Unlike us hoomans, your furry friend is unable to sweat through his skin. Therefore, he regulates his body temperature and stays cool via panting, and heat release through the merocrine and apocrine glands in his paw pads. Warm weather increases the risk of heatstroke especially in brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, and overweight pooches. Symptoms to watch out for include heavy panting, excess salivation, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea, a lack of coordination, and eventual collapse. If you are worried about your dog, move him to a cool place, wrap towels soaked in cold water around his head, neck, and chest, and encourage him to drink whilst awaiting veterinary attention. Avoid ice at all costs, as the dramatic change in temperature can often lead to shock.
Prevention is always better than cure, so you may prefer to walk your canine in the early morning or evening to avoid the midday sun, and always ensure his feet are protected if the pavement is too hot. Provide him with mentally stimulating games in a shaded area, and place cool mats or damp towels on the ground for him to lie on. You could consider a doggy paddling pool if he enjoys a dip, keeping an eye out for water toxicification through excessive consumption.
Never leave him in a car unattended, even in the shade with the windows open, as when the temperature is 22 degrees Celsius outside, it can reach 47 degrees Celsius inside within an hour. Finally, keep on top of your furry friend’s grooming, as matted coats can trap heat and provide a breeding ground for flies and maggots. Even a subtle hygiene trim to the stomach can prevent hard-to-reach knots from forming, and also helps keep your canine cool. ❤
~ Tania Marie de Saram