The weather is improving, the sun is shining, the heat is rising and you are loving life right now! But let’s make sure we don’t forget about our canine companions! In the UK our annual average temperature is 14 degrees, so when we have a heat wave, or random days of temperatures soaring into the mid and late 20’s, our dogs can overheat very quickly, This can lead to some serious problems.
So, what can we do to keep our dogs comfortable and safe in the hot weather?
Some of this guidance is just common sense, but if you have a new dog, or just want a bit of a recap, then check out my top tips below on how to keep your dog cool this summer
WALK IN THE MORNING OR THE EVENING
It’s an obvious one, but it’s generally cooler in the morning and the evening, so if you want to go and stretch your legs, these are the best times to go. Go to your nearest woodland or, if your dog likes a swim, why not treat them to a evening splash at the lake! In this weather your dog really doesn’t need a run either, so it’s fine to keep them on lead, or if you must a short burst off lead, to give them a good head start on the day.
One other tip is to check the pavement before you head out with your bear hand or foot, even when it’s early morning or late evening. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. When the air temperature hits 30 degree Celsius, tarmac can be hot enough to cook an egg in 5 minutes! Burns, permenant damage and scarring can happen after just one minute. Don’t risk it
KEEP THEM HYDRATED
Fill up a few more bowls than usual in the house to keep your dog cool and hydrated, and make sure there is one in the shade in the garden too. If your dog has plenty of access to water he’s likely to drink more, and you lessen the risk of leaving a bowl empty. Keep them topped up.
NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A HOT CAR
It goes without saying, but you would be surprised at how many people ‘pop out’ for a minute to run an errand. Winding windows down a bit does NOT make the car cooler.
When it’s 22 degrees outside, a car can reach a blistering 47 degrees inside within an hour. The RSPCA have some great guidance on what to do if you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day and suspect it is suffering with heatstroke…
- Establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately.
- If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
- Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971)”
There is further information on the RSPCA website on what first aid to administer and what to do if a dog ISNT displaying signs of heatstroke.
DON’T FORCE ENERGETIC TRAINING
If your dog wants to be lazy and lie on the cool kitchen floor all day then let him! It’s a GREAT chance to get some calmness training in. Reward them for those calm choices throughout the day. Don’t force them to go and wrap in the garden or learn a new trick if they aren’t interested.
Let them chill out, and perhaps see if they would like to do some training in the evening, when it’s cooler, instead of a walk. You could try some shaping exercises that aren’t TOO energetic, but are still great brain games.
UTILISE THAT FREEZER AND PROMOTE CALMNESS
Now is the time to have a re-arrange of your freezer and give your dog a drawer of their own! Freeze kongs, hooves, ice cubes trays and licky mats with tasty treats. You can use anything from raw, to blitzed up fruit or veg. You know what your dog’s favourites are so utilise this so that you have something cool on offer several times a day.
The licking action not only promotes calmness, meaning your dog is still and less likely to work up a sweat, but they are super cool treats. Think of it as your dog’s own personal ice cream van!
If you are having trouble keeping your dog calm, or find they are too ‘hyped up’ to take a kong, or perhaps wish your walks were a bit less stressful, then WE can HELP! Head trainer Nikki can go through ALL of your issues during a ‘one to one’, which can be in person (after lockdown) or over the phone. These sessions arm you with an action plan to help you and your dog with the struggles you face right now, and ensure that you are working on the right training personalised to YOU and YOUR DOG.
Just call 07807 225465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the summer with your dog and stay safe!