Keeping your dog safe this summer
With summer nearly upon us, it’s more important than ever that those of us out and about exploring with our pad-footed friends keep the heat in mind. Whilst we’re all keen to make the most of the lovely weather, dogs can often struggle in the soaring temperatures. Without due care, dogs can quickly overheat, leading to heat stroke. Did you know that dogs cannot cool themselves as easily as we can, and that this is because, unlike us, they’re unable to sweat?
Signs of heat stroke including heavy panting, excessive drooling, wobbling or having trouble standing up, and bright red gums. It’s really important to look out for these signs and, if you think you’re seeing the symptoms of heatstroke, to contact your vet immediately. At the same time, you should also move to a cool, shaded area and let your dog drink small amounts of water. Pouring room-temperature water over their body can also help.
A huge no-no is to use ice or freezing cold water, as this can cause shock!
Of course, as owners, we want to do everything in our power to ensure it never comes to this, and there are some things we can bear in mind when planning our sunny excursions to help reduce the risk of heatstroke. Avoiding the hottest part of the day is a good place to start, instead choosing to go out for walks during early mornings before 8am, or after 5pm. It’s worth bearing those same times in mind when keeping your dog in the garden; in fact, on hot summer days, it’s actually best to keep them indoors as much as possible.
As shoe-sporting creatures, it’s easy to forget how much heat our roads and pavements can absorb. But walk just a few metres bare-foot in the height of summer, and you’ll soon realise just what our pups have to put up with! A good test, before setting off on your walk, is to hold your hand for five seconds on the floor. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your pooch, meaning you’d be better off waiting for the ground to cool down.
Other important measures to take are to ensure your four-legged friend stays hydrated, and to take it slow when the temperatures are high. Running will only make them warmer and increase the risk of heatstroke, so a slower pace is crucial. This is especially important for flat-faced dogs such as pugs, bulldogs or French bulldogs, as they find it even more difficult to breathe and have an even harder time keeping themselves cool. It’s always useful to know that there are shady spots on your walking route, and it pays to avoid open spaces such as fields if you can – the less constant exposure to the sun’s rays, the better.
The last thing to remember is to be mindful around water. Be it the sea, a lake, a river, reservoir or pool, while swimming can be great exercise for your pooch, it’s important to keep safety in mind, and remember to never push your dog to swim if they don’t want to. If you are taking them for a dip, be sure to pick a suitable place; if a beach isn’t deemed safe for people to swim, then it’s unsafe for dogs, too. You should also make sure your dog’s vaccines are up to date to avoid illness.
Here at Slickers Doghouse, we have carefully curated selection of products to help your furry companion cope with the heat of summer. Let’s start with KeepCool Dog Coats. Specifically designed to keep your dog cool however hot it gets, these environmentally friendly coats are brilliant for all outdoor activities (before, during, and after), from walking and obedience sessions, to car travel and even sailing on your boat! Cool and soft to the touch, KeepCool Coats are lightweight, breathable, durable and do not drip, with adjustable Velcro tabs that are simple to use, secure and comfortable. They are made from a unique, synthetic microporous material that is activated by water. As it puts moisture into the product, the capillary action of the material and the controlled evaporation actually cools your dog more than the outdoor air, without making them wet. It’s also super-absorbent – absorbing six-times faster and holding 100% more water than any other material – and the best part is, all you need to do is soak it in cool water for a few minutes, lightly wring it out and place on your dog! Tried and tested to keep your dog cool for up to four hours at temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade, and much longer on normal days, you can even extend the cooling effect with a hose or from a bottle. Testament to their quality, is the fact that H.M. Customs and Excise at Heathrow Airport use KeepCool Coats in difficult conditions to keep their sniffer dogs cool during work and rest. They’re also used by the MOD, other Government agencies, and many top dog shows, and it’s widely agreed that they are the best on the market at what they do. To find out more, including prices and how to select the right size, be sure to check them out on our online shop.
Another superb problem-solver for keeping your canines cool during the withering heights of summer, are our Chill Out Always Cool Dog Mats. With a special cooling gel inner lining keeping the mat’s surface cold, use of the mat couldn’t be simpler: simply let your pooch lay down on the mat and watch them cool down! Available in Medium and Large sizes, these are an easy-to-pack-away item to have handy, perfect for unrolling on the patio or decking and offering your furry family members a spot of sanctuary away from the searing heat.