The Met Office is predicting the UK’s hottest day ever this week, with temperatures set to reach a wild 43C in some parts of the country.
Veterinary expert Dr Scott Miller, working with natural dog food brand Barking Heads, reveals the best ways to keep dogs cool when it’s super hot outside.
Dr Miller told The Mirror : “There are plenty of ways you can keep your pet safe from these higher temperatures and to make them feel more comfortable.
“One way is adding extra water to their food bowl. Soak their dry food and/or feed them wet food for additional hydration support.”
Can my dog go outside during a heatwave?
Unlike humans, our dogs can’t handle the heat as well, and they are susceptible to heatstroke if temperatures are high enough.
Whilst they can join us in the garden every now and then, Dr Miller recommends keeping it to the cooler hours of the day, such as the morning and evening, where the direct sunlight isn’t as strong.
Heatstroke is very common and can cause significant acute and chronic health issues.
Older dogs or brachycephalic (flat faced dogs) tend to be more sensitive to extreme temperatures.
What are the signs my dog is struggling in the heat?
Heatstroke can present itself as excessive panting that does not abate, distress, drooling or even collapse.
If you think your pet may be in distress from the heat, contact your local vet for advice and they can decide on the best course of action to take for your dog.
Some symptoms which may indicate your pet is in distress are:
Prolonged lack of appetite
Inability to stand up
What can I do to keep my dog cool during a heatwave?
Shade and water are both vital during the heat, but there are many other ways you can keep your dog cool this summer:
Keep your pet indoors and out of the sun during the strong, direct sunlight hours
Walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening
Always ensure they have access to a full water bowl and add ice packs or cubes to their water
Circulate cool air inside using fans or air conditioning
Use damp towels or a cooling mat
Add shaded areas in the garden
Apply dog-friendly sunscreen to the sensitive areas on your pet’s skin (nose, ears, lips, and stomach) – especially if they are white, light-coloured or patchy
What should I avoid doing during a heatwave?
It’s important not to fully immerse your dog in water as this can shock them or turn overheating into shock and/or drowning.
Instead, stand them in cold water and scoop it over your dog, or find shade and dowse them in water from a bottle.
You should never leave your dog in a hot car, no matter the circumstances.
And don’t shave your dog’s coat – although tempting, fur acts as an insulator to keep your pet warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Regular grooming can help them regulate their temperature, particularly if they have long or thick fur.