With summer upon us, we need to think carefully about providing safe exercise for our dogs in the heat. Good news then, that Shanley Barber DVN MRCVS of Central Veterinary Services is on hand to give her top tips on how to keep your dogs safe in the warmer weather.
‘The two main concerns are overheating and ulceration of the foot pads on hot pavements. Imagine wearing a fur coat and going for a walk in the summer sun; it’s not just unpleasant, it’s dangerous! Heat stroke is a major concern for dogs in the summer. As they cannot sweat to release heat, they resort to panting heavily to reduce their body temperature,’ explains Shanley.
Discover the best ways to keep your furry friend cool in the heat…
- The best way to prevent a dangerous situation is to avoid exercise in hot weather. Any walking should be done early or late in the day, before or after the temperature has reached 20 degrees Celsius. Stick to shaded areas, take plenty of water and avoid vigorous exercise such as chasing a ball.
- Consider a cool mat or coat, as they aid by taking the heat into the wet material, and can stay cool for several hours.
- Never, under any circumstances, leave your dog unattended in a car in the summer. Temperatures can rise rapidly within the vehicle, acting like a sauna – remember the fur coat analogy!
- At home, consider putting wet food into a Kong toy and freezing it, to make a ice cold meal for your dog.
- Offer your dog a paddling pool to play in, with perhaps add some balls to encourage them to splash in the water.
- Regarding hot pavements, always check the temperature of the surface with the back of your hand before walking your dogs on it. The heat is retained by the pavement for several hours after the temperature falls to acceptable levels.
- Special concern must be given to dogs that are older, ill, overweight or brachycephalic (short nosed), as they become overheated more easily. Any cardiac or respiratory diseases may be made worse in the heat. If you have any concerns about how much exercise your dog should have, consult your vet, as they will know your dog’s medical history and can provide more specific guidance.
- Enjoy the sun, but limit the time your dog spends in the heat, to keep them safe from heat stroke!
Thanks to Shanley and the team at Ipswich Veterinary Centre for collaborating with us on this guest post.