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Keeping cool when the weather hots up can be a huge struggle for everyone, and much as we all tend to look forwards to summer and the onset of the warmer days after winter, being too hot and unable to get any respite is absolutely miserable.
Anyone who has ever had heatstroke and/or sunburn, even mildly, will also know how awful that can make you feel too, and how long it can take to fully recover from it; and all of these things including overheating, heatstroke, and sunburn, are problems that can affect dogs as well as people in summer too.
However, whilst us humans can educate ourselves about staying safe and comfortable in summer and take steps to prevent ourselves from suffering from such problems, our dogs are reliant on us to take care of these things for them, and there are a number of factors you have to take into account to do so.
Another thing to bear in mind is that while it can be a struggle to stay cool and keep your dog cool in summer, this is still easier than trying to cool an overheated dog or reverse heatstroke, the latter of which can prove fatal, and so it is important to be proactive about keeping your dog cool from the get-go, and not just reacting when they are already too hot.
With this in mind, this article will tell you the seven cornerstones of keeping dogs cool in the summer, which are essential elements to ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable in hot weather. Read on to learn more.
Hydration is integral to keeping your dog cool, for several reasons. A dog that is dehydrated will overheat quickly, and the process of drinking too cools your dog down too. Dogs need more water in summer than they do in winter, and the water in their bowls will evaporate faster as well.
This means you need to be vigilant about checking and topping up your dog’s water in summer, and keeping their bowls clean and fresh.
Being unable to get out of the full light and heat of the sun will quickly cause discomfort and heatstroke, and it is essential to provide shade for dogs in summer; whether they are outside or inside. Sunlight through a window indoors, coupled with the heat, can all be just as acute or even worse than the outdoor environment.
Remember too that as the sun moves around during the day, areas that started off shady may become exposed, so make provision for day-long shade at all times.
A refreshing breeze can be a balm on a hot day, and air movement is vital to keeping your dog cool, even if the air that is moving seems to be hot itself!
This means setting up some fans at opportune places and identifying areas of the garden or nearby where there seems to be a little airflow, as these will be more comfortable than still, airless spots.
Dogs will naturally move to cooler spots and places they’re more comfortable in, and out of areas they’re finding too hot; if they have the freedom to do so. The places your dog picks might not seem obvious to you, but your dog will go where they are most comfortable, so give them as much freedom of movement in the home and garden as possible in hot weather.
If your dog has a very long or thick coat, you might wish to get it clipped off or trimmed down for the summer weather, particularly if you know they tend to struggle in the heat.
Even if you don’t have your dog’s coat clipped, keep on top of coat maintenance and brush and groom them regularly to remove shed and loose fur that will make your dog hotter than they need to be.
We all know that the middle of the day tends to be the hottest time, and that some spots and places are cooler than others, so plan with this knowledge in mind when it comes to what you do with your dog and where you take them – and when.
This means many obvious things like not walking your dog in the midday heat, but some less-obvious things too, like checking the temperature of walking surfaces like the road with your hand before you get your dog to walk across it.
Finally, being proactive about keeping your dog cool in various ways can help to prevent overheating and an emergency situation arising, and there are a great many different things you can do to achieve this.
Putting ice cubes in your dog’s water is of course one way, and making them ice lollies out of weak unsalted gravy is another, maybe with a few treats frozen into them to add interest!
Cooling mats to lie on, paddling pools, and even cooling wraps and jackets (which should only be used under supervision, as they tend to be based on cooling by evaporation and so when the water in them has gone, will stop working) can all help to keep your dog comfortable and safe in summer too.
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