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Tips for keeping your dog healthy and happy during warm weather.

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

What is warm weather for your dog?

Anything above 20°C can cause your dog to become dehydrated and very hot quickly. Especially dogs with a short snout like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and many large and extra-large breeds. There are many risks to consider, like the health of your dog, being overweight, age, and humidity also increase risks. As the temperature rises, so does the risk to your dog. As the temperature increases, even by just 1 °C, the chance for your dog increases.

Any temperature over 25°C is a definite no to walking for exercise regardless of age, breed, and health.

When the risk is low, ideal temperatures to exercise your dog are 15°C to 20°C. Once the temperature is 23°C, you are in a potential risk category depending on your dog's breed, age, health, and size. Once it is 25°C, it is unsafe and dangerous for all dogs.

32°C is life-threatening.

What is a palm test?

Place the back of the palm of your hand on the pavement and hold for 5 seconds. Now imagine your dog's feet on the pavement. It's too hot to walk! Remember, the heat radiates off the pavement and goes directly to your dog's belly.

Your dog's body temperature ranges from 38°C to 39.2°C, whereas human body temperature ranges from 36°C to 37.2°C. Humans can sweat throughout their bodies, whereas your dog can only sweat through their paws and expel heat through their mouth.

How to keep your dog alive in the heat.

Change your routine.

· Schedule exercise walks to dawn and dusk when there is no direct sunlight.

· Hydrate – access to water 24/7. If your dog doesn’t like water, add it to their food or try a

adding 2-3 tablespoons of bone broth.

· Wet them down before their walk (never with ice water)

· Stay indoors, go outside for short potty breaks, and stick to the shade.

· Consider a cooling vest for walks and a cooling mat at home.

· Purchase a pet-friendly sunscreen (not human sunscreen is toxic to dogs)

Beginning signs that your dog is overheating.

If your dog is overheating, seek an excellent location, water your dog and let your dog

rest. Use cool water to lower their temperature (never ice water)

· Excess panting

· Thirst

· Laying down and refusing to walk or restlessness can’t stay still.

· Seeking shade

· The tongue is out, and the bottom is widened and looks like a soup ladle.

Signs that your dog is experiencing heat stroke.

If your dog shows signs of heat stroke, seek emergency vet care and a cool location. Use cool water to lower their temperature (never ice water)

· Unusual breathing (rapid and loud).

· High rectal temperature (39.2°C or higher).

· Extreme thirst.

· Weakness and fatigue.

· Frequent vomiting.

· Disorientation.

· Dark or bright red tongue and gums.

· The skin around the muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched (dehydration).

· Difficulty breathing.

· Thick saliva.

· Rapid heartbeat

· Heavy drooling

· Agitation

So how do you keep your dog happy in warm weather if you can’t go outside?

· Canine Enrichment – there are many DIY enrichment groups on Facebook.

· As your dog trainer for tips on indoor games.

· Trick training – endless options, take a bow, wave, spin, back up, speak, and many more.

· Get creative with two boxes and a broom. You can place the broom on top of the two

boxes, and now you have an agility jump.

· Use what you have – have an empty cardboard box? Teach your dog to climb in and out.

· Use bones, bully sticks and appropriate chews for your dog.

· A nice frozen kong.

· A treat ball/ wobble kong/snuffle mat.

· Take your dog for a swim.

For Canine enrichment tips, visit our DIY Canine Enrichment how-to article here

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