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Warm weather tips for dogs

We all know we that keeping dogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter is key to having a happy dog. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your canine companions cool and comfortable during hotter temperatures. Dogs are susceptible to heat-related illnesses, and it is crucial to maintain a safe temperature range for them, ideally between 20-24°C, and lower is even better. Remember in direct sunlight the outside temperature may higher than what the reading on your thermometer will show, plus many dogs have heavy coats that can trap the heat inside.

Ensuring constant access to fresh water and providing a cool, shaded environment are essential steps in preventing heat stress. Additionally, it is vital to avoid over-exercising dogs during hot weather, as this can exacerbate the risk of heatstroke and other heat-related complications. In this article, we will discuss various strategies to keep your dog cool and safe during the warmer months, ensuring their well-being and happiness.

Never leave your dog in a parked car on a warm weather day.

Tip : If you have young kids we recommend you explain to them that your dog needs an extra rest during the warmer days.

Dog at the beach

Keeping cool indoors

Keeping dogs cool indoors during hot weather is essential for their overall health and comfort. To maintain a comfortable environment for your canine companion, consider using air conditioning or fans to circulate cool air throughout your home. If these options are not available, and most homes in Ireland don’t have air conditioning, you can create a cool space for your dog by placing a damp towel or cooling mat on the floor for them to lie on. Additionally, closing curtains or blinds during the hottest part of the day can help to block out direct sunlight and reduce indoor temperatures. As your dog may be drinking more often and more volume to stay cool, remember they will need extra pee breaks.

Providing your dog with a shallow pool of water or a wet towel to lie on can also help them stay cool and comfortable. It is important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and ensure they are not showing signs of overheating, such as excessive panting or lethargy. By taking these precautions, you can create a safe and comfortable indoor environment for your dog during hot weather.

Tip : place a Kong filled with a favourite wet treat or a damp towel in the freezer for your dog to enjoy an extra break from the temperatures.

How to know if your dog is overheating

Recognising the signs of overheating in your dog is crucial for their safety and well-being during hot weather. Overheating can lead to heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention. Some common indicators of overheating in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, and rapid breathing. These are your dog’s attempts to cool down by dissipating heat through their respiratory system. Lethargy, weakness, and unsteady gait are also signs that your dog may be struggling with the heat. In more severe cases, you may notice vomiting, diarrhoea, or even seizures.

Additionally, your dog’s gums may appear bright red, pale, or even blueish, indicating a lack of oxygen or poor circulation. If you observe any of these signs in your dog, it is essential to take immediate action to cool them down and consult your veterinarian for further guidance. Early detection and intervention can be lifesaving in preventing heatstroke and other heat-related complications.

Is swimming a good idea ?

Yes, going for a swim can be an effective way to cool down a dog during hot weather. Swimming allows your dog to lower their body temperature by immersing themselves in water, which helps dissipate heat more efficiently than air. Additionally, swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that can help your dog stay active without overexerting themselves in the heat. However, it is important to ensure that the water is clean and safe for your dog to swim in, and to always supervise them closely while they are in the water.

Dog in a paddling pool
Golden Retriever in a paddling pool

Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so it may be necessary to introduce your dog to the water gradually and use a canine life jacket for added safety.

After swimming, make sure to provide your dog with fresh drinking water to prevent dehydration and rinse them off with clean water to remove any chemicals or contaminants that may be present in the swimming area.

Keeping your dog hydrated

Keeping your dog well-hydrated during hot weather is essential for their health and well-being. Here are some good ways to ensure your dog stays hydrated:

  1. Provide constant access to fresh, clean water: Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, both indoors and outdoors. Regularly check and refill their water bowl, and clean it daily to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  2. Carry water during walks: When taking your dog for a walk, bring along a portable water bowl and a bottle of water to offer them frequent drinks, especially if you’re going to be out for an extended period.
  3. Offer water-rich treats: Provide your dog with treats that have high water content, such as watermelon (without seeds) or cucumber slices. These can help increase their water intake while also serving as a refreshing snack.
  4. Create a shaded outdoor areas: If your dog spends time outside, make sure they have access to a shaded area where they can escape the sun and heat. This will help them stay cooler and encourage them to drink more water.

As for adding ice to your dog’s water, it can be a good way to keep the water cool and encourage your dog to drink more. However, it’s important not to rely solely on ice-cold water, as some dogs may be sensitive to very cold temperatures and may not drink enough if the water is too cold. Offering a mix of room temperature and slightly chilled water can be a good compromise to ensure your dog stays hydrated and comfortable during hot weather

Updated on June 5, 2023

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