Warm summer days are here and we couldn’t be happier! We’ve gone from being prisoners in our own homes to rejoicing in freedom.
Except… What about our fur babies?
While in winter we do everything we can to keep our dogs warm and comfortable, in summer we need to switch the efforts to keeping them cool and hydrated.
It may be a beautiful sunny day outside but it could also be a dangerous heat stroke zone for our fur babies. This includes the safety of our pooches when we take them for walks!
While humans are able to wear less clothing, a hat and other sun protection, dogs are stuck with what they have – fur. They also sweat differently to us and can only regulate their heat through panting and the paws of their feet.
Let’s look at what heat stroke is in dogs and some really simple preventatives to keep your dogs safe, cool and healthy this summer.
What does heatstroke look like for our dogs?
Heat stroke or heat stress in dogs is a very serious concern with the potential for serious illness and death with symptoms often not showing for 24 hours or more. Simply put, it’s what happens the core temperature of the dog overheats and everything starts to shut down.
Signs of heat stroke are:
- Excessive panting and shortness of breath
- Flopping onto the ground in exhaustion
- A very lame dog who doesn’t come when you call them
How to avoid the risk of your dog getting heat stroke:
- No excessive or vigorous exercising, this overheats their already hot bodies
- Go for gentle walks early in the morning or once the sun has been down for a couple of hours. No walking during the day in summer – ever.
- When going for walks, apply the 5 second rule – touch the pavement with the back of your hand, if you can’t hold it there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot to play or walk outside
- If you are going for walks, try to keep to dirt paths or grassy areas as not to burn the paw pads and keep the pavement heat from seeping up through their paws
- Provide as much shelter and shade as possible for your dog
- Keep your dog hydrated by having fresh water available within easy reach and in multiple areas
- Take cool water and a portable bowl with you on walks and car rides
- If your dog has a long fur coat, get it clipped
- Feed your dog early morning or in the evening as eating brings up their body temperature rapidly
- Use a Frank and Jellys APPROVED Keep Cool Coat to help regulate your dog’s body temperature
What to do if your dog is showing signs of heat stroke or overheating:
- First priority is to cool the dog down without causing over-chilling (if their panting stops or they start walking around as normal, stop the cooling down process)
- Pour cool water over your dog (not cold)
- Apply cool, wet towels to their body (or use the Keep Cool Coats from Frank and Jellys)
- Apply bags of frozen vegetables to the top of their head and over their body
- Give them plenty of cool water with an added pinch of salt to replace any minerals they may have lost through excessive panting
- Massage their legs to help with circulation and regulating body temperature
- Set up a fan in front of a bowl of ice to cool the room down or turn the air conditioner on
- Pop them in the bathtub or a paddle pool filled with cool water (not cold)
- Pop a wet towel on the floor for them to lay on
- Spray their paws and stomach with cool water
- Have ice treats ready in the freezer filled with frozen berries etc.
Be smart this summer and pay attention to any heat stroke signs. If you have any doubts or concerns the best thing you can do is contact your vet as soon as possible! Early intervention can save your dogs life.
Paws of love,
Sarah (fur mum to Frank) xo.