Dogs need exercise, even when it's hot. The RSPCA recommends walking your dog in the morning or evening when it's cooler to reduce the risk of heatstroke and burning their paws on the pavement. But would you know the signs of heatstroke and what to do if you spot them?
Signs of burned pads
Try the 5 second test - if it's too hot for your hands, it's too hot for paws! You can also look out for...
- limping or refusing to walk
- licking or chewing at the feet
- pads darker in colour
- missing part of pad
- blisters or redness
Other tips to keep dogs safe in hot weather from the RSPCA
- Never leave animals in hot cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans on a warm day (even if only for a short while). When it's 22°C outside, temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) in these environments which can result in death.
- On hot days, use pet safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pets skin, such as the tips of their ears and nose, to avoid sunburn. This is especially important if your dog has white or light coloured fur as they can be very vulnerable to getting burnt. If you're unsure on the right product, please ask your vet.
- Ensure pets always have access to shade and fresh drinking water to help keep them cool.
- Check every day for flystrike.
- Putting ice cubes into your dog's water bowl or making some tasty ice cube treats is another effective method to keep your pets cool.
- Provide damp towels for your pet to lie on or an ice pack wrapped in a towel. Both simple methods could provide a welcome relief from the heat.
- If you're planning a day out with your dog, check before leaving home whether dogs are allowed. If they're not, arrange a pet-sitter or choose another, dog-friendly attraction.
- Regular grooming in warmer weather can help brush away any dead or excess hair, leaving your dog with a less dense coat - much better for staying cool!
- Dogs may also appreciate a paddling pool to splash around in (although not all dogs like water so there's no need to force them if they don't want to!).