It’s looking like 2018 will go down as one of the hottest summers on record in the UK. Whilst many of us love good weather, pet owners are often thinking about ways of keeping dogs cool. In this article we look at some of the issues and give advice about how to cope.
Keeping Dogs Cool – Walking and Transporting Dogs
When temperatures are at their highest it’s wise to try and walk dogs early in the morning or late in the evening. As with most things a degree of common sense is required. If you do need to walk dogs in very hot weather, the following tips for keeping dogs cool can help.
Try and walk dogs in a forest location if possible. The tree canopy will usually result in temperatures 10 degrees celsius cooler than in direct sun. Locations with water can also help in keeping dogs cool. It’s important to take into account the age and general health of the dog. Also certain breeds suffer more in hot weather than others. This especially applies to Brachycephalic or ‘flat-faced’ breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Pekinese, Bull Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Boxers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Many dogs are quite smart and will seek out shade on a walk. They will also moderate their activity. This does not apply to all dogs though and some obsessive ball focused dogs will still want to over exert themselves. Reduce play time or leave the ball at home if you have such a dog.
When it comes to transporting dogs it goes without saying that they should not be left inside a hot car. I say it goes without saying yet every when we get a hot spell there seems to be stories of dogs that die in hot cars. Leaving a window open is not enough. nor are blinds or tinted windows. If you don’t drive and need to walk your dog from your house consider the surface they will be walking on. Before you arrive at a local park they may have to walk on the streets. Black tarmac in particular can get so hot that it can cause burns to your dog’s pads.
Keeping Dogs Cool – Other considerations
You may also notice that your dog drinks more than usual in hot weather. Either check your dog’s water bowl more often or put 2 bowls down. You could even consider adding ice cubes to their water to keep it cool. Earlier in the article we mentioned that walking dogs in locations with water can help keep them cool. One important thing to note however is to be aware of blue-green algae. Many lakes and bodies of water can contain blue-green algae but it can become toxic to dogs in the summer when hot conditions encourages it to bloom. Evidence of blue-green algae is quite visible to the human eye but signs are also put up in popular walking locations.
In the home dogs will often seek out a cool tile floor, often in the kitchen or bathroom. If your dog does not have access to the entire home ensure the area they are confined to is comfortable. Naturally you should avoid keeping them in conservatories, which with all that glazing are often like greenhouses. For those dog owners with a garden, consider a sprinkler or paddling pool which many dogs love. This is assuming there is not a hosepipe ban in your area!
For anyone wanted further information about keeping dogs cool you might want to read the following article: