Medical Detection Dogs issues advice about dogs in summer

Medical Detection Dogs, a charity that trains dogs to save lives using their amazing sense of smell, has issued some advice on how to make sure our canine companions are kept cool and healthy this summer. 

As warmer weather is approaching, it’s important to remember that dogs can suffer from things like heatstroke, dehydration and sunburn just like us.

They can’t cool down as easily as we can and they mainly use panting to help keep cool as they can’t sweat through all of their skin, only their paw pads.

With their fur coats this can make them prone to overheating but there are lots of things we can do to prevent them feeling unwell and keep them comfortable.

Chris Allen, Puppy Supply Manager at Medical Detection Dogs, says: “We can heat up and feel uncomfortable and unwell very quickly in the hot weather and it’s even worse for our dogs with their fur coats.

“We urge all dog owners to think carefully about where and when to walk their dogs and make sure they have access to cool shady areas and plenty of water.”

Walking

  • Walk early or late. Walking your dog early in the morning or in the evening avoids the hottest part of the day and will be much more comfortable for you both.
  • Walk at an easy pace. Walking more slowly gives dogs plenty of time to sniff and explore which they will enjoy. Don’t play any games that encourage the dog to run.
  • Be aware that pavements and roads can become so hot they burn your dog’s paws. Check the ground before you start and stick to grass where possible.
  • Try to plan walks where there is mainly shade of tree cover.
  • Keep walks short – a few short walks are better than one long one in hot weather.
  • Keep your dog hydrated by offering water frequently and carry some with you if you take your dog out.
  • Watch out for blue-green algae. Keep dogs away from ponds that are full of warm stagnant water where this algae may grow as it is toxic for both humans and animals. It can lead to problems like gastrointestinal conditions and skin rashes.

At home

  • Make sure your dog has cool or shady areas to relax in. Many dogs will naturally choose a tiled floor as they are cool to lie on.
  • Set up a fan to circulate the air in the room and keep them a bit cooler.
  • Put some cool, damp towels down for your dog to lie on.
  • Keep blinds and curtains drawn to keep the sun out.
  • Avoid leaving dogs in conservatories as the glass walls get even hotter than a normal room.
  • In the garden, trees and shrubs will create natural shade but you could also hang tarpaulin to give more options of cool places to lie.
  • Put out a paddling pool for your dog to sit, stand or lie in.
  • Groom your dog regularly. This is important in summer months, especially for longer haired breeds to get rid of matts and tangles. This will protect your dog’s skin and help them keep cool.

Tell-tale signs that your dog has overheated include high body temperature (above 39 degrees), racing heart, lethargy, heavy panting, excessive drooling and vomiting.

If you think your dog has overheated contact your vet as soon as possible. Take it to shaded area and wet it’s coat. Place wet towels over it’s tummy where the coat is thinner. Don’t cover the whole dog with wet towels as this will stop it from releasing it’s body heat. If possible, let the dog lie or swim in water. Give your dog small amounts of lukewarm water to drink and contact your vet as soon as possible.

DO NOT LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR AS THEY CAN OVERHEAT QUICKLY.
The temperature in a car can increase significantly in a short space of time to a dangerous level even with the windows open.

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