29th June 2018
This summer is set to be a scorcher, and while that may be great for topping up our tans, with the hot days and sunshine comes responsibility. Just as we should apply sun cream, there are some do’s and don’ts to consider when it comes to our dogs.
That’s why Butcher’s have partnered with Dog Listener Lucy Proctor, to find out more about how the heat of summer can affect your dog, and some easy ways to reduce this. Here’s how to keep your best friend happy through the warmer months:
Your dog will get through much more water in the hotter weather than at any other time of the year, so don’t forget to keep their water bowl topped up. It’s a good idea to increase the number of bowls you put out, and spread them around the house and garden- I’ve been known to buy an extra washing up bowl to fill up and place in a shady part of the garden.
What’s the best way to cool down when the temperature rises? Ice lollies! Why not make some homemade iced treats for your dogs to enjoy in the heat? There are lots of recipes online, so experiment to see what your dog likes best. Just remember that they are treats though – moderation is key!
Where possible, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day. Ideally, aim to finish a morning walk before noon, and wait until after 6 pm in the evening. If this isn’t feasible, there are a few extra measures you can take to keep your dog happy and healthy on a summer walk. Try walking through woodland, where the temperature can drop several degrees and there is plenty of shade. Take water in a collapsible dog bowl with you to quench their thirst throughout the walk – little and often is the key.
Whenever you walk your dog, be sure to check that the pavement isn’t too hot to walk on. We have shoes to protect our feet, but they only have pads, and they can burn! A general rule of thumb is to place the back of your hand on the pavement for 5-10 seconds – if you can do this without discomfort, then you’re good to go!
Temperatures and heatstroke
It’s always better to take your dog for a shorter walk rather than risk them getting heat stroke (where the dog is no longer able to regulate its own body temperature through panting and sweating through their pads).
So when is hot too hot?
Let’s start with the breed – if you have a short-nosed, elderly or overweight dog or puppy, it will find it harder to cope, so be extra careful. Humidity is also a factor- your dog will suffer more in higher humidity, just like we do.
A temperature guide:
21 degrees – It’s safe to walk your dog at this temperature, just be sure to take water with you and find shady areas.
25 degrees – The pavements and tarmac will be too hot to walk on – it will only take 60 seconds to burn the dog’s pads. Avoid walking your dog.
29 degrees – Dogs are prone to heatstroke at this temperature, do not walk your dog.
32 degrees – This temperature can be life-threatening if dogs are exposed for long periods.
Handy tips at home
An easy way to keep dogs cool at home is to use a cool mat – these are available from most pet stores. Or why not make your own? A towel soaked in cold water works just as well!
Better yet, why not treat your pet to a paddling pool in the garden to stay cool? Just fill it according to your dog’s size. Alternatively, you could try making the base of your shower a place for your dog to go and cool down. Ceramic trays are the most effective, but you can always put a centimetre of water in it…or even your damp towel!
If you don’t have parts of the garden that give natural shade, then get creative. Find an old sheet and peg one end to the washing line and the other end to something else like a fence post, creating your very own awning.
By taking a few simple measures you can ensure your dog enjoys the summer just as much as you do!