From eating ice cubes to daily walks, wearing sunscreen to shaving fur, make sure you know what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to cooling down your dog.
As forecasters predict that the UK could be hit by an Iberian plume – bringing 26C this week, many of the nation’s pooch parents are looking for novel ways to keep their dogs cool.
After all, if we’re enjoying a cold refreshing drink or ice lolly, why can’t our dogs?
With lots of myths and misconceptions for pet owners, experts at global pet brand PetSafe® debunk eight of the most common when it comes to keeping our dogs happy, hydrated and healthy when it’s hot.
PetSafe® Brand’s Rob Steele said: “There are lots of dog myths and misconceptions but, as a rule of thumb, when the weather’s hot and sunny, the best prevention of heatstroke and dehydration is keeping your dog inside and cool – regardless of their breed, age or coat type.
“Some types of dogs are more prone to it than others – including very large, old or young dogs, dogs with thick coats, and flat-faced breeds, such as Pugs and French Bulldogs. However, owners must remember that all dogs are in danger when it’s hot.
“Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make them feel more comfortable and keep them healthier in the sun – simply by following some of these easy hints and tips – as well as spending some quality, enjoyable and safe time together.”
1. Myth number 1: Don’t feed your dog ice cubes
Frozen treats are completely safe for your furry pals and will help to cool healthy dogs down, as long as ice cubes are a safe size so as to not pose a choking risk – small ice cubes and ice shavings are ideal. Alternatively, freeze his water bowl or put water or fresh treats inside a freezer toy to help keep him cool and entertained for longer. And add ice cubes to your pet’s water or make frozen treats to help cool them down more. Photo: Getty
2. Myth number 2: Dogs don’t need sunscreen
When the weather is this sunny, we should all be wearing sun protection – including our dogs. Their skin can burn just like ours and too much unprotected exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, which is– the most common cancer found in dogs. Those with light skin and / or short or thin coats are particularly susceptible on their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas. Make sure you buy special dog sunscreens and sprays – some ingredients in ours are toxic to them. Photo: Getty
3. Myth number 3: Dogs cool down by sweating through their paws
It’s widely believed that dogs can only sweat through their pads, but they do sweat elsewhere on their body. They mainly rely on panting to cool themselves. As the water in their mouth and tongue evaporates – just like human sweat helps to remove heat from the surface of the skin – hot air in their lungs is replaced with cooler air. Watch out though – excessive panting can lead to dehydration. Photo: Getty
4. Myth number 4: You must walk your dog every day
When it’s hot outside, it’s okay not to walk your dog every day, but reduce their calorie intake accordingly as they’ll be using less energy. Swap physical exercise of walks for mental stimulation, with some fun enrichment games and toys. If you do walk your dog, do it during the cooler parts of the day – in the very early morning and late evening – and stick to the shady side of the street to avoid hot pavements. Do the five-second tarmac test before – hold your hand down for five seconds, if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. And take water and a bowl with you. Photo: Getty