With Summer already well upon us, it’s utterly important to keep an eye on your dog in unusually hot weather. It’s been incredibly warm in the UK and there is an impending heat wave in the U.S.. There are a few vital signs that you should check for when the temperatures drastically rise… especially if you fall in either of the boxes of living in a place where there’s a heat wave OR your dog has an extra long coat.
One thing that many people forget is that when you go to work on a hot day, especially if you’re in a big office building, you’ll be shielded from the outdoor heat by air conditioning, but what about your dog that has been left at home inside or even outside? Have you checked whether they will be able to cope with the heat at home and have you taken precautionary measures?
Perhaps you have left your outside dog in a place in the morning that has shade – have you considered whether the shade still be there in the afternoon or perhaps will she be left in direct sun? Is the inside of your house prone to getting incredibly hot? Have you left sufficient water – dogs drink a lot more on hot days than normal so be sure to leave some extra for them!
These are all things that in cooler places to the north that people forget about. In countries like Australia it’s illegal to leave your dog in the car (regardless of weather) because the inside of a car that’s in direct sun can reach up to 60-80 degrees inside within 15 minutes which can be (and unfortunately has been) fatal for dogs. Even if you leave the windows slightly open it can still become scorching inside, very quickly. These are things to keep in mind even on sunny spring and autumn days.
If you’re out doing sports such as running, hiking, agility or other outdoor active sports with your dog please take it easy on warmer days. If your dog has a darker coat it will absorb the light from the sun and make your dog hotter than a blond or lighter coloured dog that will reflect the light.
But what if your dog is overheated and how do you tell? Unfortunately overheating and even heat stroke can be common issues. Especially now with changes in climate bringer hotter weather to places where mild summer weather was the norm. Even after swimming, a dog’s temperature may not reduce back down to a safe level if your dog is excited and has been running around and being active.
So, what are the 6 signs that your dog might be overheating?
- Excess Saliva
- Bad coordination
- Glassed over eyes
- Excessive panting which may also cause hyperventilation.
What should you do if your dog is exhibiting some of these signs? If your dog is overheated make sure you cool it down fast – keep your submerged dog in cool water making sure you keep hold of his head above the water in case she faints or use an ice pack on the belly or arm pits. At the very least, pour water over them, especially over the head. If their behaviour and symptoms don’t improve within the hour, then always call a vet.
It’s also a good idea to pack a thermometer if you plan to be outdoors and active and know their regular temperature before and after exercise so that if it’s well above this then you can take measures to bring it back down.
So how can you prevent your dog overheating in the first place? On hot days, a tried and tested trick is to soak a Siccaro WetDog robe or WetDog Hunter in water and then have your dog wear it whilst they are out and about. Make sure the Siccaro WetDog is always wet though – and not too wet that its dripping – be sure to wring out excess water. Unlike other jackets and cooling devices, the structure of the fabric will hold the water and not cling to their fur allowing cool pockets of air to travel between the coat and their fur which is very cooling.
- Soak a Siccaro WetDog drying coat or WetDog Hunter absorbent coat in cool water.
- Wring out the excess water.
- Put it on your dog but make sure it’s not too tight.
- Don’t leave it on longer than 45-50 minutes without checking if it’s still damp. In very hot weather the heat from the dog and outside hot air can dry it out and actually heat the dog up so it’s important that it stays damp whilst on your dog in hot weather.
- Repeat the process as necessary.
NOTE! Always check that your dog doesn’t get too cold if theres a sudden breeze or they are in the shade. Never let your dog swim with the WetDog or WetDog Hunter because they can weigh the dog down creating a drowning risk.
This cooling trick was first tried and tested at the IWT (International Working Test) for retrieving gundogs in 2015 by the Danish national team where temperatures unexpectedly became extremely high. In between runs, the Danish retriever dogs wore damp WetDog robes, which created a cool pocket of air around the dog and cooled them down successfully. The team went on to win the competition because their dogs had the competitive advantage of staying cool thanks to the Siccaro WetDog between trials.
They also won the trials again earlier this year which were held in Scotland! Well done! You can see a photo of the winners below.
Another handy tip is that a damp WetDog robe can also prevent shorter coated dogs from getting sunburn on sunny days.
Enjoy your summer!