The temperatures are soaring and as much as we are enjoying the heat, our pets might not agree! Recently in the US, a man had to break a car window to help save a dog trapped inside panting with the heat. The man said, “I knew there'd be consequences, but it didn't matter. Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog”.
Dogs don’t sweat the way we do to cool off. They sweat through their paw pads. They inhale and exhale air while panting to circulate air through their bodies to cool down. They cannot cool down as efficiently as us so it’s important to be aware of where your dog is on hot days and to help your dog deal with this hot weather. Keep your dog safe by following some tips:
Keep them hydrated
Make sure to keep your dog hydrated; this applies whether your pet is spending time outdoors or indoors. Keep bowls of fresh cool water available at all times. Of course it’s important to always keep them hydrated but more so during this hot weather. Like us, the cool water will help them deal with the heat. Keep an eye on the water bowl to make sure it is filled.
Provide a shade area
Whether outside in the heat or inside the house, your dog needs a shaded area for them to cool off. If your dog is spending time outside and there aren’t sufficient trees or a deck that offers shade, you can try making your own shade by setting up a blanket, tent, sheet, or other structure that can cast a shadow. If they are spending time inside and the house is stuffy, you could put a fan down in an area where your dog can rest in the breeze of the fan to cool off.
Exercise at cooler times of the day
You may be able to run in the middle of the day in the blazing sun at ease, but it’s more difficult for dogs to cool off like you can. Dogs don’t have as many sweat glands as us so high energy exercise at times of high heat can be dangerous for your dog. Try taking them for exercise and playtime in the morning or late evening, when the sun isn’t directly overhead. If you take your dog away from home at hot times of the day, be sure to bring a good supply of water and allow your dog to find a shaded area and a rest.
Dogs and swimming
The hot weather drives us to take a swim but keep in mind all dogs are not fans of the water and some are not great swimmers. So, they may not enjoy a dip in the water as much as you do. If you want to keep them cool, a small spray of the hose may give them some relief from the sun.
Don’t leave your dog in a parked car
Not even for a minute. A car’s windows act like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat. On warm days, the temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous heights for a human or a dog. For example, when it's 22°C outside, the temperature inside the car can heat up to 46°C within an hour. Your dog may suffer permanent organ damage or die.
That extra little bit of love and attention will make the heat much more bearable for your four legged friend.
If you do see an animal locked in a hot vehicle on a warm day you should take down the registration number and contact the Gardai or the National Animal Helpline.