Keeping Dogs Chilled: Here are 7 myths to avoid to keep your dog cool all summer long - including sweatin through paws

Your dog can still be overheating - evern when enjoying a swim.Your dog can still be overheating - evern when enjoying a swim.
Your dog can still be overheating - evern when enjoying a swim.
There's plenty of bad advice out there for dog owners - so we're fact-checking some of the myths around avoiding your pup getting too hot.

Summer is certainly here, with Scotland experiencing plenty of hot and dry weather over the last few weeks.

It's lovely to go out and enjoy the sunshine but dog ownmers should be aware that their pets are often no particularly well designed for soaring temperatures.

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It can feel like an ongoing battle to keep your pup cool while still making sure it gets the exercise and fresh air it needs to stay healthy.

And there are a number of myths that have built up around how dogs cope with the heat - and what we can do to help them.

To help out Sophie Mae, founder of pet care experts Furends, has revealed the seven most common myths you should avoid when trying to keep your dog cool this summer.

Here's what she had to say.

Dogs can't overheat if they're swimming

While water can help keep dogs cool, they can still get too hot while swimming or playing in the water, especially if the water is warm. Make sure to limit their playtime in sunlit pools and rivers to avoid overheating!

Dogs only cool by sweating through their paws

Contrary to the common myth, dogs' primary cooling mechanism isn't through sweating from their paws. Their sweat glands, which are located in their paw pads, play a relatively minor role in thermoregulation. In fact, dogs primarily cool down by panting, which allows for the evaporation of water from the respiratory tract. Dogs pant, drawing in cooler air which facilitates the evaporation of water from their mouth and tongue. This clever method replaces the warmer air in their lungs with the cooler air they've just inhaled, thus effectively helping them to dissipate heat.

Dogs will stop exercising when they're too hot

Some dogs, particularly breeds known for their energy and endurance, may not self-regulate their exercise in the heat. This can put them at risk of overheating, so it's important for owners to enforce breaks to avoid heatstroke. Exertion or exercise accounts for 74% of heatstroke cases. In the UK, 1 in 7 dogs affected by a heat-related illness die from the condition.  

Shaving a dog's fur will keep them cool

Shaving a dog's fur can actually expose them to the risk of sunburn and interfere with their natural ability to regulate body temperature. Instead, Sophie recommends regular brushing to remove excess fur and summer trims for medium and long-haired dogs.

Dogs can’t eat ice cubes

Contrary to popular belief, dogs can have ice cubes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the ice cubes are the right size for your dog. Large ice cubes can be a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. It's safer to give them small ice cubes or ice chips instead. If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, do not give them ice. Instead, you should cool them with water and contact your vet immediately as heatstroke needs urgent treatment.

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Wrapping your dog in a wet towel will cool them down

Wrapping a dog in a wet towel doesn't cool them down; it actually keeps the heat trapped. The wet towel acts like insulation, holding in their body heat and increasing humidity, which makes panting less effective. Instead, try using pet-safe cooling gear like a cooling mat or vest. 

It's safe to leave a dog in a car if the windows are cracked open

Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can rise dangerously quickly. It's never safe to leave a dog unattended in a car on a warm day. If you must transport a dog in a car on a hot day, ensure that you pay attention to any warning signs of heat exhaustion and keep the car cool with air conditioning.

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