Hot Weather Tips
As its starting to get warmer it seems a good time to start considering how this temperature change will affect our four-legged best friends. Dogs are much more at risk in hotter temperatures as they are unable to sweat (other than through their paws and panting) like we do, and effectively carry around a fur coat! I am going to walk you through my top hot weather tips.
Who is at risk?
First things first, we want to think about the breed and age of our dog. Dogs with heavier coats (think Husky, German Shephard, and Pomeranian) will have lower heat tolerance than their short-hair counter parts. In addition, flat faced breeds such as the pug, Bulldog and Frenchie will struggle more than those with longer noses. Unfortunately, data from the RVC has shown that Bulldogs are 14 times more likely to suffer with illness from heat related sources than a Labrador!
Now it is also worth considering the age of your dog too- older dogs and puppies will struggle far more in heat than dogs aged 1-6 years old as a rule of thumb. If you’re still struggling to work out your own dog’s individual heat tolerance, then have a chat with your vet.
In the hotter months I make sure to plan my dog walks for the morning and evening, avoiding the hotter parts of the day. Most importantly I make sure to never walk my dogs if its warmer than 20 degrees out!
Make sure to provide constant access to shade and water on hot days, as well as time to rest on walks should your dog need it. If you’re unsure whether it’s too hot to walk your dog, I would always ere on the side of caution and not walk them. Remember having a day off from walking wont’ kill your dog, but heat stroke might.
I like to help my dogs out on hotter days by giving them some treats designed to help them cool down.
Popsicles: Get any type of ice lolly maker/ mould and make your dog some pet friendly treats. I mix a combination of oat milk, kefir, blueberries and peanut butter (make sure yours is clear of palm oil and sweetener!) together to give my dogs an ice cool healthy treat. You can put similar mixes into ice cube moulds too and give your dogs these straight from the freezer.
If your dog is on a diet or unable to eat treats you can try just pouring some hot water on their normal dog food. Wait for this to go nice and mushy then spread it onto a Lickimat or stuff inside a Kong. Pop it into a freezer for a few hours and then let your dog enjoy.
As with anything, moderation is key here. Do not allow your dog to eat these frozen treats for more than about 10 minutes at a time.
Signs of heat stroke
If you follow all the above steps its unlikely that you’ll encounter heat stroke in your dog, but it is always worth learning the signs just in case!
Some key signs of heat stroke are:
- Panting heavily
- Appearing drowsy and/or confused
Immediately call your vet if you think your dog might have heatstroke. - Time is of the essence here so if in doubt, do get in touch with them.
It is more than possible to have fun in the sun this summer as long as you are prepared! If we all take reasonable precautions and keep an eye on our dogs, everyone can enjoy time outdoors together!
About The Author:
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
Give her a follow -