The summer seasons are filled with positive time spent outdoors at the park, beach and barbeques - creating memories with family and friends. Along with all the good times, in hot climates we need to be vigilant of practicing sun safety not only for ourselves but for our dogs too.
Sun safety and prevention of heat exhaustion is particularly important for any Brachycephalic breeds (shortened nose breeds such as French Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs) who have restricted breathing, as they are more susceptible to overheating. Dogs don’t always know how to regulate themselves and the onset of overheating is fast and can be life-threatening, so it’s important for dog parents to recognise the early warning signs of dehydration and overheating.
First things first, below are some of the main overheating warning signs to look out for:
What to do if your dog is overheating?
Overheating/Heat Stroke is an emergency. Get your pet to the vet as soon as you can and note these tips to drop their temperature:
- Put your dog into a tub of cool water (not cold as they will go into shock), or hose them with cool water
- Continue to pour the cool water over the body and keep it flowing
- Soak towels in cool water for them to lie on
- Get them to the vet ASAP
Prevention is key
It’s important to know what to do in an emergency event of heat stroke, but most important is being aware of risk factors so you don’t put your dog in the environment or situation to suffer from overheating in the first place. Prevention 👏is👏 key 👏.
For prevention, one of the main risk factors to understand is how hot it too hot. Dogs don’t sweat and they have a coat of fur, so a temperature that might seem ok to us, can be a whole different story for your pup – especially with prolonged exposure in this environment. Our Temperature Guide (below) is a super handy reference tool for the heat risk factors. We recommend taking a screenshot or photo on your phone of this guide and save in a handy place for the future!
How else can I prevent overheating?
- Take walks in the early morning or later in the evening when the air temperature is cooler. Stay in the shade where you can.
- Closely supervise play. Many dogs don’t have an off switch and will continuously play – it’s up to you to regulate them.
- Keep your dog inside with air conditioning during the hottest part of the day.
- Make sure they always have access to water – take a Travel Water Bowl and drink bottle on long dog walks.
- Never leave your dog unattended in the car (even if the windows are down).
- Watch out for excessive panting as it’s the first symptom of heatstroke.
- Be careful on humid days, even when overcast as overheating can still occur.
- Keep your dog cool with a Cooling Mat or a Bandana soaked in cool water and twisted to remove excess water.
- Place your bare hand (or foot) on the footpath/road, if it is too hot for you to keep your hand there for 3 seconds then it is too hot for your dog to be outside and on a walk.
We know it’s important for dogs to be outside having fun and enjoying life, but we are all about promoting doing that in a safe way where unnecessary risk can be avoided for them. We hope these tips have helped give you some knowledge and awareness about overheating that you didn’t know before!
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