Now the weather is getting warmer (hopefully) you and your dog will be getting out and about more and having a great time whether just on your normal daily walks or maybe going further afield on a doggy holiday or maybe even camping. Just like the cold weather hot weather can offer a set of different dog problems.
Dogs don't cool down in the same way humans do. Humans have sweat glands located almost all over the body, when we get too hot we sweat. When this moisture is evaporated it provides a cooling effect which helps lower our temperature. Dogs do have sweat glands in the foot pad area, but they mainly rely on panting as a way to cool down. In a similar way to sweating when a dog pants the moisture on the tongue evaporates and cools down the blood.
Don't walk your dog in the hottest part of the day, usually 10am to 3pm, instead try to walk them later at night and first thing in the morning. If your dog enjoys being outside at home make sure they have a shaded area to lay in so they don't overheat, remember the shade will move as the sun moves. Always provide your dog with plenty of fresh drinking water they will drink as much as they need to. When walking take a water bottle with so you have some to hand if your dog needs it. Roads may also get very hot during the summer heat so make sure your dogs paw pads don't get burnt and apply a dog friendly sunscreen if your dog needs it.
Swimming can be great exercise for your dog but you should always supervise your dog and make sure they can't get out of their depth or swim in fast flowing water. Not all dogs enjoy swimming so never force your dog if they don't want to. Some are just satisfied with dipping their paws in the water. Most dogs will drink from anywhere but you shouldn't let your dog drink from unknown water sources as they can contain certain parasites and bacteria. Never let your dog drink salt water if you're at the beach as this can cause dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you are going to travel with your dog make sure you can provide a safe and comfortable environment for them. Avoid the busiest and hottest parts of the day, plan incase you get stuck in traffic, and map out stops on your route before you leave. Make sure where you're going is dog friendly and you have everything you need before you leave, food, water, etc. so you don't have to leave your dog unattended at any point. Everybody knows about dogs dying in hot cars yet tragically dogs still do die in hot cars every year. Cars can be fatal for dogs even on cloudy days, it can take minutes for a car to become hot enough to kill even with all the windows left open. If you can't take your dog in with you don't take your dog, just search for 'dog friendly days out' and you will find hundreds of places where you and your dog can go.
If your dog becomes dehydrated or gets heat stroke you should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of dehydration in dogs include:
- lack of skin elasticity (if skin doesn't spring back after a few seconds after being pulled)
- dry, sticky mouth and gums
- sunken eyes
- reduced capillary refill (the time it takes for the gums to return to a normal colour when you press them)
Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:
- raised temperature
- heavy panting
- laboured breathing
- rapid pulse
Have fun in the warmer weather but keep you and your dog safe.