27th February 2021
Keeping your dog cool is not only important to ensure their comfort and happiness, but it’s also vital to avoid serious health risk.
Overheating and heatstroke can unfortunately result in some serious conditions for dogs such as depression, seizures, coma and even fatality – but there are many things as owners we can look out for to help avoid the risks.
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke is classed as core body temperatures above 41 degrees Celsius with central nervous system dysfunction.
What can cause overheating?
Firstly, your dog or puppy may be predisposed to higher overheating or heatstroke risk by the nature of their breed, for example Labrador retrievers and flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs such as French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Boston Terriers. According to the Kennel Club, the number of brachycephalic dogs owned since 2004 has increased 27 times over, but unfortunately not all owners are aware of the heightened risk of breathing and overheating that comes with them.
In addition to breed related influences, heatstroke can also be caused by:
● Weight typically greater than 15KG – As with humans, every dog has an ideal weight dependent on their breed, age etc. Overweight dogs however can tire and overheat quicker, so it’s particularly important to keep them cool
● Lack of fitness – Your dog may not be overweight, but if they have a poor level of fitness, this can also be a higher influence to overheating
● Exposure to a hot, often high humidity environment - whether indoors or outdoors, hot and/or humid places can of course cause your dog to overheat and place them a greater risk of heatstroke
What can I do to cool my dog down?
Here are a few ideas from us for you to try that could help to cool your dog down;
● When walking, adjust your normal route to favour shaded areas vs. high sun exposed areas. Even choosing the shaded side of the street can help a little.
● You should also consider what time of the day you’re walking your dog too – the sun is typically at its hottest mid to late afternoon so try and avoid walking then.
● It’s also better to walk little and often versus one big walk a day.
● For a hot pup, or before a walk, try wetting a t-shirt with cold water and putting it on them to keep them chilled. It will help keep the core temperature down without causing any discomfort.
● Take water with you wherever you go, ideally plenty of it and in a suitably cold bottle that’s been refrigerating first. Try one of our stainless steel dog water bottles from H204K9 on your next walk!
● As well as on the go, make sure your dog’s water is cold at home too. You can try putting ice cubes in the water to keep it cool. You can also try special cooling bowls which naturally keep their water (and food!) cool too – check out our range of Magisso Cooling Bowls here: https://www.cocospuppyboutique.co.uk/magisso
● Try reducing physical stimulation with mental stimulation to try and lower the risk of overheating. There are plenty of brain training products on the market, or you can simply play a game of hide the treat, or teach them a new trick or skill.
● Regular grooming helps remove any excess or unnecessary hair that might be helping to trap heat into their coat. Investing in a Dog Brush can not only help to avoid this but can also help relax your dog too.
● Frozen dog treats are a great way to better keep your dog cool and reward them at the same time. Many places now sell dog ice cream or frozen yoghurt for dogs, but some of our favourites include dog-friendly peanut butter cubes, chicken stock and apple cubes, and also fresh cold fruit straight from the fridge, especially watermelon, raspberry and blueberries.