The summer heat can be uncomfortable, to keep your dog safe and cool try some of these suggestions
First, you really need to understand how dogs lose heat, without this your best intentions could lead to zero cooling.
We sweat to regulate our temperature and prevent heat stroke, Dogs do sweat but not to cool themselves down. Dogs sweat in areas not covered in fur such as their ears, nose, and pads of their paws. They do lose heat through their feet but not a significant amount. Moisture on the nose helps dissolves smells and scents whilst the sweat on the ears leaves the scent of themselves
So how do dogs cool down?
They use their surroundings. Sometimes the bathroom tiles, sometimes a freshly dug hole with cool soil, sometimes in the cool ground under a shady tree. Dogs transfer their internal heat to these cooler surfaces so drawing the heat from them into or onto the surfaces. Pretty cool.
But this is not their main method of cooling off… panting is!
Panting especially with your tongue hanging out so increasing the surface area that heat can be lost via.
Panting helps by using the heat within their body to evaporate the moisture on their tongue and within their mouth cavity. Clever!
This is similar to our sweating but from their mouths. As you can imagine our bodies have a much larger area to lose heat from hence the importance of keeping our dogs cool.
This method of losing heat via panting can only occur if the air around the dog is cooler than the mouth and ideally moving.
Now it becomes very clear that leaving a dog in an enclosed space, which can become hotter than the dog and has no ventilation is a very bad idea since the dog will have no way of cooling only of becoming hotter… heading towards heatstroke. The obvious example of this is a car, back of a ute on a humid day, inside with no ventilation.
Be aware of humidity
If the animal is panting, trying to lose heat via evaporation on a humid day, this is like trying to dry washing on a humid day it doesn’t work. There is too much water vapour in the air, so humid days are dangerous days for our dogs. Please check the humidity
Can I use a fan to cool my dog?
Simple answer, No. Cooling the air around your dog will help a little but really we need a cool floor and air conditioning.
So what can I do to help my dog stay cool?
Limit exercise on a hot day either get up earlier or limit exercise to two short trips out in the morning and the evening.If you are in doubt, place your hand on the pavement and if you cannot hold it there for 5 minutes don’t take your dog out.
Water water everywhere.
Head to the water, most dogs love to wade, some naturally just launch themselves.
Swimming is great exercise for all.
Bring the water to you. Buy a paddling pool for your dog, you can even make a party of it.
Provide ice cubes or blocks for your dog
Always provide lots of fresh cool water.
Have multiple water bowls or even better leave the tap dripping so there is a constant supply of cool water in their bowl.
Provide shade plants some trees but in the meantime through up a tarp nice and high so we still get the ventilation
What happens if your dog gets too hot?
Signs of heatstroke
Heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, deep red or purple tongue, seizures, unconsciousness
How do I treat my pet for heatstroke?
Head to the vets if you’re worried!
Get your dog into the shade, run water over their fur (not freezing cold water) push the water through their fur don’t let the water saturate their fur . In simple terms keep the water moving and so taking the heat away.
Apply a damp towel on your dog but not a sodden towel( the heat has to cause the water to evaporate to cool the dog. If there is too much water this cannot occur). Placing them in a freezing cold bath is not recommended. Get to the Vets
You can offer then a small amount of water to drink (again not ice-cold water ).
Now the discussion of protection from the sun would not be complete without protecting yourself too so Slip, Slap, Slop for you and Slip and Slap for your dog. Yes, that’s right hats, sunnies, and sunscreen for our fair friends and thin coated dogs.
Please for more information on Canine Guardianship and responsible dog ownership contact
Louise@letsgofido.com or check out our website Let’s Go Fido!