Keeping your dog safe during hot weather

Gosh, it’s hot out there!

How do we cope in this weather with our cats and dogs AND have fun at the same time? It can be quite tricky to juggle – at last it’s lovely, we want to go out there and enjoy the sun, maybe sit in a beer garden or go to an outdoor show, and we don?t want our dogs to miss out. But should we take them?

If in any doubt, less is definitively more!

As they say: No dog has ever died from being bored for a few days, but far too many dogs have died (or seriously suffered) from being out in the heat too much.

Hopefully we all know the usual advice:

Take your dog out first thing in the morning and last thing at night, take plenty of water with you, seek out shady areas and those with access to water, and take it easy, avoid strenuous exercise.

Check the temperature of the pavement with the back of your hand- if its too hot for you to touch for more than a couple of seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. And dogs do get scalded paws in hot weather!

And obviously- never leave your dog in the car on a hot day! It gets extremely hot in the car very quickly, and despite this being shared over and over again, dogs still die like this every summer.

Some dogs can cope much better with hot weather than others: dogs that are more at risk are: older dogs, dogs with medical issues such as heart problems or hormonal problems and particularly bulldog type dogs with a flat face.

Dogs can’t sweat like we do (their only sweat glands are in the paws), so they mainly adjust to heat by panting. In flat faced dogs, the area of the nose that regulates heat is TINY compared to that of other dogs noses- that’s why, no matter how much they pant, they still can’t cool down effectively.

If your Frenchie pants just a little bit more than usual – that’s a sign to stop! Better still: be proactive and stop BEFORE there is any extra panting.

Ok, so that’s lots of things not to do, but we were talking about having FUN with our dogs in the heat.

Here are a few things to try:

Make it Sponge your dog down day (use tepid water, not ice cold).

Have a kids paddling pool in the garden for your dog to step in and out of as they want.

Get into the water with your dog. You don’t have to swim! Just wade a little- you’ll feel nicely refreshed, too!

Scatter some frozen peas in the garden (in the shade) for your dog to search and find.

Make some ice cubes with bone broth or crushed berries for a cooling snack.

Go for a midnight walk. It’s hot til sunset, but who says you can’t take your dog out really late? Maybe take the kids and make it into an adventure!

And what about cats? Well they tend to look after themselves and be much more sensible than dogs most of the time.

The main concern with cats is that they can get cancer from too much sun exposure. It’s mainly white cats that are at risk, and it’s the ears that are most often affected.

It’s sensible to keep white cats indoors on hot, sunny days; and if they do go out, then apply some thick sunscreen to the ears (white dogs, too!).

All that being said – ENJOY the sun, who knows how long it’ll last!

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