How dogs feel in the heat
It gets hot so quickly. I have tried before to walk my pups in the early hours to only get back and think I definitely timed that wrong. When I left home I was in a coat and now I arrive home in a t-shirt, shorts and sweating. Imagine how my pups must have been feeling! They cannot even remove their fur coat.
I always hear that a pup cannot be too hot because they are running around still – so they must be ok. Have you sat at home for hours to then go for a walk and feel refreshed from being somewhere new, or excited for meeting friends? Well your dog can have that too, and then forget all about feeling hot. Trust me – it’s easy to do. Oh – and dogs cannot cool down the same way we can so it’s really important to keep them cool.
What we can do to help them?
What can we do to help them? Well I am glad you asked. There are so many options. Which is great because you can choose the ones that suit you and your pup. The more you can do the better.
First off we have to make a few considerations, these include: the environment, the temperature, the time of walking, activities to do when it’s too hot to walk, some training to assist them and products to help keep them cool.
One of the most important environmental considerations is the car. So many people seem to forget how hot they become and that two seconds in the car can actually be very dangerous.
Why your dog DOESN’T need to go in the car
Leaving them in cars are a big no go – do not leave your dogs in them when its warm, even at 22 degrees the car can be 11degrees warmer in 10 minutes! Cannot believe it? We got that information from Dogs Trust – a source we reckon we can trust!
Even getting in a car to go for a walk can sometimes be too hot. You can place things like cooling mats in the car for journeys or better yet, go when it’s cooler and the car is not acting as a personal sauna.
A lot of people leave dogs in cars while at work and take them for walks on breaks. This can be super difficult in summer. Even if you have a dog that can join you at work, being out in that sun can be too hot. This may mean looking into investing in a local dog sitter/walker. Is it worth paying dog sitter to avoid the risk of serious health problems to your dog or worse events happening? We believe so. They are super precious to us so we have to do all we can, right?
Is it cool enough to walk my dog?
To check it’s wise to do the pavement test and protect those lovely paws! Hot pavements can burn paws, which is not comfortable at all for your dog. And make sure the temperature is nice and cool for the whole walk. Suitable temperature will depend on your dog’s breed and how acclimatised they are to the heat. If we have a period of time where the temperature is 10 degrees then suddenly shoots to 17degrees it’s likely dogs will struggle a bit in the heat. Generally a dog should be ok up to 19 degrees, from here you want to ensure you are helping them to stay cool. The best times in the middle of summer to walk your dog may be at 5am or 10pm. So check the weather app for a bit of guidance on temperature and make sure you get back before the heat becomes too much.
Help Your Dog Stay Cool on a Walk
When you are walking and you want your dog to stay cool look at walking in the early hours of the morning or very late evening. To help further look for a walk with plenty of shade or a place with access to water – a stream, river or dog pool? Bonus points if you can find a shady place with a water element! It might be wise to also shorten the walk so you’re not out in the sun for too long.
Honestly – a little bit less walking to keep your dog cool is so much better than risking their life.
You can also get cooling coats and even cooling bandanas that help keep your dogs cooler while out. They tend to work in the way that you keep the damp and then the evaporation of the water acts like sweat and keeps your pup cool. If you think it might help: we do those stylish cooling bandanas!
Imagine your pup on a walk in cool weather, access to shade and water plus wearing a cooling bandana/coat – now that’s winning at summer walking!
Oh – don’t forget drinking water! This is for your dog but don’t forget some for you too. Grab a travel bowl and a reusable water bottle to ensure you can have frequent breaks for a drink. Keeping hydrated is just as important for them as it is for us!
Little tip: Cool the water down with a few ice-cubes to just take the heat off slightly. Too cold and it can be a shock to the system. Always go for cool, not cold, water.
Keep Your Dog Cool Inside
Cooling mats are great for inside the house. These tend to work where pressure on them makes them cooler but this only lasts for a few hours. The pressure then needs to be removed so then it can reset and you can use it again. We have a couple of cooling mats so the dogs can swap from one to the other, that way they have time to reset.
Create a breeze through the house by opening a couple of windows, air flow really helps feel cooler. You could even grab a fan or cooling system.
Pop an ice cube in their water every now and again just to keep the temperature cooler rather than warm water. You could even freeze bits of carrot or your dogs treat in water to create flavoured ice cubes that they can have to stay cooler.
Everything you can do to help cool your pup down may even help you too! I am not too ashamed to say that lying on a dog cooling mat has helped me cope with the heat too!
My Dog Is Now Lively At Home…
Walking is not always an option, as sometimes the summer heat does not cool down enough. Indoor games can help keep your pup entertained. We love hide and seek. Can you put your dogs’ favourite toys, or breakfast around the house? Hide them under things or behind objects? We have found turning a container upside down over a treat can provide lots of fun, especially on a wooden floor!
Even getting a long lasting bone like the bulls horns / antlers can help provide some daytime entertainment. Maybe, grab an IQ puzzle game and teach your pup to find the treats in there. Watch out though, if your pup is left with the game when the treats are gone they may try to find more. So make sure you remove the puzzle once completed before they destroy it by looking for more yummies.
Do you have a paddling pool your dog can go in? We have some amazing floatable toys that may help encourage them to cool down in there!
Train An Off Switch
Some dogs are always on the go. This energy plus heat is not always a good mix. Yes there are ways to help them exercise in a cooler manor and items to help them keep cool. However you can also try to train in an off switch, this means showing a dog how to relax. Like if you’re at a pub a dog gets used to sitting or laying by you as you have lunch/a drink. Finding a top trainer will really help with this.
Train them to be calm? No way, my dog is super active that will never happen. Honestly, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying. Your pup may just surprise you.
Do you have any more tips? Please share with us. The more we know the happier our pups can be!
Oh and we would absolutely love to see your pups staying cool this summer so send those lovely photos are way too. Please?
Want some more advice? Check out Dogs Trust and RSPCA: