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It's going to be a Hot one - keeping your dog cool and safe!

I do wonder why every time we have an unusually hot spell we have to remind people to be sensible and not take their dogs out in the hot weather and yet they do, we see posts on Social media with photos of collapsed dogs and distraught owners along with countless meme and visuals encouraging people to 'do the right thing'.

We have the benefit of being able to shed clothes unlike our dogs who have a fur coat.

Dogs don't perspire like we do. The coat keeps them both cool in hot weather and warm in cool weather. Did you know though that dogs have sweat glands on their feet as well as in their ears? But sweating plays only a very small part in regulating their body temperature.

When the thermometer goes up, especially when it's humid like it is now, everything gets hot...including your dog's body. So how does he try to cool down?

Four things need to happen; conduction, convection, radiation and evaporation. So he will seek a shady place that is cool and absorb the colder surface (conduction). Blood vessels will dilate in his tongue and skin so the hot blood is drawn to the surface (radiation). He will seek out a breeze or a fan to blow cooler air over his body and tongue to transfer the heat to the air (convection)

He'll be panting, this brings the air into his lungs and mucous membranes to evaporate water and of course he'll be drinking more water to compensate for the evaporation.

This is why caravans, stationary cars and enclosed areas can be so dangerous and life threatening for dogs, even though you may leave some slight ventilation. They heat up rapidly and stay hot, this is called the "the hot house" effect. Within the space of a few minutes your dog will start to over heat, it's like putting your dog in an oven and turning on the gas!

Try sitting in your car on a hot day, with the windows slightly down, how long before it becomes unbearable? 1 minute? 5 minutes? How long did you say you were running into the shops for?

So, how do I keep my dog cool in this weather?

  • Make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool water to drink, place bowls all around your home and out in the garden or back yard. Make sure to keep topping this up. Add ice cubes to the water bowl.

  • Make frozen treats in Kongs or freeze yoghurts in pots, the kids size ones are ideal for this. Frozen fruit and veg can work as well as bones.

  • Make sure there is plenty of shade in the back yard or garden and cool areas for him to lay, remember that grass and concrete can heat up rapidly so it's worth checking the surface before you let them out.

  • Provide a paddling pool or washing up bowl of water outside so the can dip their paws to cool down.

  • Create a cool room in your house, with cooling mats or cold damp towels for your dog to lay on and fans to create a breeze.

  • Exercise should be restricted to the coolest part of the day, very early morning and late evening, it's worth remembering that a dog has never died from not being walked, but sadly many have from that one walk in the heat!

  • AND NEVER LEAVE your dog in a car, caravan or conservatory for even 1 minute (Do I even need to say that?)

If you suspect your dog has overheated seek veterinary attention immediately!!

Enjoy the summer safely

Gary and Natalie


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