When the sun is shining, don’t forget dogs struggle in the heat more than we do. We sweat to keep cool – but dogs don’t sweat like we do and instead lose heat through panting. We’ve put together our top tips for how to keep your dog cool in hot weather, and how to spot signs of overheating.
Why is my dog panting loads?
Excessive panting (especially rapid, shallow and louder than usual breathing with their ribcage moving very fast), is often be a sign of overheating. That’s why it’s so important to keep your dog cool during warmer weather.
In particular, Brachycephalic breeds have shorter noses and narrower breathing passages so they often have to work harder than other breeds to cool down.
Watch out for scorched paws
Tarmac and paved surfaces can heat up to unbearable temperatures resulting in very sore and burnt paws. Keep in mind that tarmac can reach a staggering 52℃ when it’s a balmy 25℃ outside, even when it’s cloudy and there’s a light breeze.
If you can, avoid the hottest part of the day by heading out for your daily walks either earlier in the morning or later in the day, walking them on the grass when possible.
If in doubt do the palm test – hold your palm to the ground and if you cannot hold it there for more than 7 seconds it’s too hot for your dog.
You can give your dog’s paws extra protection against hot surfaces with specially designed paw balms or even little booties – say hello to your dog’s inner fashionista.
Should my dog go outside when it’s hot?
Just as we’re advised not to run in the midday sun, if your dog loves a game of fetch or fancies himself as the fastest pup about town, try to avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. The heat can find them struggling to cool down and heatstroke can easily strike.
Is it ok to keep your dog in the car when it’s warm out?
The simple answer is no. Whenever the temperature is above 20℃ it can be potentially fatal to leave your dog in the car.
Dogs can get heat stroke in just 15 minutes and it can take just 10 minutes for your car to heat up to dangerous levels despite parking in the shade and leaving the windows down. Even if you are just popping to the shops – it’s really not worth the risk.
To learn more about dogs, cars and heatstroke we have a handy article here
Hydration is key
Whether you’re out and about or chilling at home, ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. Travel bowls or doggy drinking bottles are easy to carry around with you on days out and super handy for giving your dog a refreshing drink or lunch on the go.
Has your dog lost their appetite?
During warmer weather, some dogs can lose their appetite, especially if they are having shorter walks and spending more time indoors to avoid the heat. Try feeding little and often to help maintain their nutritional requirements at a pace that suits them. For refreshing and delicious treat ideas we love freezing slices of banana or freezing some kibble in water in an ice cube tray.
Should my dog wear suncream?
Just like us, dogs can suffer sunburn too! Despite their fur, shorter-haired breeds or those with lighter coats are most at risk so it’s worth using suncream and sticking to the shade when possible to keep them protected.
Suncream for children or sensitive skin works a treat or you can find special dog specific brands too. Do a test patch 24hrs before use then apply to their most exposed areas such as their belly and ears.
How to keep your dog cool
For those long summer days and humid nights, we recommend investing in a cooling mat to give your dog somewhere to literally chill out. A wet towel also works a treat.
If your dog fancies cooling down in style nothing beats a frozen bandana, yes, you read that right. Simply rinse in water, squeeze out most of the liquid and fold so it’s ready to wear. Then just pop in the freezer for a refreshing and super smart way to cool off.
For a complete cool-down, set up a shallow paddling pool for your dog to splash around in – just make sure there’s room in case you can’t resist joining them! If your dog prefers the stay inside, keep the curtains closed to keep the heat out and set up a fan for the ultimate chill out den.
Does your dog have a favourite way to keep cool? Let us know!