How To Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer (Including Heat Stroke In Dogs)

I think I’m safe in saying that summer is here in the UK 🙂

With it comes a big increase in the number of dog deaths and heat related problems.

Which is why I thought it would be good to post information about dogs that is crucial to know this summer, including heat stroke in dogs, explaining what symptoms to look for and what to do.

Here it is…

Heatstroke in Dogs

Symptoms of a dog suffering from heatstroke include:

A raised body temperature, heavy and rapid panting, laboured breathing, weakness, wide eyes, red tongue, rapid pulse, disorientation, exhaustion, diarrhoea, vomiting and distress. If left untreated a dog can also collapse and go into a coma.

What you can do to help cool down a dog with heatstroke:

• Ensure the dog is in a cool or shaded area.

• Offer water but do not force the dog to drink.

• Dogs cool themselves from their paws upwards. Using a wet towel soak them in cool water (not freezing) or ideally stand them in a paddling pool or a shallow bath of cool water.

• Stay calm and be a reassuring presence to the dog – anxiety in you will create anxiety in them.

• If you have access to a phone, call a vet immediately for advice on what to do next.

How dogs cool themselves down

Dogs breathe in air through their nose which is then cooled in the nasal passage before it reaches the lungs. Short nosed/flat faced dogs (technically known as ‘Brachycephalic’ dogs), such as British Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs are at more risk of overheating during the hot weather due to the length of their nasal passage and muzzle.

When a dog’s body temperature rises they do not perspire through the skin like humans but pant in order to cool themselves down. Dogs do sweat through their paws but do not release enough perspiration there in order to be effective and panting is the main way they regulate their body temperature.

Dogs left in cars

Cars heat up like an oven, even on a cloudy day and many dogs suffer heatstroke or die in cars every year. Leaving water down in a vehicle or the window open is not going to stop your dog from overheating, please do not leave dogs in cars this summer.

Exercise – Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun – Noel Coward was right!

Avoid the hot times of the day to exercise your dog (usually between 10am – 4pm). Choose places that are naturally shaded (such as an old railway track with overgrown trees) and avoid pavements and open spaces if you do not have a garden and need to take your dog out to toilet during the day. When you go out always remember to take water for both your dog and you!

Dogs get sunburn too!

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sunburn too, particularly in areas that have little hair such as the tips of the ears, bridge of the nose and around the tummy area. In the same way pale skinned people burn more easily the same is true for white dogs (such as white American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers) due to a lack of skin pigmentation.

There are a number of products on the market that protect your dog from harmful sun rays. This includes sunscreen sprays, wipes and sticks as well as nose balm and sun-proof dresses and clothing for dogs. 

When selecting a dog sunscreen ensure that it has both UVA and UVB protection, in order to protect them from the two types of harmful sun rays.

The sunscreen is applied to the dog’s skin so make sure it is hypoallergenic and fragrance free and as natural as possible so it doesn’t upset their skin or is harmful to them should they lick that area.

I wish you a fun, happy and healthy summer with your dog.

I’d love to hear what you think – do you have any suggestions that will help other dog owners? Please share in the comment box 🙂  

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