Doggy NewsDoggy Training

Warm weather awareness

The heat is on! Top tips to keep your dog cool in warm weather.

Dogs, with their thick coats don’t have the ability to regulate their temperature like we do so we need to give them a helping hand. Heatstroke can actually present quite quickly so below is a list of things to look out for and ways to help keep your pooch cool. Young puppies, short nose breeds and elderly dogs in particular are really susceptible to heat stroke. In addition, even those dogs that seem to love to bask in the heat need to be managed appropriately. In this blog we are going to talk about how to spot the signs of heatstroke, what to do if you think your dog has heatstroke, how to keep your dog cool in the heat and activities that you can try in lieu of physical activities.

Signs of heatstroke and what to look out for;

  • lethargy
  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Purple/deep red gums
  • Staggering and or collapsing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting


What can you do to keep your dog cool?

Avoid walking in the midday heat. Keep to early morning and evening. If still too warm think about missing your walk for that day and introducing some at home enrichment instead-we talk more in depth about later in the article.

  1. When you do take your dog out plan walks wisely;
  2. Shady areas or rivers and no high intensity running around-definitely no chasing after balls or frisbees
  3. Make sure your dog has access to cool water.
  4. Invest in cooling jackets and cooling mats.
  5. Make sure your dog has access to a cool area of the home.
  6. NEVER leave your dog in a car. Even with the windows open or in the shade the inside of a car can heat up VERY quickly.
  7. Do not be tempted to douse your dog in cold water-this can bring a temperature down to quickly and it can mean your dog can go into shock.
  8. Check the pavement with the palm of your hand-if it is too hot for your hand it is too hot for their paws.
  9. This information is in no way designed to act as an alternative to ringing your vet. Any concerns RING YOUR VET.

The saying goes.... A dog won’t die without a walk, but a walk could kill them. Sounds harsh and very brutal but that is the reality of what we are talking about.

Now let us look at some alternative activities you can do with your dog?

Paddling pools can be a really fun and interactive way for you and your dog to cool down. However not all dogs enjoy them-I know this because Stanley used to hate them. It took a lot of patience (and treats) to get him to even put one paw in.

Here's what I did; Invested in a hard shell pool. I have found the soft ones rip easily and can be a bit flimsy if you have a large dog.

I put the paddling pool without water in our garden (make sure you put it somewhere shaded as the plastic can heat up quickly without water). I scattered treats around the pool and in the pool for him to explore and create a positive experience. I did this for a few days (still without water).

Once he was happily hopping in and out without water I started filling it incrementally each day. Scattering treats around the outside and then allowing him to "bob" for treats. As his confidence grew he would hop in and out-I never forced him, he could come and go as he pleased.

Stanley wont’ ever be one of those dogs you see laying in the pool (even though he is the first into the river or sea). That is ok for me, because I want him to enjoy it. He will stand in it with all four paws to cool down and drink from it.

Do not ever be tempted to pick your dog up and plonk them in it. Even the most robust dog is probably going to find this a terrifying experience. Some dogs may hop right in and enjoy it from the beginning-they are all different! Work with your dog to find the thing that suits them best.

Getting your dog to use their nose…

Scent work, sniffing, using the schnozzle.....Whatever you want to call it lets get using it. Did you know that thirty minutes of intense sniffing is more tiring for your dog than an hour of physical exercise? This alone makes it a fantastic alternative activity than a walk on a warm day.

Scent work is fast becoming one of the most exciting activities to take part in with your dog. You want to know the best thing?! There is no fancy or expensive things to buy (unless you get hooked and you keep adding to your kit-but that is another story).

You need your dogs’ nose, an odour and some treats.

In fact it is much simpler than that;

If you don’t want to train your dog to a particular odour (or don’t have time) you can create a treasure hunt by hiding treats on your walk or around your home or garden. You could also create a trail by laying a track using a tea towel soaked in some frankfurter brine.

If you are really strapped for time, scatter feeding breakfast and dinner in the garden are great forms of enrichment that engage the nose. Dogs love to forage-it’s a naturally occurring behaviour so not only will it help keep your dogs’ mind mentally stimulated its giving them an outlet to perform a need that we often try to supress.

What about a busy box? A cardboard box filled with loo rolls, newspaper and yummy treats (ok, not technically scent work in the strictest sense but your dog still has to use their nose and their brain to work out how they get them). Make sure that you have removed any packing tape and don’t leave them unsupervised with it.

If it is cool enough a supper sniffy sniffari walk would be just the ticket. Allowing your dog to choose the route decided only by the power of their nose? We control so much of our dogs’ lives, where they eat, sleep, drink, when they go for walks etc. Never underestimate the power of giving your dog the choice to just be a dog.

Teach your dog a new trick?

Teaching your dog a new trick or trying out a new piece of training. I'm not talking about Crufts level obedience. I'm thinking; Roll over, hand touch, middle, dead, putting things in/out of washing machine, getting a beer from a cool box, taking off socks, picking up post. The list is endless if you have a wild imagination. There are some fabulous videos on YouTube but ensure that the video you choose comes from a force free, accredited trainer. Just because a trainer has millions of followers doesn’t mean they hold any specific accreditation. If a video makes you feel uneasy-trust your gut-its usually right!

Trick training has many positives and isn’t just about teaching your dog something cute or fancy. It helps with relationship building, encouraging problem solving and learning which helps with increasing confidence. When a dog feels confident it helps them to feel happy and optimistic.

We hope you have found the information useful. There are so many alternative things we can do with our dogs when the weather is warm. Spending time doing things with our dogs like this can lead to an oxcytocin boost for both of you. So even though you might not be increasing your heart rate by doing the physical exercise you are still going to get an influx of feel good chemicals by just hanging out together.

If you suspect heatstroke RING YOUR VET please do not waste time asking for advice on facebook groups. Time is of the essence here.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and would like more information on other activities you can do with your dog in warm weather you can currently get our warm weather Ebook PLUS our ten enrichment ideas Ebook PLUS our rucksack walk Ebook by clicking HERE