While the consistently warm weather may be good news for sunseekers, for dogs, it can sadly be fatal.
The RSPCA has issued a warning to pet owners to take care in the hot weather, after a dog died of suspected heatstroke following a walk in 21ºC heat.
With the heatwave expected to last at least another week across parts of the UK, it’s important dog owners take extra measures to ensure their pooches remain happy and well in these sweltering temperatures.
Here are a few simple tips to help your dog stay cool and safe in the hot weather:
1. Walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day
Avoid peak temperatures and take them out in the early morning and late evening when it’s cooler outside. There is likely to be more shade then too, which will protect your dog from direct sun exposure.
2. Add ice cubes to their dog bowl to keep the water cool
Ensuring your dog has access to fresh water is always essential, but when it’s this hot, it’s even more important, as is changing it more regularly than usual. Adding a few ice cubes to the water helps to keep it cool for longer, and ice cubes also make appetising treats or pet-friendly ice lollies, which will boost hydration too. Keep one bowl outside in the shade and one inside to ensure there’s water available at all times.
3. Set up a paddling pool for your dog
If your dog likes water, fill up a paddling pool or (empty) sand pit and set it out in the shade for your dog to splash about in to cool off. This works well as an activity for dogs when it’s too hot for a midday walk.
4. Use pet safe sun cream
Protect your dog’s skin from sunburn by applying sun cream on parts that are exposed, such as the nose and tips of their ears. Be particularly cautious with hairless breeds as they are more susceptible to burning.
5. Put out damp towels for your dog
Wet some towels and set them out in the shade for your dog to lie on. Dampened towels are a simple way to keep your dog cool and encourage your dog to rest rather than pace around in the heat. Alternatively, a frozen water bottle wrapped in a towel for your dog to lie beside works too.
6. Take care of your dog’s paws
Pavements can become so hot they can burn your pooch’s paw pads. A general guide is, if it’s too hot for you to touch for longer than five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog. Opt for shaded routes and exercise your dog on grass where possible.
7. Avoid the car when it’s hot – and never leave your dog alone in it
Even when parked in the shade with the car windows open, temperatures in cars can rise extremely quickly, which could cause your dog to dehydrate, develop heat stroke and could be fatal. If your dog must travel in the car, stop for regular water breaks to keep them hydrated.