The weather is always a topic of conversation here in the UK, especially at this time of year when it’s so unpredictable! With the promise of warm weather on the horizon, it’s time to think ahead to ensure you and your dog aren’t caught out by the next inevitable (we hope!) late spring/early summer heatwave. Here are some of our top tips for keeping dogs cool in summer!

While British summers are notorious for being a washout, we are prone to heatwaves here in the UK. It’s important to prepare in advance for them as much as possible. While they may appear unpredictable at first glance, heatwaves are becoming more and more common here in the UK. With the bleak predicted consequences of climate change, we are likely to experience more extremes of temperatures more regularly in the years to come.

Avoid Midday Sun

The sun is at its most intense when it’s high in the sky. This typically occurs around lunchtime (11am to 3pm) in the UK. It’s important to make sure your pup is shielded from the strong rays to minimise the risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal in dogs. The best way to avoid the midday sun is to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. This may mean switching up your routine during the summer months and swapping your walks to early morning and late evening adventures.

Another reason you’ll want to avoid the midday sun is to protect your pup’s paws. Pavements, tarmac and even grass can heat up to burning temperatures during heatwaves, which can harm your dog’s paws and pads. Another reason why staying indoors during the peak sun is a good idea!

Utilise Enrichment

The thought of keeping your dog inside for the majority of the day may be overwhelming, especially if you have an active breed! Fear not, there is still plenty you can do to engage and exercise your dog’s brain. There are so many enrichment toys and games you can play together. We definitely recommend checking out Enriching Paws’ content for all the enrichment inspiration you could possibly need!

Stick to the Shade

When you do venture out for your dog’s daily exercise, we recommend choosing locations that are shaded and close to water. Whether that’s a stroll along the riverbank in your local woods or a trip to the beach for a splash in the sea. Walking in these locations is often cooler than places without water, due to the convection currents between the water and land.

It’s important to factor in plenty of breaks too. Opportunities for your dog to sit in the shade and chill out periodically to avoid overheating. You may need to alter the duration and routes of your walks to avoid overexertion too. Remember if you have a dog that is more susceptible to heatstroke you will need to take extra precautions to help keep them cool in summer.

Provide Plenty of Water

Pets should have access to fresh drinking water at all times. However, during a heatwave you need to be even more vigilant! This means taking a portable Travel Bowl out wherever you go, so you can provide refreshments on the go. You can also add ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl at home.

Water can even be added to our Rope Buddies toys and frozen. This then provides something cool for your dogs to chew on, which not only helps in a heatwave but also for any puppies that might be teething. Cooling coats are also a good option for summer, which help keep your dog’s body temperature cooler through evaporation. The same effect can be achieved by soaking a tea towel and laying it over your dog in warm weather.

Encourage Them to Chill Out

As with humans, keeping your dog still and calm will help keep them cool. Luckily, dogs need around eight to eleven hours of sleep per day! As we mentioned, even though walks may be restricted during heatwaves, you can still tire your dogs out mentally through enrichment games and puzzles at home, which will help encourage them to rest.

You’ll want to keep a close eye on your dog when they are resting, as some pups have a tendency to sleep in the sun. It’s important to monitor how your dog is coping in warm weather to prevent them developing heatstroke. Providing them comfortable, safe spaces indoors for them to relax will definitely help. Whether that’s a crate, elevated dog bed or cooling mat.

How do you keep your dogs cool in summer? What are your top tips for surviving a heatwave with your pup?

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