How do I ensure that my pet dog remains cool during the summer months?

With summer here, keeping your pet dog cool is important. Here are a few pointers:

Ensure a constant supply of fresh water: even if you are just off out for a walk, keep a collapsible water bowl and small bottle of water handy at all times so that your dog can stay hydrated.

Replace some of the dry food with wet food: dogs can also get some of their required daily water intake from the moisture present in wet foods.

Make some homemade frozen treats: this is a sure way to help them cool down. Have a look online for some healthy frozen treat recipes and you can keep a few in the freezer for those hot afternoons in the garden.

Never leave a dog in a hot car: dogs can die from heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes as their only way of temperature regulation is through panting.

Keep an eye on the time of your daily walks: try walking early morning and late evening to minimise the chance of overheating or sunburn. Some owners don’t even realise but walking out on a hot pavement can seriously burn your dog’s paw pads. If you are unsure, try to walk out on the pavement barefoot and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.

Keep an eye out for key warning signs: Dehydration can occur during the hotter periods and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. You can check to see if your dog is dehydrated by pinching a fold of skin on the back of his neck and check if it goes back into place quickly. If the skin is slow to go back into its normal position, then chances are your dog is dehydrated. A trip to the vet would be advisable and they will let you know how to proceed – usually with Intravenous fluids to ensure your dog is hydrated again before they go back home.

If you notice rapid breathing and panting, trouble with coordination and/or with a temperature of above 39.2 degrees Celsius, then it is likely that your dog is showing signs of heatstroke.

If you suspect any symptoms of heat stroke then take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. You can use cold damp towels to cool your dog down on the way there but ensure that he is seen to straight away.

Samantha Vince is an animal nutritionist at Pet’s Delight