Summer Dog Care Advice – Transcript

Hi, my name is Alice and I'm a canine behaviourist and training advisor here at Battersea. Today I'm going to show you some tips for keeping your dog cool during the summer.

Keeping your dog cool in hot weather is all about being prepared and forward planning. As well as having fun when the weather gets nicer, it's important to think about staying safe in the heat, especially for the canine members of the family. The aim is to keep your dog healthy and happy and reduce the risk of heat stroke.

Tip one: Plan your walks.

Avoid walking your dog if the weather is hot, as dogs are not able to cope in the heat as well as humans. Even a warm day can predispose dogs to overheating, especially if they're exercising. Consider if your dog may be safer going for a gentle walk very early or late in the evening when the temperature has significantly reduced or do some stimulating activities at home. Be mindful of the weather when planning a walk and take regular breaks in the shade.

Tip two: Always remember water.

Water is essential for your dog all year round, especially on a hot day. If you're out and about with your dog, make sure you always have a bottle of water and a bowl for them to drink from.

Tip three: Protect your dog's paws from hot surfaces.

Surfaces which heat up in the sun, such as tarmac or sand, can be painful for your dog's paws. If in doubt, check for yourself. If it feels too hot for you to touch, the chances are your dog's thinking the same, so try to stick to grassy or shaded areas instead.

Tip four: Look out for signs of heat stroke.

Dogs suffer with heat stroke when they overheat. Heat stroke develops when a dog can't reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal. This can happen not just when it's hot but also in warm temperatures. It is important to know how to avoid it and be aware of the signs as it requires urgent veterinary treatment. Any dog can develop heat stroke, but overweight, young, elderly, flat-faced, giant breeds and thick coated dogs are particularly at risk even from just sitting out in hot weather. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, lethargy, confusion or loss of coordination, drooling or foaming from the mouth, vomiting or diarrhoea, shaking or weakness and seizures. If you think your dog has heat stroke, you need to act fast. Make sure you contact your vet immediately. While contacting the vets, move the dog to a shaded and cool area. Keep them calm and still. Put them on top of a cool wet towel or place them in the breeze of a fan. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Dampen the dog's feet, head and ears with cool water - never use ice or very cold water as this can cause shock. Gradually start to move cool water over their body, but not too much as they may start shivering. If possible, continue cooling your dog on the way to the vet.

Tip five: Keep your dog cool at home.

There are many additional ways you can help your dog to stay cool in hot weather. You can encourage them to stay in shaded areas or away from direct sunlight, put down damp towels or cooling mats for them to lie on, put on a garden sprinkler in shaded garden areas, keep a paddling pool in the shade for them to gently splash around in or put your dog in a cooling coat.

Tip six: Use their energy in different ways.

In warm weather, it's a good idea to find ways to use up your dog's mental and physical energy which are less strenuous. For example, if they usually like to run for hours at a time this could be detrimental in hotter temperatures. Instead, you could do some training indoors, hide their toys or treats in a small area and let them sniff them out or you could freeze their food or use frozen treats in food puzzles to keep them stimulated. You could also use toys or treats to encourage your dog to spend some time in a shaded paddling pool. Whatever activities you choose, make sure they are calm and out of the heat. Those are our top tips on how to keep your dog safe and happy in the summer heat, the Battersea way. For more hints and tips, visit the Battersea website and make sure you hit the subscribe button below.