1. Provide a safe space
Always ensure your dog has access to shade and fresh drinking water. It’s a good idea to have two bowls of water in case one gets knocked over or they run out. If you're leaving for the day, throw some ice cubes in the bowl to help keep the water cooler for longer.
2. Paddle pool
Dogs rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and keep cool. If your dog is tipping over its water bowl, they’re probably trying to cool their paws, so they may benefit from a shallow pool shell where they can dip their toes.
3. Summer haircut
Ask your vet whether your dog should be having a summer haircut as not all breeds benefit from a trip to the groomer. Some breeds don’t need to be having any haircuts and doing so will disrupt their natural cooling system. Others will thrive from a trim or a clip, but make sure you seek advice to ensure it’s the right ‘style’ for your dog's coat type.
4. Book a health check-up
In the hotter months, dogs are outside more and come into contact with more animals and that often results in more emergency calls to the vet from dogs that don’t have the right protection. It’s important to ensure vaccinations are up to date and your dog is protected against fleas, ticks and common viruses.
5. Walk when it's cooler
Take your dog for a walk first thing in the morning or later before the sun goes down. In peak summer the road and footpaths are far too hot for your dogs paws and this can be extremely painful and rip their pads.
6. Limit direct sun exposure
Overexposure to the sun can cause sunburn in pets, just like their human friends. This is especially risky to breeds with short hair, white fur and pink skin. Not only is sunburn painful, but it places your dog at risk of skin cancer.
7. Be car safe
Never leave your dog alone in the car.
8. Kibble ice-blocks
Put some dry food biscuits in a container with water and freeze overnight. Not only is this a great distraction and enjoyable food challenge for your dog, but it cools them down and keeps them hydrated throughout a hot day.
9. Be breed-aware
Talk to your vet about your dog’s individual needs. Depending on where you live and the climate, you may need to make some small lifestyle adjustments to ensure your dog is happy and healthy in the heat.
10. Know the signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke can be fatal so it’s important to know the signs and call the vet if you think your dog may be suffering from the condition. Some signs may include:
- Excessive drooling or salivation
- Difficulty breathing
- Weakness, lethargy, appearing or acting listless
- A lack of appetite
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- Tacky, dry gums
- Discoloured gums appearing lighter coloured, even white instead of pinkish-red
- A weak pulse or the opposite, highly elevated heart rate could occur
- Sunken eyes