10 ways to keep your dog cool on the beach
Currently, the weather in the UK is truly unpredictable with temperatures ranging vastly. It is important that no matter what the weather, our canine companions are healthy and happy. Below are 10 tips to summarise how to keep your dog feeling happy whilst enjoying a trip to the beach on a warm summer day.
- Provide shade – dogs overheat easily, so ensure you base yourself somewhere with shade nearby. This could mean sitting or walking close to the cliff side or carrying an umbrella. Place your dog’s toys and water in the shade to encourage them to stay in this area
- Give them enough water inside a collapsible bowl – being able to offer your dog water throughout the day reduces the temptation for your dog to drink from the sea. Salt water can be poisonous to dogs so it is vital we do not allow them to drink it. A collapsible bowl mimics the method of drinking used at home meaning dogs should be much happier drinking this water. Ensure the water’s cool temperature is maintained and that the bowl is full enough for your dog to drink from.
- Bring ice cubes – ice cubes are a great way to cool down the water. This can make it more palatable which therefore encourages the dog to drink more. We need to ensure we are replacing the amount of fluid lost from panting in addition to the normal required volume of water. Do not give your dog ice cubes alone. They may be too cold and uncomfortable on their teeth, although they are not actually harmful.
- Base yourself near the water – many dogs want to stay near their owners while on the beach so as well as being near shade, you should aim to be close to the water. The closer you are to the water, the more likely the sand is to be wet and therefore cooler. This helps to prevent the pads on your dog’s paws from getting burned. Additionally, it makes it easier for your furry friend to take a paddle if they want to. Both these cooling methods are essential when spending a full day at the beach.
- Apply water and sun cream to their skin – Applying droplets of water to your dog’s skin may serve to refresh your dog. This can be pleasant but applying too much, too cold, water can cause your dog to go into shock so be sure not to overdo it.If your dog has patches of pink skin, you should apply sun cream. The most susceptible areas are the nose and ears so please apply cream to these areas. You should consider reapplying every time your dog gets wet as the cream will come off and therefore there will be no protection.
- Do not play too much – when dogs exercise, their metabolic rate goes up, just as in humans. A by-product of this is heat, which is why we get hot and sweaty when we exercise. If you play with your dog for extended periods and send them chasing after balls, they may quickly overheat. Be sure to control the amount of exercise done in warm weather.
- Groom your dog before you go – excessive hair insulate your dog’s body. Grooming your dog helps to remove the thicker insulating hairs, which form part of your dog’s winter coat. Grooming helps to optimise your dog’s natural thermoregulatory methods helping to maintain a healthy core temperature.
- Take a lead in case you need to restrain from excessive exercise – If your dog gets too excited and becomes uncontrollable on the beach, a long lead is a good idea. The leads allows your dog to move around freely and play within a specific space rather than running long distances chasing other dogs. Long endurance exercise causes the most heat production, which is why we want to control it.
- Do not keep in car to allow them to cool down – the car is not a place for your dog to cool down! Even if you keep the windows open, do not trust the environment. Many dogs die due to overheating in cars. They are a small confined space and they quickly become too warm.
- Do regular hydration checks – Monitor your furry friend’s hydration status. Different dogs respond differently to different temperatures, so do not compare your dog to others. Age, breed and fitness level all contribute to heat tolerance levels. Your dog should have a wet nose at all times. When you pull your dog’s skin (usually do it around their neck or where there is loose skin), it should return to the normal height, if it does not, your dog is dehydrated. A change in behaviour eg) lack of energy, excessive panting, sweating, drooling may suggest your dog is dehydrated. In these cases, you should offer water, apply cool (not freezing) water to the skin and place your dog in the shade. If symptoms do not improve, you should seek a vet’s advice.
Have fun on the beach – just remember to stay safe!