As a heatwave approaches Britain this week, make sure your dog is aware of what’s coming…
1. Slow down!
Dogs sometimes need to be reminded to take a break on an unusually warm day – and as a responsible owner, you need to allow them the time and space to cool down. Excitable or young dogs may not realise they shouldn’t be charging about in hot weather until they really feel the effects. Heatstroke can strike a dog very quickly – so keep exercise and games at a sensible level.
2. Water everywhere
Although dogs don’t sweat like us to control their body temperature, their own method, panting, actually requires more liquid. Keep fresh clean water in various places around your home, and keep it topped up regularly. Signs of dehydration in dogs include sunken eyes, physical weakness, loose skin and even collapsing. Don’t give dogs icy water however, as it can induce vomiting!
3. Time your walks
Dawn and dusk – those are the prime hunting times for predators on the savannah, so they should be the times to go out with your dog. Walking at the coolest points of the day is easy to stick too, and you and your dog will both be infinitely more comfortable, have more energy, and be able to cover much more ground. The pavement will be a safer temperature to – remember, if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for paws.
4. Seek shady spots
If your dog has the run of your garden, make sure there is adequate shade for him to chill out in at all points of the day. Sunbathing in a fur coat isn’t fun! Additionally, some dogs may be susceptible to sunburn, particularly if they have a fine coat, or sparser hair on their nose or belly. If your dog is a perpetual sun worshipper, some time inside on a cool tile floor will do the world of good.
5. Be wary about driving
A hot enclosed car is the last place any of us want to be on a humid day – and it’s no different for dogs. Plan journeys carefully, as a dog becoming agitated in a stuffy boot as you sit in traffic is a nightmare for all involved. If you do have to travel with your dog, keep the air conditioning amped up. You should never leave your dog alone in a parked car as on even a mild day a car can quickly become an oven. In 22 degrees celsius, a car can rise to an unbearable 47 degrees celsius with an hour. If you see a dog in distress left in a vehicle, the RSPCA advice is to call 999 immediately.