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Practical Tips & Tools For Looking After Your Dog In A Heatwave!

With a heatwave upon us, keeping your dog hydrated and cool is really important!

In this article we look at:

 1.  Practical Tips for keeping your dog cool.

2.  Dog Cooling Beds or Mats- the benefits of picking a Dog Cooling Bed or Mat i.e. a dog bed or mat with inbuilt cooling option (does your dog sometimes sleep on tiled or concrete areas – this may be a sign he gets too warm in his bed).

3.  Dog Cooling Vests.

Heat Stroke in Dogs:

Remember, dogs don’t perspire like humans, they cool down primarily by panting, and are more prone to dehydration and overheating / heat stroke.

This is particularly true of older or overweight dogs, dark coloured dogs, and brachycephalic breeds (i.e. short nosed and flat faced dogs) such as Shih-Tzus, Pekingese, Pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boxers etc.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs include drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhoea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, collapse.

Practical tips for keeping your dog cool and safe

Avoid walking your dog during intense heat, early morning or evening walks are best as it’s cooler.
If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Opt for shaded routes and exercise your dog on grass where possible.
Always have fresh cool water available and access to shade from the sun. If necessary, create your own DIY shade using an umbrella, cloth, shade screen or other alternative.
Give your dog homemade frozen treats.
Fill up a paddling pool and set it out in the shade for your dog to splash about in to cool off.
Think about using sun cream on exposed body parts, such as the nose and tips of their ears.
Wet some towels and set them out in the shade for your dog to lie on.

Dogs in Cars

Don’t leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes: leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather, even for as little as 10 minutes, can prove to be fatal. On a 22-degree Celsius day, the temperature inside a car could rise by 11 degrees in just 10 minutes. Leaving a window open is not enough!

Dog Cooling Pads / Dog Cooling Mats to help keep your dog cool and safe.

A dog cooling mat / bed is essentially a dog bed with an inbuilt cooling feature, the workings of which vary by make and model.  Some use water, some a gel insert that you refreeze in advance of each use, others use weight / pressure-activated cooling gel with a life of up to three hours, while other recharge automatically.

Note that dog cooling mats that are elevated / raised off the ground allow for better airflow and function more effectively.

When picking a bed or mat, make sure:

Design: make sure the design does not allow your dog gain access to the gel, especially if he’s a super chewer!

Size: in terms of size, can it support your dog’s body weight.  Some, like the Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat with a 15 lbs weight limit, are specifically designed for small dogs.

Elevation: as stated above, elevated dog mats / beds are better for keeping your dog cool.

Portability: if you include your dog in your travel plans (well done!), how will it fold up to fit in your car?

Washable cover: self-explanatory.

Filling: There are a wide range of choices when it comes to the filling including Gel (some but not all non-toxic).

Freezing / Time limit: If opting for a model that requires freezing, do you have space in your freezer for a large cooling mat?  Plus, how long it will stay cool?

Self-charging option: An example is Dogbed4less Cooling Pet Mat which has a weight-activated solid gel cooling pad that responds to your dog's body heat, effectively absorbing and regulating temperature for up to four hours of continuous relief. After 4 hours of use, it automatically recharges in just 15-20 minutes of non-use.

Please note this is not a recommendation – we have not reviewed this product, nor are we an affiliate.

Heat: there are options that double as a microwaveable heating pad, which could be good for locations with cold winters, older dogs with arthritis etc.

Dog Cooling Vests

Dog Cooling Vests / Coats are vests that keep your dog cool once the vest itself is kept moist by pouring water on it. It’s a very simple concept: you wet the material of the vest / coat, then put it on the dog and as it dries, it keeps him cool.

Things to think about when picking a Dog Cooling Vest:

Size: It’s important that the fit is right. Always refer to manufacturer’s guidelines when determining a size, and rely on your dog’s measurements, rather than his weight, to obtain the best fit.

Time: how long will vest function effectively?

Reflective material: this will help protect your dog’s back and sides from the sun’s rays, which helps keep them even cooler.

Reflective strips: for safety during dark hours.

Make sure that the cooling vest that will work with your dog’s harness or collar.

Pick a cooling vests that will keep your dog’s fur cool and dry.

We came across this blog with reviews of Dog Cooling Vests:

5 Best Dog Cooling Vests: Our Top Picks by K9ofmine.com

Please note this is not a recommendation – we have not reviewed the  Dog Cooling Vest products listed / recommended on this site, nor are we an affiliate.

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