Hi, it’s Moss the Dartmoor dog Blogger here! Lisa has asked me to come up with some advice on keeping us canines cool this summer. I like to think of myself as pretty cool most of the time… but I must admit, even I have got a bit overheated on a few days!
Unlike humans, we dogs can’t sweat through our skin and so we rely on panting and releasing heat through our paw pads and nose to regulate our body temperature and keep cool. Imagine wearing a thick winter coat on a hot summer’s day and you’ll understand what it feels like for us and how we can succumb to heatstroke so easily.
Here are some hints and tips that I found online:
Make sure we have access to clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim. Carry water and a bowl with you on walks.
On hot days, walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening
Watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot and give your dog water.
Never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open.
When I was out in the garden recently, she decided to drape a wet tea-towel over me. It felt nice… but she could have chosen one a bit more stylish I thought…
Exercising in the summer
As at all times of the year, by law your dog should be wearing a collar and tag with your name and address on it. It’s also a good idea to put both your home and mobile phone number on the tag so you can be contacted immediately if your dog wanders off… and especially if you are on holiday down here on Dartmoor!
Walk us at the cooler times of the day, either first thing in the morning or early evening.
Dogs’ paw pads can burn on hot pavements. As a general rule, if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for our paws!
If it’s too hot for the usual long walk, keep your dog mentally stimulated by doing some brain games instead. Refresh their basic training with some sits and stays, or teach them new tricks. I enjoy this, but I tend to get over-excited and end up breaking something in the house – oh dear!
I love swimming! It is excellent exercise for dogs and a great exercise alternative to walking in the summer heat. However, not all dogs like to swim (It has taken me about a year to get the hang of it!) so if yours doesn’t then don’t force them and never throw a dog into water.
Dartmoor has lots of lovely rivers and streams, so it is a great place to walk when it is hot, especially in wooded shaded areas. The coast is also nearby and going in the sea is great fun!
Be wary of tides at the beach.
Drinking salt water is likely to make us sick and isn’t very good for us, sp please take fresh water with you to the beach.
Wash salt and sand off your dog’s coat after swimming to prevent it drying and irritating their skin.
Watch out for currents in rivers – they can be a bit tricky!
Check freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds and canals to make sure they are clean before letting your dog dive in. Some types of algae, including blue-green algae, are toxic to dogs.
If your dog swims in algae-contaminated water, contact your vet immediately.
Sadly, each year dog owners drown trying to rescue their pets, so don’t risk dangerous situations.
Have fun and keep cool, Moss.
I am Moss, a German Wirehaired Pointer and I live on Dartmoor and, let me tell you, it is a great place to be a dog! Not only are there zillions of great places to walk, rivers to jump in and rocky bits to climb, it’s also a really dog friendly place. Pretty much everywhere I go I am welcomed. Pubs and Hotels give me dog biscuits and when I go to events I get to meet lots of my doggy friends. If your people are looking for a place to take you on holiday, Dartmoor is a fab choice.
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