Today in Surrey it’s an absolute scorcher! It’s ‘burn your feet on the pavement so you need to dance to get anywhere barefoot’ hot. The temperature is 30 degrees and I’ll be honest, I love a little sit out in the sun, but it’s far too hot for me today. The heat is pretty stifling and it’s so muggy without the gentle breeze which we were promised and would be so welcome right now.
We can choose what we do in this heat but our dogs are totally reliant on us. They can’t decide if they want to go out for a walk or an outing as we make those decisions for them. They rely on us to make the right choices to keep them safe and here are a few points to consider as a responsible dog owner.
Please don’t take your dog out for a walk in very hot weather. Physical exertion can make them more prone to heatstroke and the pavements will also be hot and burn their paws. Think about how hot it feels when you walk bare-footed across hot pavements. Adapt your routine and take them for a walk early in the morning before the sun has had a chance to heat up the pavements, or alternatively go for a stroll late in the evening when it has cooled down.
If you have a garden, give them a paddling pool to splash around in, we have a baby bath that they like to dunk their heads in, ok I’ll rephrase that – Ellie likes to dunk her head in!
Whilst inside you could give them a damp towel to lie on, you can also buy special cooling mats which are a great idea, but if you have a puppy who chews, I wouldn’t recommend them (from experience.)
It is imperative to make sure they have plenty of fresh cool water, they will want to drink more than usual so ensure their water bowl is always full.
It’s common sense but some people don’t get it – never ever leave your dog alone in a car, the temperature will reach ridiculous levels very quickly and can cause dangerous heatstroke. By the way did you know that if you see a dog left in a car in the UK, particularly if it looks like it is suffering from the heat and you are unable find the owner of the vehicle, you should phone 999.
Take heed from that well loved Beatles song and let them be, leave them to laze around, preferably in the shade or indoors with a fan blowing to try and keep them cool. Definitely keep them out of the sun at the hottest time, between 11am and 3pm.
Don’t give them ice cubes to eat – it might seem like you are helping them out but their body will over compensate because it will initially feel it is too cold and heat them up even more. Dogs already have their own built in mechanism of panting to cool down and releasing heat through their nose and paws and they should be able to do this if they are not in extreme heat.
Heatstroke is extremely dangerous for dogs and can happen very quickly. If your dog shows any signs of heat stroke such as excessive panting, agitation, increased heart rate, drooling or extreme lethargy, make sure they are in a cool place and contact your vet immediately.
How do you cool your dogs – or yourself – down in the hot weather?