We are currently experiencing some lovely warm weather and I realise that there are many warnings doing the rounds on facebook and other social networking sights about the dangers for dogs in hot weather, but I make no apology for repeating them, especially as I continue to see, on a daily basis, owners putting their dogs through misery, generally due to their lack of knowledge. So, here goes:
DON'T walk your dog at the hottest part of the day - get up early and take them out, or wait until it has cooled right down on an evening
DO check that your dog is provided with shade and THAT IT IS USING IT! Some dogs really just don't get it and sit there baking themselves. Please remember that the sun moves around, so make sure that there is always shade going to be available if you are leaving your dog somewhere and going out.
DON'T leave your dog in the car on a hot day. Having a bowl of water and a 1" gap at the top of the window is NOT sufficient! (Try it for yourself - sit in your car with on a hot day with the windows open a crack and see how long it is before you start to sweat - then remember that dogs CANNOT SWEAT, they rely on panting (and the small area of their paws that can actually sweat) to keep cool. Good air circulation is a must.
DO make sure that if you leave your dog for the day, they have plenty of water. I leave mine outside (with lots of shade) with several large bowls of water and a kiddies plastic shell pool with water in, so that they can cool themselves off if they want to (please note, that some dogs will need to be taught that laying in water will cool them down)
DON'T make your dog walk on hot tarmac or concrete/paving slabs. You have shoes on, they don't, and they can and do get badly burnt feet. Allow them to walk on grass as much as possible.
It is fine to give your dogs frozen kongs, or ice cubes in their water, provided this is done sensibly - ie, don't take your dog out for a lot of exercise, get it really hot, then give it icy water to drink.
One last tip - if your dog is getting overheated, a fan is useful for cooling it down, as is cool water splashed UNDER THE BELLY AND THE INSIDES OF THE BACK LEGS - these are areas that are usually less hairy, allowing water to contact the skin and cool it as it evaporates. The femoral artery also runs down the inside of the back leg, so cooling this means that cooler blood will be circulating.
Enjoy the sunshine, but please make sure that you dog does too :)