Summer Heat & Dogs
As you would expect, many of our blog posts are about natural pet remedies, herbs for dogs, natural pet medicine, herbal remedies for dogs and alike.
This one’s not! Our main concern at Holistic Hounds is the welfare of your pets, so this blog post is about what you can do to keep you dog safe and comfortable during soaring summer heat.
When we’re experiencing temperatures of 30°C in the UK, you may think that dogs in warmer climates like Spain cope fine, so our dogs here will cope fine. Something that people don’t often realise is that it takes a dog around 90 days to acclimatise
to environmental temperature. So, by the time your dog has adjusted to the heat our summer is well and truly over!
Each dog is different, and how they cope with the heat is different. Different coat types, different breeds and age can all play a part in how well your dog will cope. You know your pet best, so regardless of the actual temperature if you think they seem “off”, take steps to make sure they are comfortable.
There are two main problems that your dog can experience in hot weather. The first is burnt pads from walking on hard surfaces. Did you know that the surface temperature of tarmac can be between 50°C and 80°C? Thats hot enough to cause serious burns to your dogs pads, and even temperatures below this can cause discomfort. The best way to test the temperature of the pavement is to slip your shoes and socks off and stand still for 60 seconds - if it’s uncomfortable to do this then it’s too hot to walk your dog on the pavement.
If you’re reading this after the event, and your dog has sore pads then the Holistic Hounds Skin Infusion may help to soothe your dog’s pads and accelerate healing. Obviously, any actual burns should be seen by a vet.
The second problem your dog can experience is heatstroke, heatstroke can happen in as little as 15 minutes.
Heatstroke usually occurs in dogs in one of two situations - the dog has been left in a car, or a dog has over-exerted themselves in the heat.
Never, ever leave a dog in a car during hot weather. It doesn’t matter if you’re parked in the shade, if you’ve left the windows cracked, if you’ve left water or if you’re only going to be a few minutes. If you want to see what it would be like, park up, turn the engine off and sit in the car yourself (without the dog) for 15 minutes and see how uncomfortable it is! When the temperature outside is 25°C a car parked in the shade, with the windows down a little, can reach up to 50°C.
When it comes to exercising your dog during a hot period, don’t rely on the dog stopping when they’ve had enough! A dog will chase a ball, or run alongside you until the point of collapse, why? Because they want to please you!
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that they don’t over do it. Stick to walking - hot summer days are not the time to exercise your dog by running or cycling with them. Think about the time of day you are exercising your dog. Early morning and later evening are the coolest parts of the day, and these are the best times to take your dog out. Make sure you take plenty of drinking water for both you and your dog, and take regular breaks to have a drink and refresh yourselves. Location is also important, walking through shaded woodland is much better for you both that going for a walk along a hot, exposed field. Somewhere where your dog can swim, or lie in fresh water is also a good choice as this will help them stay cool.
Remember, you know your dog, if they’re showing signs that something isn’t right - act! Heatstroke symptoms include restlessness, heavy panting, sickness, lack of energy, loss of appetite or loss of coordination.
If you think your dog’s suffering with heatstroke you can try and lower their body temperature by providing water, applying a cold, wet towel to the dog’s head and chest. If you have someone with you, take these steps in the car on the way to the vet. This is an absolute emergency, even a few minutes’ delay could be fatal.
On hot days, there are some steps you can take to protect your dog at home too. Make sure they have access to a cool, north facing room. Cooling mats can provide some much needed relief, as can a paddling pool in the garden. Also take extra care to make sure there is also fresh, cool drinking water available at all times - adding ice cubes periodically can help keep the water cool. Your dog may also appreciate some frozen dog treats - there are a variety available including some doggy ice creams or you could just try freezing some of their tinned meat in to ice cube trays - it works a treat!
Being outside with your dog in summer is great, but remember to make sure that you both stay safe!