This summer’s heatwaves caught many of us by surprise, but for pets, the soaring temperatures have been even more intense.
Most dog owners know not to leave their furry friends in a parked car on a hot day, but you should also avoid walking your dog or taking them outside in extreme heat.
Dogs don’t sweat like humans, so they’re more sensitive to high temperatures than we are. Puppies, older or overweight dogs and short-nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers are particularly at risk.
Although pet cooling products can help, experts note that human behavior is crucial to preventing heat stroke.
“What I really don’t want to do from a pet professional perspective is for people to think, ‘Oh, it’s fine, I’m just going to train my dog in the heat, sure I have the cold packs at home,’ because that The real problem is that dogs aren’t supposed to be in the heat, period,” says Rosemary Fogarty, dog trainer at SouthPaw Dog Walking, Training and Pet Sitter Service in Rathmines.
“It’s just not the right weather. They don’t have the ability to cool down like we do – it would be like walking the hot path barefoot and in a big fur coat.”
It’s also important that dogs have access to cool drinking water at all times.
“Remember that the sun can move around your house on hot days, so you could go out in the morning and leave a nice cool bowl of water, but as the sun moves, it ends up in direct sunlight,” Rosemary says .
“On a hot day, place several bowls in different places around the house so one bowl is always in the shade.”
Here we round up the products the experts are using to keep pets cool in the heat.
It’s important to keep your dog hydrated even during a walk, hike, or when traveling. “For me, the key has to be making sure the dogs have fresh water available at all times – they lose heat when they pant, so they need lots of water,” says Bray vet Pete Wedderburn.
He likes the Savic Aqua Boy (€6, PetStop.ie), which can hold 500 ml of water. “It’s a water bottle with a small drinking bowl attached.”
If you have a little more to spend, Suzi Walsh, a Dublin-based canine behaviorist and trainer, is a fan of the Irish-made Paw Pool (from €15.99, PawPool.ie).
“It’s a great little all-in-one device: you push a button, water comes out, the dog drinks it and what the dog doesn’t drink, you push the same button and it goes back into the little container,” she says says. “It’s really easy because you don’t want to be messing around with a bowl or anything that might leak.”
If you’re traveling with your pet, Pete likes the Road Refresher water bowl (from €12, RoadRefresher.com), which is available in two sizes with a capacity of 0.6 l and 1.4 l.
“You can just have it in the back of your car and fill it with water — the lip keeps it from spilling and the non-slip bottom keeps it from sliding around,” he says.
For a refreshing treat, Rathgar-based dog walker Rob Walshe, aka The Dogfather, recommends Frozzy’s Frozen Yogurt (from €2.49, Pet Mania), available in single tubs or packs of four and in four flavors including strawberry and blueberry .
Rob adds that if you make your dog popsicles with peanut butter, make sure you have a pet-safe variety that doesn’t contain xylitol, an ingredient found in some brands and toxic to dogs.
Certain chilled snacks can also double as toys to keep restless dogs occupied indoors when it’s too hot outside. Rosemary likes the classic Kong (from €5.99, ZooPlus.ie), a hollow rubber toy that can be filled with treats.
“I put in plain yogurt and freeze it for the dog to lick all day,” she says. “Also, on a warm day, it’s something to keep your dog amused around the house instead of taking your dog to exercise.”
Suzi prefers the All For Paws Woofle Lick Mat (€16.50, PositiveDogTrainingDublin.com), a flat silicone mat with waffle ribs for holding food.
“Sometimes when dogs are very lethargic, they don’t want to use Kong because it’s a puzzle, so this is more of an activity that immediately self-soothes,” says Suzi.
“A lick mat is awesome for any dog any time of the year – in the summer I like to put peanut butter, some flavored water, broth or yogurt on it and freeze it.
“It’s really easy to wash and clean and very durable. They have a great time licking it off so the dog can entertain itself.”
Pete recommends the Prestige Cool Coat (from €25, RoadRefresher.com), which is activated by immersion in water for a few minutes.
The fur works by holding water, which gradually evaporates and draws heat away from the dog’s body, but he warns they must be used with caution. “If they become dehydrated, they can actually contribute to a dog overheating, which makes things worse.”
For a more stylish option, Suzi likes the Ruffwear Cooling Vest (from €89.90, Ruffwear.de), which is also water-activated and features a light-colored, sweat-wicking outer layer to help reflect heat.
“This company makes really cool stuff for hiking. It’s really good quality,” she says. “The vest looks pretty smart.
“It’s on the more expensive side of things, but it will last your dog’s life. It folds very small so you can store it and it’s very user friendly.”
beds and mats
A cooling mat can be especially useful on warm nights to help your dog (or cat) sleep. They are filled with a gel that reacts to your pet’s body heat and require no pre-cooling, soaking or electricity.
Pete highlights the range ZooPlus.ielike the Bondi Cooling Mat (from €14.99) which can be placed on the floor or in a pet bed or crate.
Suzi favors the K&H Pet Cot Elevated Bed (from €44.50 PetStop.ie). “Sometimes people forget that the surfaces that dogs lie on can be very warm. By raising it, the dog’s undercarriage can stay cool,” she says.
“This is a really practical bed because you can fold it up, take it anywhere and use it as a bed for your dog all year round. A lot of dogs love a raised bed, they like that little hammock effect.”
If you have multiple dogs or larger breeds, Rob likes Halfords’ Event Shelter with Two Sides (€140 reduced from €215), which has a UPF of 50+ to protect against the sun’s rays.
“It’s a huge pavilion with some kind of reflective material in it. We can keep up to 10 dogs in the backyard in the summer and therefore cannot leave them in the garden unless there is adequate shade for them. It’s a massive shade and it’s totally cool,” says Rob.
He also recommends a paddling pool and cites the Marko Plastic paddling pool (€24, Amazon) as his favorite.
“They’re hard and plastic, so dogs can’t chew them or poke holes in them,” he says.
“Most dogs will go in and splash around and dig or throw the water over themselves. I have a bulldog that just lays down in the water like a hippopotamus, that’s very cute.”
Suzi suggests the doggy paddling pool ZooPlus.ie (€24.99 reduced from €29.99). “It’s dog-specific so they don’t pop, and it’s collapsible,” she says, noting that it has a peg hole on the side rather than the inside at the bottom of the pool where a dog can pull it out.
“They’re pretty resilient. I throw treats in for my dog to jump in and find them, they sit in, they jump in and out, they drink from, even the cat gets in. It’s really great to have an accessible pool of water so you can cool down your dog very, very quickly.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/top-treats-toys-and-pools-to-keep-hot-dogs-cool-in-the-sweltering-heat-41904175.html Top notch treats, toys and pools to keep hot dogs cool in the sweltering heat