Boy it’s hot outside!
With the Great British summer heatwave we have enjoyed a fabulous summer seeing temperatures souring into high 20’s and low 30’s. At work the boss is buying more fans to keep everyone cool and at night we are sitting out till late enjoying BBQ’s and having fun but what about our four legged companions how are they coping with the heat?. With a full fur coat and no way of cooling down apart from panting, their nose and their little pads keeping your pets cool is vital to their safety and their general wellbeing.
Most people are sleeping with their windows open and our pets are seeking out cool airy dark areas, cold stone floors anything to keep their temperatures down and so here are a few top tips to help keep their body temperatures low during the heat of the day.
Watch the sun rise and the sun set - keeping your dog in doors all day without a walk will have a cause and effect on them. They need good daily exercise and also socialisation and so pick the times of day very carefully. Rise earlier and go out in the cool of the morning and your four legged companion will love this more as during the evening all sorts of pesky fur balls roam the bushes and roads and so there is far more interesting sniffs to take in on an early morning walk. Remember to take your water bottle with you and a little collapsable water bowl for your dog which you can buy in any good pet store.
A knotted cold wet white hanky: well, I have yet to see a dog wearing one, but I can remember the days when men used to garden with a knotted wet hanky on their heads. If you have just come back from a walk with your dog and they are overheating you can quickly help their body temperature cool by soaking their dog towels in cold water and letting them lie on it in a dark cool room.
Dehydrate - keep bowls of fresh clean cold water everywhere, pop a tray of ice cubes into them too, it really helps, or replenish the water from the fridge instead of the tap. Keep extra bowls inside and out. And, remember the birds outside too a little bowl of water will help them on their chirpy way.
Say NO to Cars! - taking your dog with you on your summer holiday is fun but really they cannot cope with the intense heat inside of your car, especially if you get stuck in a traffic jam. The temperature inside a car can very quickly rise to 47”C (117”F) which can result in death in just a very short time. And so if you really want to go to the beach with your dog and it involves a car journey or you need to take your dog somewhere in an emergency please think about the time of day, make that journey very early in the morning to avoid the sun and heat and you will also beat the traffic jams too.
Dog breeds with white coats -you may not know this but many dog breeds with white coats like the West Highland White will have a soft and curly coat and their skin is pink underneath. They are particularly at risk of sunburn and over exposure of the sun can result in severe burns and again rapid dehydration. So please keep them in doors and only take a stroll very early in the morning and during the evening.
Pet sun cream -Yes you heard it here first folks! You can purchase pet safe sun cream from your veterinary practice. Use on the exposed parts of your pet’s skin like their nose, tips of their ears but be very careful with their paws as the pads are another way of keeping their body temperatures cool.
Keep me busy on long days please - days can be very long without their normal midday walk and so make the day pass by leaving little tasty frozen treats stuffed in a kong. Or soak a cotton rope pull toy in water and freeze it, your dog will love chewing it and it will cool down their mouths.
It’s Fun in the garden - if you are at home leave your back doors open for your pets to go in and out to the shade. You can purchase paddling pools relatively cheaply now and your dog will really appreciate a cool paddle if they are too hot.
Ouch watch my paws! - have you ever dived into a lovely pool for a cooling swim and forgotten how hot the sand is, getting out is like hopping on hot coals. Constant hot sun beating down on a tarmac pavement and road has caused some areas to melt can you imagine how this feels on your dog’s paws. When walking out take care to walk in the shade and over grass even when the temperatures are cooling down tarmac will retain heat for several hours.
And so what are the signs of burned pads?
Limping or refusing to walk
Licking or chewing of the paws
Pad darker and bleeding
Missing part of the pad
Blisters or redness
The Tale tale signs of heatstroke
Heavy & excessive panting and sudden loss of energy
What to do if your dog is suffering from heatstroke
Move them to a cool space or shaded area immediately. Cool them down by wetting their coat with cool, not freezing water and offer water to them if they can take it and contact your vet immediately.Be extra cautious with short nosed (brachycephalic) dogs such as French bull dogs, boxers, pugs as well as older dogs and those that are overweight these dogs will suffer very quickly from heatstroke just by running around.
You can purchase a natural remedy paw butter to help cracked pads however, we would always ask you to seek medical advice from your vet first should your dog have any signs of burned pads or heatstroke.
Have fun and keep your little fur balls safe in the heat
Hugo & Ottox