Blonde cockapoo wearing sunglasses

Just like us, our beloved dogs struggle with the sweltering summer heat. Dehydration and overheating can quickly turn a fun day into a dangerous situation, with the risk of fatal heatstroke always looming. But don’t worry, there are simple steps you can take to keep your furry friend safe and comfortable. From adjusting walk times to trying out cooling coats, frozen treats, and even a dip in the pool, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the best ways to help your dog beat the heat and stay cool during those scorching summer days.

Walk Times

When we have really hot days you’ll find me walking Schlappohr at or around dawn, before the heat of the day sets in. And later in the evening once the sun has set. I keep him in the shadows as much as possible and reduce the length of the walk – enough time for him to toilet but not so much that he will start to overheat.

Dogs can suffer from burnt paws – if the pavement is too hot for you to touch, then it is definitely too hot for your dog’s paws. So try keeping to shaded areas and grass. Be sure to carry water with you too, even on short walks.

Cooling Coat

A cooling coat is a great way of preventing overheating and helping to keep cool. All you need to do is soak it in water, wring out the excess water, and put it on your dog. If it starts to dry out, pour more water on it. It’s important not to let it dry completely as this will have the opposite effect and cause your dog to heat up.

Blonde cockapoo wearing a blue cooling coat

Frozen Fruit

This is a very easy and quick way of giving your dog some relief on hot days, and they’ll love you for it! All you need to do is cut up some fruit, perhaps some watermelon as I did for Schlappohr in these pictures, freeze it, and then delight your dog with a yummy treat! You could also stuff a kong with yoghurt and fruit and freeze that – you’ll be giving your dog an enrichment activity whilst cooling them down.

Swimming

We’re lucky to live next to a dock with a small beach area. It’s the perfect place to let Schlappohr go for a swim, especially early in the morning when no-one is around. He loves to swim, he’d go every day if I let him!

Blonde cockapoo swimming in Royal Victoria dock

Do be careful about where you let your dog swim – look out for algae which can make your dog sick. And if there are strong tides, keep your dog on a long line in case they get into trouble. Be sure to have a supply of fresh water for them to drink from.

If you don’t have access to a natural body of water, you can use a paddling pool instead. An effective way of cooling down your dog is through their paws because this is where their sweat glands are. So whilst they may not be able to swim in a paddling pool, they’ll at least be able to dip their paws in. Or set up a garden sprinkler if you have one, they’ll have great fun running through the spray of water!

Wet Towel

At home, you can purchase a cooling mat for your dog to lie on. They are often filled with gel that absorbs your dog’s body heat when they lie on it.

But if your dog is anything like Schlappohr, he refuses to lie on the one I bought for him. So instead, I soak a towel in cool water and drape it over him. He’s not a fan of this either but it’s an easy way to give some relief whilst indoors.

Blonde cockapoo with a wet towel draped over him

Signs of Heatstroke

It’s important to be aware of the signs of heatstroke and know what to do should your dog get heatstroke.

Some early signs of heatstroke include:

  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Excessive panting
  • Red gums
  • Racing or irregular heartbeat
  • Faster breathing
  • Restlessness

Severe signs of heatstroke include:

  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Confusion or lack of co-ordination
  • Lethargy
  • Seizure
  • Collapse

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, move them to a cool, ventilated area, preferably indoors. If you have a fan, use that to create a light breeze. Spray or gently pour cool water over them, with a focus on their head and feet. Do not use ice cold water as this could put them into shock. Offer them cool water to drink.

And call your vet who will be able to offer medical advice.

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