Keeping your Dog Safe this Summer

A picture of the main street in the beautiful Scottish town of Pitlochry

As humans, dealing with extreme heat can be quite the challenge to regulate our temperature, but imagine if you were a pet dog. Our dogs rely on us for so much more than feeding and walking them. As dog owners, we have a big responsibility for the care we give our dogs in all manner of settings, and when it comes to summer and extremely hot weather we really need to step up and be extra vigilant. keeping a close eye on the safety of our dogs in hot and extreme heat is a priority.

It's not just in these times of unprecedentedly high temperatures of 30-40 degrees where we need to give extra consideration to the safety of helping our dogs to stay cool and regulated, 18 degrees can be super hot for some of our furry companions, especially the elderly. 

Chocolate lab relaxing

Remember, dogs suffer from dehydration just like humans, except they can't really tell you when they are thirsty. Rather than you have to spot the signs of dehydration or exhaustion, being a little more proactive will keep your furry friend happy.

So here are some of our top tips you can do to help your doggy stay cool and comfortable on a hot summers day:

1. Ensure your dog has plenty of drinking water and be sure to refresh the water regularly! Imagine how you'd feel drinking lukewarm water on a hot day that's been sitting out for hours. Also, feel free to add a few ice cubes to the water, your dog will love this.

2. If you have to go out and your dog is left home on their own, be sure they have ventilation, so leave a small window open if safe to do so, plenty of fresh cold water and, if possible, get a friend or family member to go check on them and take for a walk if it's not too hot.

3. Try altering the times of day you take your dog for their long walk. Normally first thing in the morning or later at night is the best time as it is more likely to be cooler. If you take your dog out during the day, best to walk them in areas where there is plenty of shade, and remember to walk them on the grass, which will be much cooler.

4. Consider this when taking your dog for a walk - The ground on which your dog walks is really important. Pavements and sidewalks can heat up to unbearable temperatures. Put your hand on the ground and if it's warm-hot, then you shouldn't be walking your dog on it. Think about their poor paw pads and the excruciating direct heat on them. Walk in the shade and on grass and this will ensure your dog will not be in any pain.

Dog sheltering from the sunshine

5. Never leave your dog in a car or caravan, even with the window open is just not on. Many dog owners caused the deaths of their own dogs because they left them in a car to endure the searing sauna-like heat. This is quite simply a cruel act. If you see a dog left in a car call the Police on 999 and the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 (24hr) and report it! The police and the RSPCA will act on this information very quickly. 

6. Another great way to allow your dog to indulge in a bit of playtime is to fill the paddling pool and let them have a good old splash around. This will help keep them cool and they can always take a dip when it suits them. If you don't have a paddling pool, you can use a garden hose, make sure the water is not freezing cold though, or you could just use a bucket of water and gently sprinkle it on them.

7. If your dog has a long or thick coat, spare a thought for the heat they will endure. Making sure your dog is properly groomed is a great way to ensure they will stay cooler. Something simple as taking a specific dog grooming brush, and brushing your dog regularly will massively help.

8. Remember to keep your dog shaded as they can burn in the sunshine, especially dogs with a short coat. You can buy dog-friendly sun cream that will help protect your dog's nose, ear tips, and other areas prone to sunburn. Please check with your vet before applying sun creams and ensure you take advice before using any products on your dog's skin or coat.

9. Be very careful when your dog is near rivers, lakes, and lochs as not all dogs are swimmers and not all dogs strong swimmers. Dogs can very quickly be swept away in a river even though they may be a good swimmer, if they are floating, the flow could be strong enough to sweep them downstream. The same applies if you take your dog to the beach. Dogs love to paddle, but be careful of changing tides and strong currents, these can cause surprise and distress in no time at all. So be on your guard.

Dog taking a drink of water on a hot day

10. Ensuring your dog has plenty of water to drink is fine, but be sure not to let them drink too much as this can lead to intoxication. This is can be quite rare. If you feel your dog is drinking too much you can remove the water around them and give them a break from it. Signs of intoxication are - Bloating, vomiting, Tiredness, Loss of coordination, and pale gums. For more information on intoxication, contact your vet or click here.


NOTE - Information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be used for guidance only. Whilst we make every effort to keep our information up to date, public information is constantly changing and therefore, no responsibility will be accepted if this information becomes out of date or which warrants this information to be inaccurate.

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