Summer made its first appearance last week but it's important to remember, even on an overcast day, the temperature can be a lot for a dog to handle.
Dogs can't cool themselves down by sweating like humans can, so they rely on the heat being released through their paws and through panting. However, even this cooling system isn't very efficient in a hot environment, and overheating can lead to dehydration, heatstroke and even death.
To help owners, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and #TeamOtisUK, both part of the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign, have collaborated on some handy top tips and symptoms to watch for in your dog if they're feeling hot under the collar.
Signs to watch for
- Excessive panting or salivating/dry mouth and gums
- Bloodshot or sunken eyes
- Lethargy or unsteadiness
- Skin lacking elasticity
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
If you spot any of these symptoms, contact a vet immediately.
Never leave a dog in the car unattended regardless of whether it's parked in a shaded areas or if there's a gap in the window. The temperature inside can be double the outside temperature within an hour. If you see a dog left in a car in warm weather, call emergency services.
Top tips for keeping your dog cool:
- Don’t leave a dog unattended in any confined space - including conservatories or caravans.
- Take them for a walk early morning or later in the day. The hottest time of the day is around 3pm so avoid taking the dog out during this time and don’t exercise them too vigorously.
- Keep them hydrated! Take a supply of cold fresh water and a portable bowl with you when out and about. Stop regularly so they can take in water.
- Avoid taking your dog on a walk along hot surfaces like tarmac. Dogs absorb and release heat through their paws – they won’t be able to do this sufficiently if they’re already on a hot surface, opt for grassy walks instead.
- Find suitable shaded areas when outdoors.
- Keep them cool – one inventive way to do this is to spray cool (not ice cold) water on your dog including the paws and stomach. A wet towel in the shade to lay on can also do the trick or even a paddling pool.
- Sun burn can occur in dogs too - apply dog-friendly UV protection sun cream to exposed or sensitive areas of the skin such as the nose or back.
- Ice lollies for dogs or anything that has a high water content is always a great way to keep dogs cool. Ice lollies can be filled with dog-friendly ingredients such as frozen broth or frozen yoghurt.
- Frequent brushing keeps the undercoat maintained which is part of the dog’s natural cooling system.