Keeping your dog cool and hydrated during the summer
Staying hydrated is extremely important for humans, particularly in the summer months when our perspiration increases under the scorching sun. Bearing in mind that humans don’t walk around in thick fur-coats during the summer, hydration is even more important for dogs and other pets than for people. While fresh water and shade should be readily available for dogs throughout the summer, here are some specific ways to help ensure your dogs stay cool and hydrated, protecting them from the unpleasantness of heat stroke.
Fresh water should be available to your dog every day, whether out in the garden, in the park or indoors. Remember to keep the water bowl in the shade, because water can heat up quickly, making it unappealing for the dog to drink. Also, ensure that the water bowl is not placed in a precarious position where it is likely to spill.
Exercise in the late evening or early morning
Avoid taking your dog for a walk in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest, as this can easily cause the dog to overheat. Instead, exercising the dog in the early morning or late evening is preferable to avoid the hottest period of the day. Remember, under hot conditions your dog won’t have the same level of energy as in the winter, so don’t overdo the exercising!
Give your dog a bath
Why not purchase a wading pool for your dog? While you can buy specific wading pools for dogs at pet stores, a wading pool designed for small children should be perfectly acceptable – unless you have a great dane! Provided your dog is comfortable, an alternative solution to keeping your dog cool is to give them a gentle hosing down. Not all dogs enjoy this however so use your own discretion.
Another way you can help to keep your dog’s temperature down in the summer is to provide them with cold food, straight out of the refrigerator or freezer. In fact, you can even freeze their toys so that the ice will gradually melt into water in their mouths. Some dogs really enjoy the challenge of getting through a layer of ice to play with their favourite toy.
Make shade available at all times
If you must leave the dog home alone, it’s important that an area of shade is always available. For this reason, it’s preferable to leave the dog inside rather than outside, shutting the blinds to your windows for when the sun is at its hottest. Leaving your dog in a dog house is also fine provided there is adequate shade and water.
Never leave your dog alone in a car
The inside of a car can heat up very quickly in the summer, so never leave the dog in the car alone. Also when travelling, ensure that you bring adequate amounts of water for the journey. The majority of canine heat stroke cases during the summer are due to dogs being left in a car for too long, so please avoid this at all costs as it could be fatal!
(Photo by jade)