The moment a heatwave hits this lovely isle, 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 when compared to our canine friends, especially when it comes to sleeping through a humid, muggy night. As annoying as sleeping on top of the covers may be, dogs have a tougher time at 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.
"Summer is well and truly here and while the lovely, warm weather means we can get out more and enjoy the sunshine with our four-legged friends, it also means we need to keep a close eye on our pets and make sure they're happy and healthy in the rising temperatures," Gaines tells me. As the Veterinary Team at Dogs Trust suggests, to prepare your pup for a comfy night you should start taking the necessary precautions during the day — starting with keeping blinds and curtains closed in the room they're most likely to be sleeping in "to keep the room out of direct sunlight." 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."
While a lot of the precautions to keeping your dog cool in the daytime heat can also be applied during the night, your pooch will more likely than not be resting in one specific area of the house, so it's vital that you keep their environment chilled and relaxed for them to sleep soundly. As Gaines and Dogs Trust suggests, a room with plenty of ventilation and a tiled floor for them to lie on is the perfect place for your doggo. Dogs Trust's Veterinary Team also recommend 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."
If you don't happen to have a tiled room in the house, cooling mats or a damp towel for them to sleep on, as Gaine advises, will provide your dog with a nice cool spot to rest. 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 of mats for small to extra large dogs, and also sell cooling jackets.
Fans are also a good solution to let the fresh air circulate from open windows, but as the Veterinary Team at Dogs Trust advises, "make sure you dog isn't going to be frightened of the sound/experience of being fanned, and also that they can't knock it over." Basically, "have them strategically placed and introduce sensitively and gradually if necessary." Easy access to fresh water is essential alongside keeping it topped up. If it's an unbearably muggy night, you can also add ice cubes to the water to make it that little bit more refreshing.
Even if you've taken the necessary precautions to keep your pup cool, the risk of heatstroke can still be prevalent even after the sun has gone down. As Dogs Trust lists, the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include:
- Panting heavily
- Drooling excessively
- Appear[ing] lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
So if "your dog is showing any of the signs, please follow emergency dog first 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 to keep your dog cool over the summer.