Us Brits love to complain about the weather - it's either too cold, too rainy or...far too hot for us. But imagine if you had to approach the hot sun and humidity of Summer whilst wearing a fur coat.
Our dogs are adapted to cope with the cool temperatures we experience for most of the seasons in the UK without much more than a shake of their coat and a towel dry. But our pooches could be dealt a knockout blow when the mercury rises.
David "The Hayemaker" Haye
Former boxing heavyweight champion of the world and proud owner of three Chihuahuas David Haye is squaring up to battle canine heat stroke by presenting our unique "Weather Pawcast" just for dogs. "I know too well the dangers pets face on a hot day." Said the man who's swapping his gloves for a barometer. "I hope that by presenting the weather for dogs I can help raise awareness of the issues that MORE TH>N is highlighting and encourage people that love dogs just as much as I do to be a bit more mindful of the weather and how it affects their pets”
Dog temperature risk
In Haye's corner is our Dog Temperature Risk Scale, developed by veterinary expert Robert White-Adams.
- The “Medium Risk” range (approximately 16-19°C outside air temperature) for dogs over-heating is based on the equivalent environmental temperature range at which we start to see humans shedding their layers of clothing.
- The “High Risk” range (approximately 20-23°C outside air temperature) for dogs over-heating represents temperatures where humans also start to employ additional heat reduction mechanisms such as reducing their activity and seeking shade, breeze or air conditioning.
- The “Very High Risk” (over 23°C outside air temperature) represents those temperatures at which humans struggle to stay “cool”, and therefore dogs with their much more limited capacity to lose heat are going to be highly susceptible to developing hyperthermia and heat stroke.
Where to find the Weather Pawcast
We'll be updating the Weather Pawcast on our YouTube channel
for what is expected to be some of the hottest days of the year - where temperatures of 28°C are expected to be seen in London and the South East. Throughout Summer, we'll be keeping the Pawcast up to date on our Facebook page
Ten tips for keeping your dog cool
- Get your dog’s coat stripped, or even better, clipped short.
- Change walkies time to early morning or late at night when the temperature is cooler. Take it easy and let your dog take things slow. It’s too hot for running, fetch and ball games.
- If your dog is panting then stop and slow down and if possible find some shade.
- Take water with you at all times and on walks gently spray your dog with a mist of water. Repeat often as the water evaporates and cools them down. However, do not douse or drench your dog with cold water. Sudden cold shock can divert blood flow away from the skin and can actually make your dog hotter!
- Make sure plenty of fresh drinking water in a clean bowl is available at all times (not too hot; not too cold). Check and refill throughout the day.
- If you’re inside, open windows but keep the curtains drawn to keep the temperature down and make sure your dog has lots of space to move around.
- Dehydration happens much quicker in warmer weather so if your dog is vomiting, has diarrhoea or stops drinking then seek help from your vet immediately.
- Create somewhere cool for your dog to rest, such as placing a wet towel in a shady spot outside.
- Place a fan near your dog and try putting an ice pack in front of the fan to cool the air it’s blowing.
- Check up on your dog more often. A lot can happen in just a few hours so change your routine to keep an eye on your dog.
Matthew Poll, of MORE TH>N Pet Insurance, commented: “Unlike us, dogs can’t simply remove layers if they’re too hot and the consequences of over-heating can be fatal for them. As this research shows, greater attention needs to be given by owners to the weather and how to adapt their dogs’ routines and environments in relation to it. We hope that the Weather Pawcast will go some way to raising awareness of the issue and help dog owners better ensure the well-being of their dogs whatever the weather.”
Pet owners who have insurance with MORE TH>N can call free for advice from qualified RCVS vet nurses about the health of their pets by calling vetfone on 0800 072 8190
. The service is available 24/7.
(First published on 25/07/2014)