As the weather warms up, we should prepare for how the rise in temperature will affect our dogs. From understanding how dogs sweat (to if dogs even do sweat) to spotting the signs of heatstroke and how to tell if it’s too hot outside to exercise, will help you to help them stay happy and hydrated.
Recent research by dogsblog.com sponsor, Direct Line Pet Insurance, has revealed that a staggering 88 per cent of British dog owners said that they have been denied water for their animal when visiting a pub, cafe or restaurant and that a fifth of dog owners said they’ve witnessed their dog or a friends’ dog suffering from heatstroke in the past.
Here are 6 top tips for keeping your dog’s healthy during the sporadic hot weather currently hitting the UK.
Apply sun cream to dogs to prevent burning and avoid heatstroke
Direct Line Pet Insurance recommends dog owners, especially those with short-haired dogs, regularly apply sun cream to their pets during hot weather.
Four fifths (79 per cent) of dog owners admit to never putting sun cream on their pet. Even though most dogs have fur, their skin can be incredibly sensitive and need some extra protection against potentially harmful ultraviolet rays. Short-haired dogs have ultra-sensitive skin which is often more susceptible to burning or causing the animal to suffer from heatstroke.
This sentiment has been echoed by British Para-Swimmer Harriet Lee who is heading off to even an even warmer climate, Rio, for the 2016 Paralympic Games shortly. Harriet owns two dogs, Bow, a short-haired Puggle and Baya Bear, a Labradoodle.
Alongside Direct Line, Harriet is highlighting the importance of sun protection for dogs with short haired dogs advising owners to regularly apply dog friendly sun cream when out in warm temperatures.
Limit the duration and intensity of your animals exercise
Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, offered this advice to dog owners, “Limiting the duration and intensity of exercise during warmer days will also help to combat the effects of heatstroke and overheating. Symptoms of heatstroke evident in dogs include excessive panting, drooling and lethargy.”
Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler
During the warmer weather if you can stay inside during the hottest period (typically between 11am-3pm) this will help your dog cope better. Being able to keep cool in a well-ventilated space with fresh water available will help to keep them well hydrated, so plan to exercise as early or late as you can when temperatures are better suited to your dog.
Always keep a fresh water supply with you for your dog when going out in the heat to ensure they remain hydrated
Pre-pack a spare bowl and bottle of tap water for your dog in the car or if you’re walking you can change out the bowl for a plastic box or fold-able bowl alongside the bottle of water to save on space if you’re carrying on foot. It’s better to be prepared just incase you aren’t able to get the refreshment your dog needs when out and about.
Check the ground is not too warm before your dog walks on it
Before venturing out, check how hot the pavement is – if it’s too hot, your dog’s paws could burn.
To test how hot it is, put the back of your hand on the concrete. If your hand can’t stay on the concrete for at least five seconds due to the heat, then it is too warm for your dog.