Pet Care

Chill vibes only: helping your pup beat the Aussie summer heat


Nurse Annie

20 Oct 2023

📖 Key Takeaways

  1. Understand the signs of heatstroke and the dogs more prone to it.

  2. Implement preventive measures like avoiding midday walks and never leaving your dog in a parked car.

  3. Ensure a cool, shady retreat indoors or outdoors with ample fresh water for your pet.

  4. Engage in water play with a shallow pet pool or beach outings during cooler hours.

  5. Serve up delicious, pet-safe frozen treats for a refreshing snack.

  6. Explore indoor activities and training sessions to keep them active and entertained.

  7. Never leave your dog in a parked car; it’s a no-no

What is heat stroke in dogs?

Heatstroke arises when a dog can't manage an uptick in internal temperature, thanks to extreme heat.

Dogs aren’t built to tackle high temperatures well and have a restricted ability to sweat—mainly from areas not covered by fur like their paws and nose. Their go-to cooling method is panting, but it can fall short, especially in the Australian climate. As body temperature climbs it impacts various parts of the body, making them feel unwell and potentially risking their health. In severe scenarios, heatstroke can result in organ failure and, sadly, death.

Any dog can develop heatstroke, but some dogs such as large breeds, the highly energetic, the slightly overweight, or those with a thick coat or a flat-face are at a higher risk. This risk increases significantly when dogs are walked during the warmer parts of the day, are left in a car without ventilation, or are without water.

The common indicators of heatstroke are heavy panting, dribbling, sticky dry gums, tiredness, confusion, vomiting, seizures, or collapse. If your pet exhibits these signs, move them away from the heat immediately (if possible), lay them on a cool surface, offer a small drink, and place a cool, but not cold, towel over their body and contact your vet promptly.

Treatment for this overheated situation includes fluid therapy and a gradual reduction of your pet’s core temperature.

Fetch covers the cost of treatment for heatstrokes, as an injury

How can you keep your pup cool in summer?

Following these cool tips will ensure the furry family members sail through the summer, enjoying the sunny days while steering clear of the overheating peril. A cool dog is a happy, healthy dog.

Sun’s Out? Paws In!

The sun's blazing glory between 11 – 3 pm is a bit too hot to handle. Save those beach outings and walks for the cool early mornings or late evenings. And hey, if the ground's too hot for your hand, it's a scorcher for your pup's paws.

Please don’t leave your dog in the car

A parked car in the sun is a no-go zone for your pooch. Even a slightly ajar window doesn’t cut it as the inside of a car can morph into an oven swiftly. If errands are on the agenda, a stay-at-home order for your dog is the safest bet.

Keeping hydration high on the list

Much like their human pals, dogs need to keep the hydration flowing, especially under the sun’s glaring rays. Ensure there's always a fresh supply of cool water at their disposal. When you’re out and about, a portable water bottle and a foldable bowl are good allies. Keep an eye out for those tell-tale signs of thirst – excessive panting, dry gums, and a sluggish demeanor. Spot these signs? It’s time for a water break in a shady retreat.

Provide them lots of shade

When your dog’s enjoying some yard time, a shaded haven is essential. Whether it’s a doghouse, a shaded patio, or a makeshift shelter under a beach umbrella, a cool spot to dodge the sun is key for them to manage their body temperature.

Cool gear to the rescue

There are several cooling products designed for dogs, such as cooling mats, vests, and bandanas. These products can help regulate your dog's body temperature, especially when they're outdoors. Simply wet the product, and it will help keep your dog cool for hours.

Cool Treats, Happy Pup

Frozen goodies are a hit when it comes to cooling down from the inside. A Kong toy filled with wet dog food and frozen is a cool idea. Or perhaps some ice cubes with bits of fruit or dog-friendly broth to shake things up a bit.

Splashy fun

Many dogs love to swim, and it's an excellent way to keep them cool. If you have access to a dog-friendly beach or pool, let your pup take a dip. Always supervise your dog while swimming, as not all dogs are natural swimmers.

Indoor playdates

On those blazing hot days, indoor adventures in an air-conditioned haven are the way to go. Engage them with a game of hide-and-seek, treat puzzles, or a little obedience training session.

Grooming: more than just a pretty face

Summer grooming is about keeping it cool rather than just looking cool. Regular brushing helps shed the excess fur that could trap heat. However, never shave a double-coated breed as their fur provides insulation against both heat and cold. Instead, consult a professional groomer.