Caring for your dog in hot weather

With the recent hot spells conscientious pet owners have been posting warnings and advice on the ILMC forum regarding caring for your dog in hot weather. I’ve learnt so much. Given the seriousness of an overheating dog I’m sure the members of ILMC won’t mind if I share the advice on here.

  • Ensure your dog has shady areas inside where they can keep cool
  • Make sure there is fresh water available at all times – you can put a drop of apple cider vinegar in the water to reduce phlegm levels
  • If your dog needs to go outside go with him – don’t let him sunbathe
  • Spray your dog with cold water if necessary to keep his skin cool
  • If you’re not at home don’t let your dog have free access to the garden as he will sunbathe
  • Don’t walk your dog in the heat of the day – remember tarmac takes a while to cool down so even after the sun has gone down it can be very hot
  • Don’t force an overheating dog to drink – he could vomit and choke
  • Make sure you have a squeezy Jiff lemon in the house – squirt into the back of the dog’s throat if he is overheating. It will break up the foam/phlegm in the back of his throat.
  • Listen to your dog – panting is fine but listen out for a roar which sounds like an asthma attack. If you hear this noise stand your dog in cold water. Dogs only sweat through the pads of their feed and standing him in cold water has the same effect as putting a cold flannel on your head when you’re hot.
  • If he is already too hot keep him in the cold water and pour cold water over his head, especially around his neck. You need to cool the blood going to the brain as in severe cases of overheating there is a risk of brain damage due to hot blood going to the brain.
  • Place ice just under his tail, just inside his bottom if you can, and keep pouring water over him.
  • Keep calm – if you panic your dog will too
  • Once your dog’s breathing is calmer remove him from the bath but don’t dry him – he may still be very pale (inside his mouth, gums and inner eyes)
  • You can make up a rehydration drink with the following ingredients: 500ml of water, 2 and a half teaspoons of glucose powder, a quarter teaspoon of salt, a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. This mixture will keep in the fridge for 24 hours
  • If you cannot calm your dog in the bath go straight to the vet. Soak a towel in cold water and lay the dog on top of it for the journey. Take a packet of frozen veg and lay them across the back of his neck and on each side of his body.

This weekend we avoided walking Saffi in the heat of the day and ensured she had access to water on her walks. At home she stayed inside for most of the day and only came out once the sun had gone down. The heat clearly exhausted her – she slept for most of the day and really came to life in the evening when she’s normally most docile! Here are some pictures of our walk:

Saffi loves bounding through long grasses!

Enjoying a cool-off (and chasing the ducks!) in The Thames in Putney

At low tide this part of the river practically resembles a beach – Saffi loved it


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