tips for hot days:
- Avoid taking your dog out during the hottest part of the day. If necessary, change your walking routine to either early or late in the day when it is cooler.
- Think about the surface that your dog will be walking on. If it is going to be pavements, Dogs Trust recommends you take the tarmac test first. If you can’t comfortably hold your hand on the pavement for five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- If it’s too hot to walk your dog and you have a garden, you could fill a paddling pool for them to splash about in or hide treats for them to sniff out in the shade.
- Brush your dog regularly to remove dead hairs from their coat which could be trapping heat. If you have a double-coated or long-haired breed, take them to your groomer for a clip or strip.
- If your dog is travelling in a car, make sure they don’t get too hot by using a sunshade on the window to reflect the sun’s rays. If your dog is travelling in the boot of your car, be aware that if you have air conditioning it may not reach far enough to the rear. Schedule plenty of stops along the route so you can check on your dog and let them out for some fresh air and a drink.
- NEVER leave your dog in a car on a warm day. Even if you are parked in the shade with the windows slightly open and leave a bowl of water, it is not safe. The inside of a car can quickly heat up like a greenhouse, and tragically there have been too many incidents of dogs dying in cars that their owners didn’t realise were too hot for them. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, especially if they are displaying symptoms of heatstroke, you should call 999 immediately.
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