Sit, stay . . . cool

Hot sum­mers can be tricky for dogs

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE -

How to help your dog en­joy a hot sum­mer

Dogs can suf­fer fa­tal heat­stroke within min­utes. Un­like hu­mans, they can’t sweat through their skin, so to reg­u­late their body tem­per­a­ture and keep cool they rely on pant­ing, and re­leas­ing heat through their paw pads and nose. And once a dog shows signs of heat­stroke the dam­age is of­ten al­ready done, which is why it’s so im­por­tant to pre­vent it.

Signs of heat­stroke in dogs in­clude col­lapse, ex­ces­sive pant­ing, and drib­bling. Move an af­fected dog to a cool place, prefer­ably with a draught, wet its coat with cool - not icy - wa­ter, and contact your vet im­me­di­ately.

To keep a dog cool and pre­vent heat­stroke make sure your dog has ac­cess to clean wa­ter at all times, ide­ally a large bowl filled to the brim. Carry wa­ter and a bowl with you on walks. On hot days, walk your dog dur­ing the cooler parts of the day, in the early morn­ing and late evening and watch him for signs of over-heat­ing, in­clud­ing heavy pant­ing and loss of en­ergy. If you recog­nise th­ese signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot and give your dog wa­ter. Be par­tic­u­larly care­ful with short nosed dogs such as bull breeds, box­ers, pugs, older dogs, and those that are over­weight. They can get heat­stroke sim­ply by run­ning around.

Dogs’ paw pads can burn on hot pave­ments. As a gen­eral rule, if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for their paws. Keep dogs in the shade in the sum­mer heat and never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the win­dows open. Swim­ming is ex­cel­lent ex­er­cise for dogs and a great al­ter­na­tive to walk­ing in the sum­mer heat. Not all dogs like to swim, so don’t force them and never throw a dog into wa­ter. Drink­ing salt wa­ter is likely to make your dog sick so take fresh wa­ter with you. Check fresh­wa­ter lakes, rivers, ponds and canals to make sure they are clean. Some types of al­gae, in­clud­ing blue-green al­gae, are toxic to dogs. If your dog swims in al­gae­con­tam­i­nated wa­ter, contact your vet im­me­di­ately.

ABOVE: Swim­ming is great ex­er­cise and a good way for your dog to cool down

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