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Safe temperatures for dogs

Safe temperatures for dogs

Keeping Your Dog Safe in Hot Weather: Essential Tips for UK Dog Owners

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, it's important for dog owners to understand how to keep their furry friends safe and comfortable in the hot weather. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, and taking the right precautions can prevent serious health issues. Here’s a guide to help you care for your dog during the warm months in the UK.

 

Understanding the Risks of Hot Weather for Dogs

Dogs can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburn, just like humans. However, they are less efficient at cooling themselves down because they can only sweat through their paw pads and rely mostly on panting to regulate their body temperature.

 

Breeds with short noses (brachycephalic breeds like Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs), are particularly prone to breathing difficulties in hot weather. Dogs with thick coats like Huskies and Saint Bernard's, are at higher risk of overheating. Older dogs, puppies, and those with underlying health conditions are also at higher risk. Take extra precautions if your dog falls into one of these categories as they are particularly vulnerable.

 

Recognising the signs of heat-related problems and knowing how to prevent them is crucial for your pet's well-being.

 

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. Be aware of the following signs:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling or salivating more than usual
  • Mild weakness or lethargy
  • Vomiting &/or diarrhoea
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Seizures or collapse
  • Red or pale gums

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly and seek veterinary assistance immediately.

 

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

  1. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water

 Ensure your dog always has access to fresh, cool water. Hydration is key to helping them regulate their body temperature.

  1. Create a Cool Environment

Keep your dog indoors during the hottest parts of the day, usually between 11 am and 3 pm. Use fans or air conditioning if available, and provide a cool, shaded area for them to rest. Cooling mats are also another way you can keep your dog cool in the summer as these have the ability to maintain a cooler temperature and helps your dogs to sleep better. 

  1. Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

 Even with the windows cracked, a car can quickly become a death trap for a dog. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels within minutes.

  1. Limit Exercise

Exercise your dog during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Avoid strenuous activities and take frequent breaks in the shade.

  1. Use Cooling Products

Consider using cooling mats, vests, or bandanas designed to help keep dogs cool. These products can provide extra relief during hot weather.

  1. Watch the Pavement

Pavement, asphalt, and sand can become extremely hot and burn your dog's paw pads. Test the surface with your hand; if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog. Walk them on grass or shaded areas instead. The best time to walk your dog is early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest parts of the day as this can make your dog overheat and can cause it to have heatstroke within minutes.

  1. Provide Frozen Treats

Frozen dog treats or ice cubes can be a refreshing way to help your dog cool down. There are many simple recipes available online for making homemade frozen treats - Click Here. These can be used with LickiMats. LickiMats are a useful enrichment source in the summer.

  1. Groom Appropriately

Regular grooming can help keep your dog’s coat free of mats and tangles, which can trap heat. However, avoid shaving their coat completely, as it can expose their skin to the sun and increase the risk of sunburn.

 

 When to Seek Veterinary Help

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke or any other heat-related illness, contact your vet immediately. In the meantime, move your dog to a cooler environment, offer small amounts of water, and use cool (not cold) water to gently lower their body temperature.

 

Conclusion

Hot weather can be challenging for dogs, but with the right care and attention, you can ensure your pet stays safe and comfortable. By following these tips and being mindful of the risks, you can enjoy the summer together while keeping your dog healthy and happy

 

Stay cool and enjoy the summer with your furry friend!

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