Phew! It’s been hot recently. Even Scotland has been enjoying getting the BBQ out! And while the sun is man’s best friend it certainly isn’t for our pooches, especially when you have a brachycephalic breed (that’s our flat-nosed bunch).
I’ve seen a few other people in their pj’s doing the zombie walk at 6am to avoid the heat and felt their pain (neither Archie or I are big fans of the morning), but what else, apart from avoiding the hottest part of the day can we do to keep our pooches cool and safe? Do you know the warning signs of heatstroke?
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia that results in a high temperature that is not caused by a fever. It occurs when dogs are no longer able to self-regulate and keep their temperature at a comfortable level.
Why does it affect Frenchies more?
Dogs do not use the same mechanisms that we do to cool down; the only sweat glands they have are in their paws, which isn’t an efficient way to regulate temperature. They rely on panting and convection to cool them down, and if the air outside of their body isn’t cooler than their inside temperature then this mechanism doesn’t work. It perhaps isn’t surprising that brachycephalic dogs, whose breathing is often under greater pressure anyway, struggle to regulate their body temperature via this method leaving them more susceptible to heatstroke than other breeds. For more on heatstroke and how it affects your dog, see our article in “Need to Know Information“.
After having a look at a few different cool coats I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about how well they’d work, but after a few hot days and Archie really struggling I decided to go for it and we were lucky enough to snap up one of the first Phoenix Cool Coats. WOW! What a difference it made! He was obviously so much more comfortable, his panting was significantly reduced and after a good 40 minute walk he still felt nice and cool. The coat itself is of good quality material and is true to size- it sits really nicely on him and looks very smart. We’ve used it about 5 or 6 times and it still looks brand new. The Phoenix logo looks amazing and is a fantastic conversation starter about the charity. I honestly can’t recommend this coat enough and neither can some of the Phoenix pooches – who can you recognise …?
You can pick up a Phoenix Cool Coat of your very own – pop along to an event, or visit our Facebook Page, for more information.
Before the cool coat, we carried a cooling towel and tucked that around him under his harness. It seemed to work okay, but after any real movement it was gone.They are quite nice after a long walk to drape over them (and you!) and we’ve found ours works well as a cooling mat (if he’ll stay on it!).
A lot of people have these and manage to use them very effectively; I think I must be doing something wrong because I cannot get our little fluff ball to lie on one! However, I think a lot of you from World Of Our Frenchies (WOOF) have done a much better job than us so feel free to send me your tips! B&M Homestores is a great place to purchase a cooling mat for a good price. Other homeware stores will also stock them and it’s well worth picking up a few to place around the house and garden. They work best when not in direct sunlight.
This was probably just as exciting a discovery for me as it was the dogs! There are lots of different varieties available, but they do need preparation. Before you go to bed at night, follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that they have plenty of time to freeze. Great for in the garden, on a walk, or when traveling (even at a Phoenix event!).
We always carry water with us and have found the water travel bottles easy to use. As of now, we’ve not had any leakages! We’ve stopped a few times to give water to dogs who are obviously struggling – it’s a simple way to help avoid heat stroke in your pooch and could make all the difference, so try and keep some water on you.
Our dogs also LOVE ice; they will stick their heads in the freezer and pull bits out. So, inspired by the internet I put half of their teatime food allowance into a mini muffin tray with a little bit of coconut oil, lactose free cheese and then into the freezer for about 3hrs. They loved them! It slowed down Archie the hoover as well and kept them happy for a good twenty minutes. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews about Frozzys but haven’t managed to get my hands on any yet! I think they’re a really nice way to treat your dog that’s much healthier than normal ice cream, while also keeping them cool. If you have tried them, post below to let us know how they were!
I would love my own personal swimming pool, so was a bit miffed when my monsters turned their nose up at my offerings of their own private pool; a minion one no less! Instead, they chucked themselves in the river. If any of you have managed to get your Frenchie into a pool I’d love to see it-mainly so I can show my monsters what well behaved pups look like! The hard plastic ones are best as they don’t break them with their claws if zoomies suddenly becomes a water sport. You can pick them up in lots of large stores such as Argos, Tesco, Toys R Us, and more.
We would love to see how you’re keeping your pooches cool over summer so please post your photos on WOOF and share your cooling mat secrets!
Written by: Arianne Lowe, Regional Coordinator for Edinburgh