Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so panting is one of their key methods of cooling themselves down. Once it gets too hot (or too humid) for them to cool themselves effectively anymore, there is a risk of heatstroke.
Here’s some great tips for keeping your dog’s cool:
-Don’t exercise them in the heat of the day! Stick to walks in the morning or in the evening once the footpaths have cooled off.
-Exercise near a water source where they can swim to cool off (e.g. Rivers, lakes, ocean, sprinkler, backyard paddling pool…)
-Be mindful of the temperature of the ground. If you cannot keep your bare hand on it for 5 seconds, its too hot for their wee paws!
-Always have cool drinking water available for them
-Ensure they have plenty of shade/shelter from the sun
-Frozen kibble in ice cubes/blocks are fun and stimulating way to help dogs stay cool and hydrated
-Use of cooling mats or towels
-Don’t ask too much of them- know their limits. If they seem reluctant to exercise, don’t force them to
-Don’t keep them in your car on a hot day. The temperature inside your car climbs incredibly quickly and having windows down or being in the shade makes little difference. Dogs rely on panting to cool down and in a hot car that's not enough. They can withstand a high body temperature for only a short time before suffering irreversible damage.
Keep in mind that regulations introduced from October 1 last year give the police and SPCA officers the right to hand out infringement notices and fines of $300 to people who leave a dog in a hot car.
Be vigilant at keeping an eye out for signs of heatstroke!
These include: excessive panting, salivation, vomiting, increased body temperature, rapid heartbeat, collapse, or loss of coordination and seizures.
Its important to keep in mind that while its quite safe to give ice to a healthy dog on a hot day to help them cool down, it is not a good idea to use ice to help cool a dog experiencing heat stroke. Attempts to rapidly cool down an animal with heatstroke are not helpful, with gradual cooling being far more effective.
If you are seeing signs of heatstroke, instead of covering your dog with ice we’d recommend the following steps:
-Offer cool water
-Place wet towels around the neck, armpits and belly
-Seek veterinary care immediately