Adventures with Purdy are always my favourite (by now you should all know who Purdy is but if not, she is the family dog who joins me on all my Cornish Ramblings adventures and I am completely smitten with her). But, when the sun comes out we need to be extra mindful our doggies are being well looked after. In this blog, I have put together a list of what you can do to keep your dog cool whilst out for a ramble, as well as the signs to look out for if you think your dog has heatstroke.
I am in no way qualified on anything within this blog, I have pulled information from various sources, as well as used my knowledge on how we look after Purdy during the hotter days. However, please use this as a guide to keep your pooches safe and should they start to experience any of the symptoms I have popped in this blog, please call your veterinarian in the first instance.
Tips for keeping your dog cool and safe during a summertime ramble.
As you are well aware, I spend most of my free time out and about exploring Cornwall on foot, and usually with my sidekick Purdy at my ankles. There are not many places I will go without her, but it does mean I have to be more mindful about the time of day I head out, if and when I can stop to keep her cool and hydrated, and what I should always carry in my rucksack to make sure I can look after her when out rambling.
Below are the things I do when planning a ramble in hotter weather, and this can also help to prevent heatstroke in your dog and ensure they are kept safe at all times when outside.
Always bring extra water. And make sure the water is fresh and cool. Bring a portable, collapsible water bowl and be sure to give them small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes during activity.
Make a plan. When planning your hike, be sure your plan involves areas where your dog can go for a swim, or just have a splash about. A wet dog is a cool dog.
Shelter. If you’re planning to stop somewhere during your ramble, be sure you stop in an area where there’s shade for your dog to keep cool as you munch your sarnies.
Check the temperature before you head out and avoid midday sun where possible. Avoid leaving your dog outside for prolonged periods of time.
Avoid pavements/roads wherever possible, especially if it’s a particularly hot day. Check the floor temperature with your hand and if it’s hot to touch, avoid taking your dog until it’s a cooler time of day, or change your route.
Give them cool treats. Treats that have been chilled or iced are a good way to keep your dog cool. There is also doggy ice cream available which you can purchase from most ice cream shops.
Prevent skin cancer. Like humans, dogs are at risk of developing skin cancer from overexposure to the sun’s rays. Shade and sunscreen (use a baby or sensitive skin sunscreen as long as it does not contain zinc oxide, which is toxic to dogs) will help prevent this.
Protect your pet from parasites. Common pests and parasites, like ticks and fleas, thrive in the summertime. Read my blog Are You Feeling TICKityboo for more on handling those pesky ticks.
Heatstroke is a serious risk for dogs on hot days. Puppies, senior dogs and those in poor health are at a higher risk. Heatstroke, or heat exhaustion, means that a dog experiences high body temperature from excessive exposure to environmental factors. This is mainly hot temperatures, such as lengthy periods in direct sunlight, extended periods of time in hot environments, and even vigorous exercise in warm weather.
Why does heatstroke occur?
A dog is unable to regulate their temperature and bring it down to a normal level just by panting alone. Although dogs do sweat, they do not have the same way of fighting against overheating as humans. If you have ever noticed wet paw prints on the floor and yet your dog hasn't been near water, they are in fact sweating, which means they are overheating.
What are the symptoms of heatstroke?
Here are a few signs of heatstroke in your dog(s) to look out for.
Excessive panting and/or salivating
Vomiting and diarrhoea
Nose bleeds and/or blood in their urine
How to cool your dog down if they have heatstroke
If you notice any of the above symptoms, get your dog into a cooler environment as soon as possible. Allow your dog to drink cool (not cold) water, but only small quantities at first.
Spray your dog with lukewarm water and ensure their coat is soaked completely. It is important to use lukewarm water rather than cold water as this could in fact increase their temperature. If you spray them with cold water, this can cause the outside blood vessels to become much narrower and actually has the effect of trapping heat in, thus causing their temperature to get higher rather than lower. Keeping their coat wet is also important.
If you have access to a fan then use this to help cool your dog down. If not, finding an area where there is a breeze will have just as good an impact as a fan. Be sure to use the air technique once you have soaked your dogs coat.
If you have access to towels then soak these and place them gently over your dog. Or just as good are ice packs, or packs of frozen peas, which you can place in your dogs armpits, neck area and groin.
If none of the above works and your dog is still unwell, please call your veterinarian for further instructions or take your dog straight in.
“ Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes. ” Gene Hill
Mailing List and Socials
Be sure to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram to keep up to date with everything we are getting up to.
If you've yet to sign up to the Cornish Ramblings mailing list, be sure to do so today to receive blogs like these, newsletters and much more straight to your inbox.