Heatwaves are an increasing risk in the British summertime and as we learn to cope with them better, we also need to know what we can do for our pets when the temperatures soar.
Many dogs will do their best to keep themselves cool in hot weather, spending more time lying in shade and less time playing, panting more and drinking water, but you can help too!
Hydration is one of the most important things in hot weather. When it’s hot we lose a lot of fluid reserves through perspiration. Dogs are no different – though they only perspire through areas of the skin not covered in fur. They also pant when it’s hot – this quickly exchanges hot air from their lungs with cooler air from outside, and causes more water to evaporate from their lungs and tongue.
Help your dog keep hydrated in hot weather by making sure they have multiple water bowls, all kept full with cool water. Whenever your dog wants a drink they should have water nearby. When you’re taking your dog for a walk, bring a bottle of water for them so you don’t run the risk of their dehydrating.
It’s even more important to keep your dog hydrated if they’re ill. If they’ve eaten something that disagrees with them and your dog keeps being sick, they’ll be dehydrated even faster, so ensure you’re taking proactive steps to keep them hydrated.
One thing that might occur to you instinctively is to give your dog a haircut ready for the summer! This is best done by an experienced groomer, who can keep a dog’s coat light but comfortable.
One thing you shouldn’t do is shave your dog. A dog’s fur doesn’t make it hot. It’s a complex insulating later, capturing layers of air that helps, yes, to keep your dog warm in the winter but it’s also how they stay cool in the summer! If you shave it off, you remove their ability to manage their body heat effectively and they may get heat stroke.
A quick dip in the water could be a great way to help your dog cool down. Make sure the water is cool but not freezing – this could cause your dog to go into shock – and then encourage them to splash about! The cool water will help to lower their body temperature directly, and the evaporation from the wet fur will help to cool them after they’ve climbed out!