We’re in the middle of a heatwave - the sun’s shining, the mercury’s rising, sun factor is a priority and water bottles are topped up. It’s hot. Like, really hot. And, while most of us love this kind of heat, our furry friends struggle. Heatwaves can be dangerous as dogs are unable to cool down the same way humans do; our four-legged pals pant instead of sweat.
The RSPCA sadly received 8,290 calls reporting pets and heat exhaustion in the last year and while there are many stories reported of dogs left in cars, that’s not the only danger to be aware of.
Pet well-being company Paws.com advise that it’s not just car travel that can be a problem for dogs, but also something as simple as going for a walk. With the heat as high as it is, pavements can leave pooches with scorched paws. Steph Wenban, vet and dog wellbeing expert at Paws.com, encourages dog owners to follow these top tips and advice...
1. Avoid walking your dog during the day when the sun is out - instead, go for walks in the morning or evening when the weather is cooler and there is no beating sun
2. Always provide plenty of shade and access to fresh water - however, dogs cool themselves by panting and evaporation - in high humidity this is less effective, and shade alone is not enough so be sure to seek air conditioning
3. Check the pavement surface – if you can’t hold your hand there for more than seven seconds then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
4. Consider buying cooler mats and cooler jackets which can help stop your dog overheating.
5. Try freezing treats or toys to give to your dog and help keep them cool, such as a frozen stuffed Kong toy.
6. Setting up a paddling pool or sprinkler in the shade can offer your dog a nice opportunity to cool down if needed.
7. Be very cautious exercising certain breeds in hot weather as they can very easily overheat - Brachycephalic breeds such as pugs and bulldogs are more susceptible to health problems in the summer than others as their short nose makes it difficult for them to pant sufficiently to cool down.
And finally, watch out for signs of heatstroke including dribbling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and collapsing - this is an emergency and you should go straight to a vet.