Remember that dogs can't sweat! Their cooling system is to pant.... & it's very easy for a dog to get dehydrated in hot weather.
Smaller dogs are more at risk, as they have a high body surface area-to-volume ratio. Bear in mind that dogs with darker coloured coats will absorb more heat, so are at risk of dehydrating quicker than a lighter-coloured animal. Elderly, very young pups, & overweight 4-paws are also more susceptible.
Signs of this are bloodshot eyes, excessive drooling, loss of skin elasticity, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, excessive urination. There are a few tips to follow to keep your 4-paws cool - but if any symptoms persist, it's best to seek veterinary assistance asap.
- The first & most obvious, but sadly ignored fact every year - is NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR IN HOT WEATHER! Vehicles heat up very quickly, even if they are left in the shade with a window open... When it's 22 degrees outside - a car's interior can reach upto 47 degrees within an hour! NEVER be afraid to dial 999 if you see a dog shut in a car on a hot day ... although do be aware that the RSPCA does state that should you decide to "break the dog free" yourself, you could be prosecuted for criminal damage ... although there aren't many courts in the land that would uphold the action given the cause.... (but it is a possibility!) The RSPCA have recently launched a campaign with various high street supermarkets, as it seems to be a common occurance of late to "abandon" the dog in search of the weekly shop ... so the staff would welcome any reports to them if you happen to see a hot dog in any of their car parks.
- For some reason, Holiday-Makers seem to forget that the inside of a Holiday Home, with no windows & doors open is very similar to leaving their 4-paws in a car & just should NEVER be done. You can keep the Holiday Home cooler by drawing curtains or pulling blinds - but it is just not acceptable to leave a dog unattended.
- Also may seem obvious - but make sure your dog ALWAYS has access to fresh, cool water. Keep a check on it through the day & make sure the water-bowl is always full, you can throw in some ice cubes to keep the water cooler. (A good tip is to have a few bowls available in different places rather than just the usual one.) If you're out & about with your dog, always take water with you.
- Make some dog-ice-lollies! Freeze water in a cup for your dog (take it out of the cup before giving it to them!) - or if your pooch is fond of playing with plasic bottles (as most are!) - freeze water in that & give them the entire bottle to carry round!
- Cool your 4-paws from the bottom up! A cool damp towel to lie on does a better job than one across their backs! If you spray their coat with water - don't forget their belly & their paws!
- Place a bowl of ice in front of a fan & both you & your 4-paws will benefit! (If your 4-paws doesn't eat the ice first...)
- Be "BBQ-Aware!" You may like to chow-down on the chicken drumsticks, so will your 4-paws given half the chance - but do remember that ANY COOKED bones are exceedingly dangerous for your dog. ANY type of cooked bone can splinter & caused fatal injuries to your faithful friend.
- NEVER walk your dog in the middle of a hot day! Restrict walks to early morning or evenings. Just imagine how you would like to pound the pavements in bear feet, wearing a wooly jumper!
- Let your dog be the judge at home! Don't restrict access to the outside space... the dog will soon decide if it's too hot outside, or will find a shady spot to suit. Much as you may value your garden, you may find your dog will dig to find their "outside space" - which is a natural instinct for them in hot weather.
- Most dogs will simply love a pool in hot weather - but do keep an eye on them whilst they are in there (same as you would with kiddies!)
- Use pet-sun-block on any non-furry areas, like tips of ears - especially if your animal is light-coloured, or white.
- Don't panic too much if your dog isn't eating as much as usual in hot weather... we don't either & your dog is most probably less energetic than usual with less playing & trotting about - so it should all equal out. If you are at all concerned over a large loss of appetite - contact your vet.
- Remember to discard any left-over food your 4-paws may not have eaten... it will deteriorate very quickly in hot weather, but your 4-paws might decide to go back & finish it later without a second thought!
- Some dogs seem to find it fun to chase wasps & bees ... & can end up learning the hard way, that it's not quite as fun as they first thought. If your dog does get stung, generally it's not a major issue. If it's a bee-sting, remove the sting wth tweezers & try not to burst the poison-sack in the process. Bathe with 1 part bicarbonate of soda to 1 pint of water. If it's a wasp sting, there is no "sting" to remove (cos they're just vicious buggers who sting for the pleasure of it!), - bathe with either vinegar or lemon juice: as a wasp sting is alkaline. (Also a useful tip for 2-legged victims!) If your dog is stung around the mouth or neck, it's always best to see a vet.
- Remember that a dog can feel agitated & grumpy in excessive heat - just like we can! So just be cautious & ensure younger children understand that your 4-paws may not exactly feel like being pulled around too much!
ETK wish you & your 4-paws a sizzling but safe summer!