Expert Tips To Keep Your Dog Cool During Warm Nights

For dogs, it’s not quite as simple as ditching the duvet.

Originally Published: 
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The moment a heatwave hits the UK, Brits have a tendency to rejoice over the tropical temperatures, and then complain after an hour or so that it's just too damn hot. Luckily for us, humans can regulate their body temperature pretty easily, especially when compared to our canine friends, who struggle during hot days and humid, muggy nights.

As annoying as sleeping on top of the covers may be, dogs have a tougher time keeping the heat at bay. So, to find out how to cool dogs down at night, I spoke with RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines, and the veterinary team at Dogs Trust.

How To Prepare Your Dog For A Heatwave

As Gaines tells me, while the warmer weather means we “can get out more and enjoy the sunshine with our four-legged friends,” it also means we need to “make sure they're happy and healthy in the rising temperatures.”

To prepare your pup for a comfy night, the team at Dogs Trust suggests you should start taking the necessary precautions during the day, such as keeping blinds and curtains closed in the room they're most likely to be sleeping in. The charity also recommends that you maintain their grooming schedule so their fur is clipped, and to keep physical activity to a minimum in the evening so your dog has the opportunity to "chill out". This can be maintained by getting into the habit of "an evening bedtime routine that's both calming and settling, so everyone can relax together."

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How To Maintain A Cool Environment For Your Dog

While a lot of the precautions to keeping your dog cool are applicable both day and night, it’s key that the location they rest in should be as chilled and relaxed as possible for a sound sleep. As Gaines and Dogs Trust suggests, a room with plenty of ventilation and a tiled floor for them to lie on is ideal. Dogs Trust also recommends that you give your dog access to cooler rooms in the house, as they "tend to move around during the night", and if "it's very hot, some dogs might seek out cooler flooring."

What To Use To Help Cool Down Your Dog

If you don't have a tiled room, cooling mats or a damp towel could help, Gaines suggests. And as Dogs Trust adds, make sure whatever you lay out for your dog is "non-slip to avoid accidents". If you're looking for reliable cooling mats, George Barclay is a good place to start as they stock a range for small to extra large dogs, and also sell cooling jackets.

Fans are also a good way to circulate cool air, but as Dogs Trust advises, "make sure your dog isn't going to be frightened of the sound or experience of being fanned, and also that they can't knock it over." Basically, "have fans strategically placed, and introduce them sensitively, and gradually if necessary." Easy access to fresh water that’s regularly topped up is essential. And, if it's an unbearably muggy night, you can also add ice cubes to the water.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Heatstroke

A normal temperature for your dog is around 38.8 degrees celsius according to the PDSA, and if your dog gets too hot it can suffer from heatstroke. As with humans, if left untreated this can have serious consequences, including seizures, organ failure, and death.

Even if you've taken the necessary precautions to keep your dog cool, the risk of heatstroke can still be a risk even after the sun has gone down. As Dogs Trust lists, the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include:

  • Panting heavily
  • Drooling excessively
  • Appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsing

So if your dog is showing any of these symptoms, follow emergency dog aid (which can be found here) and contact your nearest vet if necessary. For more information and tips, visit the RSPCA and Dogs Trust websites.

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