With the start of daylight savings and the summer season upon us, we are all eager to venture outside and enjoy the great outdoors with our dogs.
While summer outdoors can be loads of fun be sure to take steps to protect your dog from heat stroke. Whether going for a walk, a ride in the car, or just playing out in the yard, the heat can be harmful and lead to heat stroke or even worse more serious conditions such as a stroke or cardiac arrest.
Learn more on identifying the signs of heat stroke and how to keep your furry friend cool and safe this summer.
Understand the causes
Any hot environment can cause heat stroke in dogs, but the most common cause is a careless action by a pet owner, such as leaving a dog in a car or forgetting to provide water and shade to pets that are outdoors.
Some pets are more prone to developing heat exhaustion, especially pets who are older, overweight or dog breeds with a compromised airway such as brachycephalic or laryngeal paralysis (Pugs, Bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds). Dogs with compromised airways have much more difficulty expelling heat through panting and although dogs do sweat it is only a minimal amount and not enough to effectively cool themselves.
Regardless of what the temperature or humidity is, always monitor your dog carefully for signs of fatigue or heat stroke. The sooner you notice these signs, the sooner you should stop any form of exercise, cool down your dog, and if needed seek attention from your vet.
Physical symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting and signs of discomfort indicate overheating in dogs. A dog overheating may also be unable or unwilling to move around. Other signs of heatstroke in dogs include drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse.
Prevention is your best defence
Limit sun exposure:
When venturing outdoors try going in the early mornings or late evenings when it is not so hot. The air will be easier for your pet to breathe and the ground will be cooler on their paws.
If you are out in the middle of the day remember to take water with you and a dog friendly bottle or portable bowl. When at the beach or park try and find a nice shady area to play or sit in or better still let your dog have a dip in the cool sea water.
Parked cars are a serious hazard:
If you know that you will most likely be away from your dog, even for a couple of minutes, while you are out, it is much better to leave them at home where they are comfortable and have access to water than leave them alone in a car. Even if parked in the shade, the temperature inside a car on a summer’s day can reach hazardous and even fatal levels.
Keep them hydrated
In addition to overheating dogs can become dehydrated very quickly so whether at home or out and about ensure there is plenty of fresh, drinking water available.
The Zeus automatic fresh water fountain responds to your pet's need for a continuous supply of fresh and clean drinking water. The re-circulating water flow eliminates stale, stagnant water to provide fresh-tasting, cool filtered water to keep your pet hydrated.
In addition to fresh water try giving your dog some ice cubes to crunch on, not only will this help keep them cool and hydrated but is fun too!
Out and about:
The Petware water dispenser is a great portable option when out and about. Featuring a lead clip it doubles as a water bottle and bowl.
Vetafarm Spark Liquid provides a sustained release of energy supplements and electrolytes. Use in your pet’s drinking water to rehydrate, replenish and assist in recovery during times of extreme temperatures, stress, illness or injury.
Keep them cool
Keeping your pets body temperature regulated will go a long way in ensuring they don’t overheat. If they love water play give them a splash with the garden hose as a fun water game and if they don’t keep them indoors and play hide and seek with their favourite healthy treats.
The Scruffs cooling mat is filled with a non-toxic gel that will be typically 5-10 degrees cooler than room temperature and will maintain its cooling properties for approximately 1 hour depending on the environment. A great way to keep your pet cool if they are left home alone on a warm day.
The new range of Bark-a-Boo cooling toys are not only fun but can be soaked in cold water for your dog to chew on helping them stay cool and hydrated.
Out and about:
A cooling scarf or wet bandana tied around your pets neck can also be effective at helping to keep your pets temperature at a comfortable level especially when outdoors walking or playing.
More fur or less fur
In some breeds the layers of their coat can actually be effective in protecting them from over heating and helping them stay cool so before you grab the clippers and shave off their excess fur check with your vet to see if more fur or less is better for your dog during the hot summer months.
Lastly, as tempting as it is to spend as much time as possible outside during summer if the weather is extremely hot leave your dog at home where they can be in the shade or indoors as much as possible.
Have fun in the sun but be smart and be safe.