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How to keep gundogs cool in hot weather

If you're out training your gundog in the warmer months, how can you stop him getting overheated? Tony Buckwell gives some advice

dog in sun

Close up of a dog sitting in the sunshine.

Q: With a young dog in training this summer, have you some advice on the best ways to keep dogs cool in hot weather?

A: The advice on how to keep dogs cool in hot weather is 
so important. Here’s what to do.

Keep dogs cool by providing a cool bed to lie on, especially immediately after he returns from exercise. Place ice packs under the bedding or provide a wet towel for him to lie on.

Make sure your dog has:

  • Cool drinking water – but don’t allow your dog to drink iced water. Run the cold tap before filling the water bowl. 
If you want to use ice cubes, allow them to melt before offering your dog the water to drink
  • Access to shade; string up a tarpaulin or use a sunshade.
  • Access to a paddling pool containing shallow, cool water.
  • A bottle of cool water to drink and a collapsible water bowl to drink from when you take the dog for a walk or are out training.
  • Remember, dogs can suffer sunburn, as well as heatstroke. Exercise your dog in the morning or evening when it is cooler and he is less likely to burn 
his paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke. Place 
the palm of your hand on the pavement, concrete or asphalt; if it is too hot to 
touch, it will certainly be too hot for the dog to walk on. Signs of burned pads include limping or refusing to walk and/or licking or chewing at the feet in hot weather and either missing part of a pad and/or blisters or redness on the pad.

Watch out for heatstroke in dogs

The progressive signs of heatstroke 
in dogs comprise: heavy panting, difficulty breathing and increased heart rate; a bright-red appearance to the tongue lips and gums; drooling, thick saliva and vomiting; the dog becoming progressively unsteady and maybe even passing bloody diarrhoea; the rectal temperature rising to 40°C to 41.1°C (104° to 106°F); the lips and mucous membranes turning pale and grey as shock sets in; finally, collapse, seizures, coma and death will ensue.

If you are concerned that a dog might be suffering from heatstroke, move him to a shaded/cool area immediately and douse him with cool water or use wet towels and/or place the dog in the breeze of a fan.