Hot Temperature & Irish Summer: How To Protect Your Dog

  • 30/06/2020

As if we haven’t had enough to worry about with the lockdown and infection fears, the British Met Office estimated (back in January) that Ireland is set to experience its hottest summer yet in 2020. This burning bit of information took a backseat to coronavirus for a while, but as our hottest months approach, it’s becoming apparent that they’re onto something.

While it’s easy for us to take a splash in the pool, partake in an ice-cold pint, or take off our coats to cool down, our dogs can’t do the same thing. Dogs Trust Ireland and ISPCA are appealing to pet parents to be extra mindful of their pooches in this weather, and take active steps to prevent them suffering from heatstroke or other heat-related illnesses.

Carmel Murray, ISPCA’s Public Relations Manager, reminded the public that our beloved pets’ bodies are designed quite differently to ours, and therefore respond to heat in a different way to how we do.

“Dogs don’t have sweat glands, which makes it difficult for them to stay cool. It’s really important that they are not left in a hot car for any length of time, as it can be fatal. It’s better to avoid walking your dog during intense heat, so early morning or evening walks are best, when it’s cooler.”

Murray also recommends allowing your pets free access to cool water and shade at all times, making sure your dog’s water bowl is out of the sun and checking the temperature of the sidewalk with your own hand before walking your pooch.

In addition to her recommendation, we suggest creating a splash pool so your dog can cool his paws, adding a few ice cubes to his water bowl, and freezing chew toys to give your pooch to lick in extreme heat.

Pet parents of short-nosed or flat-faced dogs, you’ll need to be especially vigilant. These kinds of dogs are particularly susceptible to heat-related problems. Due to the shape of their face, these guys and girls can’t pant the way other dogs do. They’re prone to a variety of respiratory conditions that fall under the umbrella term of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.

Not only does this mean they struggle to get enough air in, but it also has larger implications when it comes to overheating. Even light exercise can have disastrous consequences for these dogs in the heat, so if your fur baby is a brachy you’ll need to take extra precautions. Dogs like bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, and Boston terriers fall into this category.

So, what should you do if you suspect your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion?

If your dog is showing symptoms of overheating, you need to move them into a cooler space, first and foremost. Thereafter, spray them lightly with cool water. It’s essential that the water not be very cold - room temperature will do well. If you can get a fan going to improve airflow, even better.

Don’t allow your dog to gulp down large amounts of water, although they may try. This can cause a bit of a shock to the system. Give your dog just a few sips of room-temperature water and contact your veterinarian.

Jennifer Conefry, the veterinary nurse for Dogs Trust Ireland, stresses how important it is to have your dog receive medical care when they’re suffering from heat exhaustion. “If your dog displays any signs of heatstroke, please seek urgent veterinary advice immediately! The sooner this happens, the better chance your dog has of making a full recovery.”

We’ve had some real summer weather already and by all indications, we’re headed for even higher temperatures as we hit our warmest months. While it may be just another (warmer) day for us, the increased heat can be not only uncomfortable, but in some cases, fatal for our dogs.

Don’t let your dog be one of those. Remember, they can’t protect themselves - it’s up to us to protect them during our record-breaking Irish summer.

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