We all know dogs and Land Rovers go together usually, a working dog can be found looking proud as punch in the passenger seat or hanging out the back of the ‘fender (or another vehicle).
I myself have a Collie and a Collie cross Samoyed, they are seriously suffering in this heat, especially my double-coated, gorgeous Sam. There has been much in the news and on social media regarding the heat and how to best care for your dog, but it doesn’t hurt to add a reminder to think about burnt paws, heatstroke, and even water intoxication. There are so many dangers to watch out for, especially in this long, hot summer the UK is experiencing this year, it is hard to understand why some people are continuing to leave their dog in the car.
Precautions to take to help your dog stay comfortable in the heat are:
Walk your dog early morning or at night time. Think about how you would feel being asked to run in the midday sun while wearing a fur coat. Dogs can only sweat through their paws so find it very hard to cool and regulate temperature by panting, a rise in body core temperature of just 2° can be deadly. Test the pavement before walking your dog, if you can’t touch the pavement for more than 5 seconds it is far too hot for your dog’s poor feet.
DO NOT leave your dog in the car! Everyone should know this, but dogs still continue to be left in cars and they continue to die unnecessarily.
A car is essentially an oven when the temperature gets too high, you wouldn't dream of cooking your faithful friend, yet the temperature of a car parked in 35° can reach temperatures of 47° or more within 30 minutes. Do not be fooled into the misconception that leaving a window open will be ok, many people think that leaving the window down a little will help cool the car interior, but this has been shown not to be the case and gives a false sense of security.
Think about using a cool coat or a cool mat. A quick search on google will offer a myriad of suggestions; the choice is yours. As I’m in the UK my cool mats came from B&M bargains for £10 and I got the cool coats from a local pet store £40. Sam especially enjoys lying in front of a large fan so the cool air blows all over him.
A walk by the river or on the beach is great for dogs that love to have a paddle or a swim, please check the water first, this time of year blooms of blue-green algae can form, this can be extremely toxic and lethal to dogs causing vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme cases organ failure. Also, watch for water toxicity caused by the dog ingesting too much water. This isn’t something many people would think about, but for every time a dog retrieves a toy thrown into water the dog will be taking a mouthful of water with it, numerous throws and the water intake soon adds up, salty water from the sea or freshwater from the river can both cause different types of toxicity, so give your dog regular breaks from water play and check him over.
Signs of Heatstroke:
- Excessive or loud panting.
- Extreme thirst.
- Frequent vomiting.
- A bright red tongue and pale gums.
- The skin around the muzzle or neck doesn't snap back when pinched.
- Thick saliva.
- Increased heart rate.
- In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death
Treatment for a dog with heatstroke:
Cool your dog by soaking his body with cool, NOT cold water. Use a hose, wet towels, or any other source of cool water that is available. Take his temperature if possible. Concentrate on cooling his head, neck, and in the areas underneath the front and back legs.
Seek advice from your vet.
Signs of water toxicity:
- Staggering/loss of coordination
- Dilated pupils/glazed eyes
- Pale gum colour, and excessive salivation.
- In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.
Treatment for a dog with water intoxication
Seek advice from your vet. This requires the use of medication to help your dog eliminate excess water, due to the symptoms being common in other medical conditions please inform your vet right away that your dog has been playing in the water.
Hopefully, this blog has helped raise awareness of helping dogs stay safe and remain comfortable during the summer months, if I have missed anything or if I have given the wrong information, please feel free to contact me and I will add any corrections, it is important to me as a dog owner that I can help other canine mums and dads keep their companion safe, and above all have fun in the sun,
One more thing; if I may, my post has been about how heat affects dogs however, due to the extremely long hot spell our wildlife is having a hard time finding fresh water, I mentioned the algae that is affecting ponds and streams. Please place a shallow dish of water in the garden, hedgehogs, birds, badgers, and foxes will thank you.