The summer is the perfect time for you and your dog to get outside in the great outdoors and experience all that mother nature has to offer.
The longer days are a natural blessing and give you the perfect excuse to spend quality time together. As the sun comes out and the temperature rises, it is very important to look after your dog’s health both at home and outside.
Dogs, unlike us, can’t slip in to cooler clothes – so here are K9 Magazine’s top ten tips for keeping your dog cool and protected from the heat.
10 Top Tips on How to Keep Dogs Cool in Hot Weather Conditions
* Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh and cool water. It’s always best to have two bowls full, just in case one gets empty, knocked over or becomes dirty. Don’t be afraid to overdo it with the water and if you are leaving the dog alone for any amount of time – perhaps whilst you nip out to the shops – placing a few water bowls around the home so that your dog can easily get to them, also reduces the risk that they will knock one over.
* Make sure that there is a nice shady spot in the garden for your dog to rest and get away from the sun. A carefully placed umbrella or a leafy tree can provide ample shade or make sure a cosy porch is well ventilated and out of direct sunlight. During really hot times, it’s always best to keep your dog in the cool house rather than let them over heat through their desire to want to be outside with you.
* Don’t walk your dog during the hottest part of the day. Try walking him first thing in the morning before the sun heats up or in the evening when the sun is losing its heat. It sounds so simple and so obvious but sadly many owners forget just how hot their dog can get when the sun is at its peak.
* Walk him somewhere you know there are lots of trees and shaded paths. Avoid open fields and opt for wooded paths and shady areas.
* When walking your dog make sure you have a large bottle of cool water with you at all times for if your dog does get hot. Dogs don’t sweat like us and pant to release heat. Having a nice cool drink will reduce your dog’s body temperature.
* When walking your dog you need to take note of the surface that your dog is treading on. Certain kinds of pavement, asphalt and sand can burn your dog’s paws if really hot. Try the surface with your hand; if it’s too hot for you to place your hand, it’s way too hot for your dog’s paw pads.
* You should never leave your dog unattended in a car, ever. But in hot weather it can prove a fatal mistake. The temperature inside a car increases rapidly and air supply is limited. Dogs don’t lose heat the same way as us, in fact they make the area they are in – if it is an enclosed, poorly ventilated area – they will make the space much, much hotter than it is already.
* When driving in your car ensure your dog is sat in the shade and near a partially open window or air conditioning vent. On a long journey, prepare to make regular rest stops.
* If you dog has a short, light coat you may need to apply sun cream to areas that may catch the sun i.e. Nose, paws, ears and anywhere that is pink. Most human sun cream is fine and non-toxic, just make sure you read the label first and use a SPF 15 + .
* If your dog really suffers with the heat, you can get a dog jacket that keeps him cool. Some pet shops and online stores stock jackets that have specially made layers of fabric that trap in cool water and reflect light. Great if you take your dog sailing or on long walks, where he may be exposed to long hours of sunlight.
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Remember, dogs can die in hot weather. Keeping your dog cool in the heat can actually be a life saver.