Summer has arrived. Tropical temperatures are great, but sometimes they can also be too much. When it is hot indoors and outdoors, it is important to keep your four-legged friend cool. Why and how to do this best? Find out below.
Like us, dogs can also overheat. Unlike humans, they cannot sweat through their armpits to cool off. Your dog can only get rid of excess heat by panting and through his foot pads. Do you see volatile paw prints on the floor? Then your dog is clearly hot. You are obviously not the only one with sweaty feet. However, being too warm can lead to heat stress. A combination of high ambient temperatures and humidity means that your pet is no longer able to regulate its own body temperature. The average body temperature of a dog is between 38 and 39 degrees. Above 40 degrees, the dog will suffer from heat stress. Does your dog start panting and drooling at a very high rate? Then he is clearly too hot. If you can see his diaphragm moving up and down very quickly, it means he's pumping. And no, we don't mean that exercise from the gym, but we do mean gasping for breath. Often this is without effect. The panting only makes the body warmer and hardly cools it down. In extreme cases, the dog will even vomit. Is the animal sluggish, does it look exhausted, and does it feel very warm? Then your four-legged friend is overheated. If he is extremely overheated, you can also tell by the mucous membrane of the oral cavity (the gums) and the eyes; it will turn deep red to even purple.
Some dogs are more sensitive to heat stress than others. Short-faced breeds such as the bulldog, chow chow, cavalier Kingcharles spaniel and Pomeranian are often more affected by heat and may show symptoms of overheating more quickly, since cooling down via their breathing is extremely limited in these dogs.
Dos and don’ts
There are several things you can do to keep your four-legged friend cool. What you should definitely not do is clip or trim your dog's coat extremely short, since the coat acts as a fine insulation layer that protects the skin not only from the cold but also from the sun and heat! Make sure dead hairs from the undercoat are removed regularly (preferably by a professional groomer) to ensure good ventilation of the coat and skin and to prevent overheating.
Need to run an errand by car? Then NEVER leave your furry best friend in a warm car! Time passes faster than you think, and a car parked in full sunlight heats up quicker than you might think. Found a place in the shade? Here, too, you need to be careful. It could be that the sun has turned in the meantime, and that your car and your dog are suddenly standing in the full sun. Within a short time, the temperature in the car can rise to 50 (!) degrees or more. Then, even winding down the car windows will not help. An overheated dog can go into a coma if not cooled down in time, often leading to death... You can keep the temperature in your car lower by creating shade with a sunshade. However, under no circumstances is it responsible to leave the dog in a car, with or without a screen!
Help, my dog is overheated! What should I do?
If your dog is too hot, it is important to help him cool down. Make sure he can lie or stand in the shade. Lay him on a wet or damp, cool cloth or cooling mat, or put him in a cooling coat. A fan in and around the house and on the road or a fan to attach to the cage or kennel is always useful as well.
If the dog is in an extreme state, he or she must be cooled immediately with cool water. Do this gradually and calmly so that the dog can get used to the cold water and does not panic. Do not start directly with ice cold water but rather with lukewarm water and gradually cool down further. Does this not help, or do you notice that your dog is suffering from extreme overheating? Then it is advisable to call a vet. Overheating can have a major impact on the organs but is not always visible within the first 24 hours.
Prevention is better than cure
Shade and water are very important for proper cooling. Make sure your dog always has access to water, even on the road. At home, you can refresh him in a bathtub and with a handy and flexible water hose. You can attach an automatic water dispenser to his crate or kennel, and it is useful to always have a drinking bottle with you when you are on the road. Until the end of June, you can enjoy a 25% discount on these thirst-quenching Highwave drinking bottles!* Now is the ideal time to purchase one.
Also, avoid physical exercise as much as possible in very hot weather, especially with puppies and older dogs. After all, they are less able to cope with the heat. Certainly do not go running or cycling with your dog in the summer. To prepare for a walk, you can protect your pet's paws by putting on protective boots. You can also protect his paws with Paw Wax. However, walking in high temperatures is not a good idea. The pads of dogs' feet are often easily burned by the hot asphalt.
When it is around 25 degrees outside, the temperature of the asphalt can easily reach 50 degrees or more! Are you unsure whether it is too hot? Then first feel the ground yourself with your hand for at least 15 seconds. Does it feel hot? Then do not take your dog for a walk. The skin on its foot pads will be scorched within 2 minutes! If your four-legged friend has pink or white soles and is more sensitive, it is best not to take him for a walk in hot summer temperatures. Finally, it is important for hairless dogs and cats to always apply sun cream.
Hopefully, the above tips have helped you keep your dog cool on hot days. What do you do to make your four-legged friend more comfortable in hot weather? Head over to our Instagram or Facebook page and share with us in a private message a fun holiday photo of you and your dog with his favourite Show Tech product. Who knows, you could soon be winning a great voucher worth 100 euros!** Have a great summer!