As temperatures are set to soar to above 25 degrees and long lazy summer days are making a welcome return to the North West, Rebeckah Vaughan, Canine Behaviourist and owner of No More Kennels is reminding dog owners that their fury friends are not always as fond of the sunshine as they are. No More Kennels is a luxury dog hotel, providing cage-free boarding and every dog has its own room with human sized beds, fluffy rugs, plenty of toys and a TV in every room. Pooches have a host of recreation and spa and grooming areas along with agility and relaxation and cuddle zones.
As the BBQs are getting cleaned and ready to be fired up and the garden furniture is prepared for the impending mini-heatwave, dog lover Rebeckah has put together some ideas for fur-parents to make sure that their beloved pooches can enjoy the sunshine and stay safe at the same time.
Rebeckah said: “Some dogs love the sun and some avoid it completely and prefer the shade. Most owners know what their own pets prefer. But, intense heat the prolonged sunshine can be fatal for some dogs or cause them considerable distress and discomfort. When the sun comes out at No More Kennels we embrace it and make sure we have all of the necessary precautions in place to ensure that our four legged guests enjoy the rays whilst staying safe and hydrated. We have plenty of fresh water, changed regularly, as well as paddling pools, hosepipes, sprinklers and plenty of shaded areas for the dogs to relax in.
“Additionally, we take extra time to make sure that they are coping with the heat. We make sun days fun days, but we are always mindful of the hidden dangers that increased temperatures bring and whilst fun is a big part of the day for our doggy guests, their safety and well-being is always our first priority. During one heatwave we really wanted to take the dogs to the beach, but we knew it was too hot for them, so we improvised and created an indoor beach for them to enjoy safely”.
Rebecca warns dog owners to avoid the following during prolonged spells of high temperatures:-
- NEVER walk your dog during the hottest part of the day. The pavement is so hot that it can burn their paws. If you need to walk your dog then first thing in the morning or early evening is the best time for walkies.
- Brachycephalic dogs (short nosed or flat faced) such as French bulldogs should not be walked at all; they are more susceptible to heatstroke which can be fatal and can occur in a matter of minutes. If you live in an apartment and can’t let them into the garden, then just stand outside your front door with them on a lead. No dog ever died from not going for a walk, but dogs have died from going for a walk in temperatures above 25c.
- NEVER leave your dog in your car; it takes just 6 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. Leaving the window open a little bit will not save your dog from overheating. With dog thefts at an all-time high, leaving a dog in a car at any time is dangerous.
Here are some ideas from Rebeckah for keeping your pooch entertained, healthy, hydrated and safe during high temperatures:-
- Dog ice lollies are a great idea; mix gravy granules in water and add treats. Pop these into an ice lolly mold and freeze. In a couple of hours you will have a tasty treat to keep your doggy cool.
- Swimming with your dog is great. You can buy a children’s paddling pool or go to the beach. Avoid lakes as they may contain algae which is poisonous to dogs.
- If you can, purchase a cool vest or cool bandana; these will help to keep your dog cool. If you can’t find one then wetting an old T-shirt will work just as well. However don’t let it dry out as the heat can become trapped.
- Cool mats are great, too. If your dog won’t sit on one, then just wet some towels and lay them on the floor. If you can get them to walk on a soaking wet towel, that will help. Dogs absorb and release heat through their paws so this is a really effective way of cooling dogs down rapidly.
- A garden sprinkler will help keep your dog cool; dogs like chasing hose pipes so a rotating sprinkler may be a fun game. Just make sure they don’t over do it by running around too much. A bottle filled with water set to mist is great to spray on your dog to cool them down, too. Most dogs don’t like to be hosed down, but they do like to drink from a hose. This in itself is quite dangerous as it can cause aspiration pneumonia, a condition caused when water gets into their lungs.
- Keeping your dog hydrated is really important, but large amounts of water can be dangerous too. So playing with a sprinkler, swimming in the sea or playing fetch in the water should be monitored closely. Water Intoxication can happen quickly and have devastating consequences. It disrupts the electrolytes in the dog’s body which can lead to brain damage, heart failure and even death.
- Apply sunscreen to their pink bits: noses, tips of ears and body if necessary. You can buy sunscreen wipes or a mist for all over protection.
- Play games that use their brain rather than exercise: hide their favourite treat in places around the home or garden. Encouraging them to sniff out the treats will conquer boredom if they’re missing their regular walks.
- Create a shaded area with a fan in your home; even the sun coming through the window can be too hot for some breeds. A tiled floor would be perfect for your dog to lay on. If you are going out for the day then ensure that you close the curtains.
- Dogs love carrying things in their mouths: fill a sock with ice cubes and encourage fetch. If they have a favourite toy then pop this in the freezer.