Today is a beautifully sunny Wednesday, with temperatures expected to reach the high 20s. Usually, Wednesdays are our dog pack walk days, but Ju, the AG Dog Pack Walk Group, and I decided it’s too hot for our furry friends. Instead, the AG group is off visiting the poppies, and I’m at home writing this blog.

One of our group members shared a brilliant picture that said, “Extreme heat – if you’re walking your dog between 10am and 6pm, please wear a fur coat and no shoes so you know how it feels.” It got me thinking about how we manage our dogs’ time outside, especially for those of us with patios.

Whether you have a patio, a mix of patio and grass, or artificial turf, it’s essential to ensure our dogs can use our gardens safely in this heat. My patio, which connects to the grass, gets scorching hot in the sun, making it impossible for me to walk on barefoot, let alone for LJ’s paws. Here’s a photo of the patio outside my back door. When it’s too hot, I cover it with blankets or towels and even spray it with water. This way, LJ can access the garden without burning her paws.

If you’re not keen on using blankets or towels, there are many beautiful garden mats available to purchase, which are a great investment for your garden and your dog.

For those with artificial grass, it can heat up in the sun, but high-quality turf shouldn’t get hot enough to burn your dog’s paws. Always check for yourself to be sure. The Dogs Trust recommends the tarmac test: if you can’t comfortably hold your hand (palm down) on the tarmac for 5 seconds, postpone your walk until it’s cooler. I use this test on many outdoor surfaces where LJ walks, just to be safe.

During a surprisingly hot day in Cornwall, my husband and I took the dogs to the beach to cool off. The car park surface was fine, but the sand near the cliffs was too hot, so we carried our dogs to the water’s edge where the sand was cooler and they could swim safely.

While I have your attention, here are some important tips for keeping your dog safe in the heat:

  • Be aware of the signs of heatstroke or any heat-related illness in dogs.
  • Provide plenty of shade and keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Ensure they have plenty of water.
  • Use pet-safe sunscreen on exposed skin (check with your vet if unsure).
  • Walk your dog early in the morning or late at night. I was out at 7:30 am this morning, and it was already getting hot. Last night, I walked at 9 pm, and it was lovely and cool for both LJ and me.
  • Be mindful of your dog’s breed, age, and weight. Brachycephalic breeds (like pugs and Frenchies), older dogs, and overweight dogs struggle more in the heat.
  • NEVER leave your dog in the car, even with the windows open. A dog can die in just a few minutes in a hot car.
  • Monitor your dog’s exercise. Some dogs, like LJ, are not good at self-regulating. Even in cooler weather, they can overheat, so I constantly monitor LJ and put her on the lead to stop and cool down.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the sun responsibly!

Namaste, Lou xx

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