For many, the summer heatwave has been a welcome change to the drab, dull days that Brits are used to. The summer months are notoriously underwhelming, with a couple of sunny days being dampened by wet weather and cold fronts. However, this year, the UK has seen an improvement in the weather, with the heatwave continuing in some areas.
It’s important to remember though that, for dogs, the hot weather isn’t all fun and games. Unfortunately, it can also be met with misery, as our faithful friends are left outside to swelter in the midday sun. Much of the time, dogs are left outside by well-meaning owners who aren’t aware of the potential dangers, but that doesn’t make the issue any less serious. Dog owners have a duty to look after their pooches, day after day, whatever the weather. After all, they’re family too! During the heatwave, it’s imperative that dogs are considered, which can often mean a change in routine, or the way in which things are done.
It’s extremely easy for a dog to succumb to heat stroke, and within hours, a dog’s health and wellbeing can seriously decline if they are left in the heat. Just like many of their owners, dogs don’t handle the heat very well; the only sweat glands that they have are on their paws and at the tip of their nose, meaning that it’s harder for them to perspire to keep cool during hotter spells.
Regardless of the heat, dogs still need to be exercised. However, it’s important to choose cooler times of the day to take them out for a walk or run. In the early hours of the morning, before work, or later in the evening, would be the ideal time to give dogs exercise – it may mean setting the alarm clock to get up that little bit earlier, but it’s worth it for a happy, healthy dog.
Never leave a dog in a parked car, whatever the circumstances or however short the length of time. Charities like the RSPCA have worked very hard over the years to raise awareness that leaving dogs in hot cars can cause serious problems and death. When it is 22C outside, the temperature inside a non-ventilated hot car can reach up to 47C within the hour. Imagine being stuck in temperatures like this, without air or fresh water. Every year, dogs die in hot cars unnecessarily. In the height of the summer, or in the middle of a heatwave, leaving the window slightly open won’t be enough to prevent the worst from happening. The only preventative measure will be to avoid the practice completely.
Dogs need to have access to fresh water, throughout the day. Remember that water can evaporate quickly during hot weather, so top up their water bowls regularly and, if out on a long walk, take some fresh water too.
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