Keeping your dog cool in a heatwave

It would be sensible to think that, being covered in a full coat of fluffy fur, dogs would find heatwaves especially hard to cope with & that their owners would automatically manage the situation & make keeping their dog cool at such times a priority.

Sadly, this is not the case! Time & time again I see dog owners walking their dogs in the heat of the day & even throwing balls or sticks for them, while the rest of humanity melts in the shade & complains about how hot it is & how they wished it would rain!

Humans sweat as a way of cooling down the body & when you have freedom of choice it's easy to just go find some shade to sit in if that is what you are in need of.

Dogs don't have the same refrigeration system as us. They have several ways of cooling down - glands in their paw pads allow for a minimal amount of heat loss via sweat; panting increases the evaporation of water from their nose and lungs which cools the body from the inside out; a dog's snout contains a maze of thin epitheleal tissue which cools warm air as it enters the nose, acting as air conditioning for the rest of the body - the shorter the snout the less epitheleal tissue & the less efficient a dog is at cooling down. But despite this it is very easy for your dog to overheat & fatal heatstroke to ensue.

The best thing an owner can do for their dog on days of intense heat is......KEEP THEM COOL! & reduce their chances of overheating. This is very simple to do & doesn't require spending money on fancy gimmicks - simply find some shade & ....sit in it ! If you go out, leave your dog at home (with plenty of fresh water). If you fancy a walk, leave your dog at home. If you fancy throwing some balls or some sticks then do it, just leave your dog at home. It's a bit of a misconception that dogs have to be exercised every day. There is nothing wrong with missing out a few days if the situation is not appropriate. If you must walk your dog do it in the early hours or last thing at night. Keep it to a gentle lead walk with plenty of chances to sniff their surroundings. A walk can be replaced by a simple scent game at home or a likkimat spread with some delicious pate or similar culinary delight.

It really isn't worth the risk of losing your best friend just for the sake of that walk you think they really need x


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