When the temperature rises, you should take important steps to protect the animals in your care. Overheating can cause animals to suffer from heatstroke, which can lead to organ failure and even death.
Here are some tips to help your dog keep cool through the hot summer days in Australia:
Make sure your dog has a ventilated area inside the house.
Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Keep dogs inside, and when they’re outside, make sure they always have ample shade and remember to account for the shifting sun.
Provide access to water.
Little doggy dipping pools or timed sprinklers offer fun ways for our canine friends to cool off and hydrate. For enthusiastic doggos, it’s wise to have several sources of water in case one is spilt.
Walk, don’t run.
In very hot, humid weather, never exercise dogs by cycling while they try to keep up or by running them while you jog. They will collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them. Hot footpaths can burn dogs’ paws, too, so it’s better to choose grassy routes.
Never dress dogs in clothes.
It increases their chances of suffering from heatstroke. But what if someone gave you some doggy dress-ups for Christmas? Frankly, your dog could care less and his or her well-being should be your primary concern.
Avoid hot cars.
Never leave an animal in a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods and even with the windows slightly open. Dogs trapped inside parked cars can succumb to heatstroke within minutes – even if a car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
Keep dogs groomed.
Some dogs with long hair can benefit from a trim every now and then, but most dogs with thick coats naturally shed hair, so they have lighter coats in the summer. Regularly brush your dog’s fur to aid this process.
Be mindful of the breed.
Short-nosed and flat-faced dogs, including pugs and English and French bulldogs, are more susceptible to heatstroke. Human guardians of these breeds should be attentive and take extra care.
Know the signs.
Heatstroke can come on quickly and result in brain damage or death. Watch for symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, a rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or lack of coordination. If dogs show any of these symptoms, get them into the shade immediately and call your veterinarian. Lower your pooch’s body temperature gradually by providing water to drink, immersing the dog in lukewarm (not cold) water, or applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck, and chest.