Dog trainer Tracey Prall’s advice on how to keep your dogs safe and cool this summer

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Despite a slight change in the weather last week, the weather forecast looks set to pick up and it definitely looks like the beginning of summer. There we and our dogs can enjoy long sunny days.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I thought it would be beneficial to look at some important ways you can help your dog when it’s hot, and how to keep them safe. First, let’s see how dogs differ from us in cooling their bodies.

Humans can sweat from the skin through sweat glands all over the body and can lower their body temperature. (merocrine gland)

When it gets too hot, the body stimulates the meclocrine glands to release sweat, which evaporates and cools the body. However, dogs cannot sweat through their skin.

The only way they stay cool is by panting and releasing heat through the pads of their noses and feet. Since meclocrine glands are only found on a dog’s paws, the sweat evaporating surface area of ​​a dog’s paws is much smaller than that of humans.

Because of this, dogs can quickly overheat and develop fatal heat stroke within minutes. Signs of heat stroke include excessive gasping, drooling, lethargy, difficulty walking, confusion, vomiting, and collapse. (If heatstroke is suspected, it is necessary to see a veterinarian immediately.)

Move your dog to a shaded area and lay him down on a towel soaked in cold water. Never pour cold or ice water on your dog and encourage him to drink cold water in small sips. If you have a fan, you can also use it to cool your dog.

The goal when taking a dog to the veterinarian is to gradually and safely lower the dog’s temperature until professional treatment is available.

Abergavenny-based dog expert Tracy Prahl and her dog, Tiny Timmy

Dog expert Tracy Prahl and her dog Tiny Timmy (Tracy Prahl )

So let’s take a look at my top tips for keeping your dog cool and safe in the summer.

1/ It may sound obvious, but don’t leave your dog unattended in the car in warm or hot weather. Even if it’s cloudy and the temperatures are pretty warm, you can’t risk it. Even leaving a few windows open isn’t enough to keep the dog cool and the car heats up like an oven. If you think parking in the shade will help, it doesn’t.

Dogs don’t have the ability to cool themselves on a hot day, so they can develop fatal heat stroke within 15 minutes in a car. If the outside temperature of the car is 21°C, the temperature inside the car after only 10 minutes will rise to 32°C.

After another 10 minutes, the dog begins to suffer. It’s simple, but don’t leave your dog unattended in a hot car as it can have dire consequences.

2/ Be careful as places in the house can also get hot very quickly. So if you have a greenhouse or veranda, don’t leave your dog there, as these areas can heat up quickly too. Instead, keep it in a cool place in your home with plenty of drinking water.

Also remember that if your dog is in the yard, it also needs access to shade and a cool place. If you’re on a day trip and temperatures are high, it’s safer to leave your dog at home and have a dog walker check on him. Leave your dog at home in a cool place, even if you stop by the store.

A quick stop at the store that you thought was 10 minutes can easily turn into 30 minutes, and your dog can’t stand it in a hot car.

3/ Always have a bowl of drinking water for your dog at home. I have five bowls scattered in different rooms in the house for easy access by the dogs, and I check them regularly on warm days.

4/ Walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, i.e. early morning or late afternoon. Do not walk your dog on pavement in hot weather as pavement absorbs heat and can damage your dog’s paws. Keep your walks short and gentle, avoiding shade. Test the pavement on the back of your hand and if it feels warm, it’s too hot for your dog.

5/ Always replenish water for your dog, even on short walks. There are many excellent water bottles available today, so give your dog the chance to drink water regularly.

For slightly longer walks, you can buy some inexpensive pop-up shelters to provide shade for you and your dog as well.

6/ Dogs more at risk in warmer climates are short-nosed breeds such as puppies, senior dogs, pugs, bulldogs and boxers. Also, long-haired dogs such as Huskies, Malamutes, German Shepherds, or large breeds should be kept cool. Take special care as it will be difficult to cool down by holding your breath.

7/ Some dogs have lighter skin, pinker skin, or lighter coat than others, so pet sunscreen can be used to cover exposed areas. I used to have a little collie cross with a very pink nose, and the tips of her ears were also pink, so I always put a little sunscreen on her in the summer.

8/ There are so many great things you can buy right now to keep your dog cool in the summer, including cool coats, cool bandanas, and cool mats. You can soak the item in cold water and then put it on your dog for storage. nice. I know a lot of owners who have cool coats, mats, etc. and advise that they really help. (Note that once the coat is dry, it needs to be removed and soaked in water again)

9/ Get a kiddie pool! Some dogs just love to cool off or play in a wading pool (don’t force them to do that), but they have a lot of fun too. Some dogs enjoy drinking water or taking a hose shower. (I don’t want him to drink a lot at once, so please only for a short time.)

10/ Try these ideas to keep your dog cool too. You can also stuff a Kong with a suitable meat and freeze carrots and broccoli. Alternatively, fill an ice cube tray with a little water and mashed bananas or a can of drained tuna in spring water. Apply the delicious paste to the Liquimat and freeze. If you check online, there are many recipes you can try and freeze so you can prepare your own frozen treats to keep your dog cool.

Hope the weather stays great for us and our dogs, enjoy the sunshine, keep your dogs safe and have fun.

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