Sit, stay . . . cool
Hot summers can be tricky for dogs
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