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Tips for keeping your dog cool

Whether fluffy, curly or short-haired, most dogs can be healthy and active in the heat, on condition they get plenty of access to drinking water and shade.

Short-nosed or flat-faced dog breeds are more susceptible to overheating or heat stroke. These include pugs, English bulldogs, French bulldogs, boxers as well as older dogs

What do we do?

Let’s look at what you can do to make life more comfortable for dogs in the heat, and also to minimise the risk of overheating or heatstroke.. Ensure access to clean drinking water.. Ensure there is a shaded area for your dogs.. Use a cooling mat.. Put ice cubes in the drinking water.. Make frozen treats.. If possible, give them access to the pool or clam shell pool.. Take them for a walk when it is much cooler, in the morning or evening and take along some water.. Put sunscreen on the noses of fair skinned dogs.. Bring dogs indoors, if possible, and wet their bodies and feet.. Use a fan and let them lie on the tiles.. Get rid of any tangles or matting in the hair.

What do we not do?. Avoid walking with the dog when it is very hot, because it can cause possible overheating or heatstroke. Tar or concrete can burn their paws.. Do not shave your dog, because the undercoat also acts as insulation, and shaving can cause decreased protection.

Different hair types grow differently, and it can mean that it can take very long for the coat to return to its original state – if at all.. Do not leave your dog in a locked car, even for a few minutes. The heat builds up fast and can be excessive.

Dogs can suffer heatstroke in minutes. Unlike humans they cannot perspire through the skin. They pant and release heat through their nose and paw pads to regulate their temperature and keep cool.

Keep in mind that dogs cannot tell you when they do not feel well, so you have to be on the lookout for the following symptoms:. Heavy panting. Heavy drooling. Trouble breathing. Rapid heartbeat. Dark and red gums and tongue. Dizziness. Weakness. Agitation

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke you can take him/her into a shaded area. You can also;. Cool them down with water on the stomach, under arms, groin area and areas where the skin is thin and visible. Use a fan if possible.. To prevent shock, do not cool them down too quickly. If possible wrap them in a cold wet towel. Put the dog in a pool or cool bath. Give access to cold water, but do not force the dog to drink.. Contact your veterinarian.

Remember, if you are hot and uncomfortable, your dog is probably too.

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