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Keeping Cool; A Guide
Keeping Cool; A Guide To Heat Stroke PreventionHeatstroke
Written By Libby Halpin
Each year emergency vets around the world are inundated with cases of heat stroke cases - some of which sadly end in death. Most of these cases are brought on by pet parents exercising their dogs during hours when the days temperature is at its peak. No animal should endure a heat-related death. It’s inexcusable and by learning more about “how hot is too hot” for our pets and the signs of heatstroke, Together, we can help drastically reduce the number of dogs and other animal companions who die in hot weather and even eliminate these tragedies altogether.
Please feel free to save and share our guide for quick information surrounding hot weather and dogs.
13 Top Tips To Keeping Your Dog Cool
Here are some of our top tips to help keep your dogs cool and hydrated and Hopefully these tips will help you and your dog enjoy the hot weather safely.
1.Avoid walking between the hours of 11am & 4pm as between these times, the sun is at its hottest. Keep these walks to a minimum, stick to grassy areas rather than pavements and roads and always take plenty of water for your dog - walking them in cooling aids such as cooling coats/bandanas can help.
2.Provide your dog with a cool area in the shade at all times - as well as if you are on a walk.
3.Cooling aids like gel mats, coats and bandanas are a great way of helping to absorb your dogs heat.
4.Entice water intake by adding bone broth to the water. (always provide clean, fresh water seperately)
5.Frozen treats like kefir, goats yoghurt, coconut oil, berries etc are a great way to keep your dog cool. Additionally, serving your dogs food partially frozen or straight from the fridge can provide cooling enrichment.
6.Keeping a flairosol bottle of water in the fridge will allow you to cool your dog down by spraying a light, fine mist over their coat without getting them soaked.
7.Familiarise yourself and know most common signs of heat stroke;
Red or purple gums
High body temperature (38.5c and above)
Struggling to stand.
8.Brachycephalic breeds like cavaliers, french bulldogs, English bull dogs etc are more at risk to heat exhaustion as are senior dogs - be more vigilant.
- Even more so if your dog suffers from BOAS.
- Puppies under six months, older dogs, and overweight dogs can also have a much harder time when temperatures rise.
- Dogs on certain medications or with medical conditions like heart or lung disease will be more susceptible to heat exposure.
- A dog who has suffered from heat stress or heatstroke in the past is also more likely to have problems again.
9.Keep track of your dogs water intake and know how much water your dog needs to stay hydrated. Remember that fresh fed dogs and those who eat wet food, generally consume less water due to the moisture in their diet.
10.Be aware of the temperature outside and familiarise yourself with the heatstroke prevention guide to ensure you know how hot is too hot for your dog. Remember that dogs do not sweat like humans do instead, they pant and sweat through their paws to cool themselves down making it much more difficult for themselves.
11.Avoid car journeys altogether - even if the weather is slightly warm.
If your car is sitting in the sun and the outside temperature is 24C (75F) then within ten minutes the interior temperature will be 38C (100F) and in just half an hour it'll be almost 50C (120F)!! Even with the windows open or the air conditioning on - this will not be a comfortable environment for your dog and can lead to fatality.
12.Remember the pavement test - lay the back of your hand on the pavement for 3 seconds to see if it is too hot for your dogs paws. It’s also worth baring in mind that surfaces like Astroturf/artificial grass can also heat up to similar. Heightened temperatures and should also be avoided.
13.If you see a dog in a hot car, call the police immediately.
- While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, write down the car’s make, model, and license plate number, or take a picture of the vehicle.
- If authorities are unresponsive or too slow to respond and the animal’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness who will back up your assessment before carefully removing the animal from the car and carrying him or her into the shade or an air-conditioned space.
How Much Water Does Your Dog Need?
Cooling Aids For Dogs
There are also some great cooling aids for dogs out there that can help in keeping your dog more comfortable in the warmer weather we particularly like the following;
Aqua Coolkeeper canine cooling jacket - This is a quilted dog jacket filled with gel crystals which once activated lasts for up to 5 days and would be our most recommended cooling jacket.
We love it so much many of our friends have also invested in the same one - I’ve had Darcy’s for 3 years now and it’s lasted well and is good as new! The gel filled pockets means it doesn’t need re soaking continuously like most cooling coats do! We see ours last for at least 3 days and it doesn’t soak the furniture or your dog!
Aquamat Chiller® Coat - this cooling coat is made of a material especially designed to hold water without wetting your dog. So while the dog stays dry and odour free, the Chiller® transfers heat away from the dog keeping him cool and comfortable in the hot sunshine.
Easidri cooling coat - A standard cooling coat - these do have to be re-soaked and so will need to be worn only when you are around so as to avoid your dog from over heating
Cooling mats - When looking for a cooling mat - the thicker the better - we have this one from Amazon and have had this for two years now! There are a lot of cheaper, thin cooling mats that can be easily ripped by claws/teeth - presenting a toxic danger to dogs
Sprinkling mats for dogs - sprinkling mats are great for dogs who don’t like deep water - this allows water to be sprinkled lightly into the air and a shallow collection of water for them to stand in. My dogs prefer this to paddling pools.
Doggy paddling pools - dog proof paddling pools that come equipped with a tap to easily empty after using. They can be rolled up and stored compactly
Invest in a good paw & nose balm to keep the paws & nose nice and moisturised in the heat.
A Note On Cooling Coats
Scientific research on these cooling coats has shown that cooling coats are great for keeping your dog comfortable - providing you’re there to keep wetting the material as it dries up. If you don’t have any more water to soak it - take it off… it is just making your dog hotter! On very hot and humid days - make sure you’re re soaking the coat with cool water every 30mins.
Do not use in cases where heatstroke is already underway.
Ideally you’ll want to purchase a cooling coat with gel in, for example the ones made by Aqua Coolkeeper - you can pick these up from DOGAHOLIC (Gidea Park) or Amazon prime.
We’ve had ours for years now, they are filled with gel crystals which you can activate once and each activation will last up to 5 days - Aqua Coolkeeper are a German company and make lots of products using their cool keeper technology including cooling products for humans and horses!
What To Do In The Event Of Heatstroke
As you will have learned from this article, Heat stroke is a serious life-threatening condition, which requires immediate treatment to increase the chances of survival. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat stroke and is showing any of the above signs or symptoms, follow these steps and immediately see a vet:
Remove your dog from the hot environment
Gradually lower your dog's body temperature by wetting them down with a hose or bucket (avoiding the face), a fan blowing over damp skin will help in evaporative cooling. Do not wrap a wet towel around them as it will trap the heat that is trying to escape.
Don't use ice baths (this can cool them too rapidly and cause constriction of the blood vessels lowering their cooling ability)
Wetting down the areas around your dog can also help in lowing the ambient temperature
See a vet immediately. Even if your pet looks to be recovering or you only suspect they have heat stroke, it is important to see a vet.