Remember: dogs die in hot cars!

Now that thermometers are rising we have to remember the great risk heat can pose to our furry family members. Only this week I was horrified to see dogs in cars with windows closed while the owners are in the supermarkets.
We have to ask ourselves this one question: would we leave a child in a car in the full sun with windows closed, while we popped into our local shop to buy fresh bread? I think not!
The only safe thing to do is to leave your furry one at home, where they can have free access to clean water, hopefully in a shaded area, and where they can lay under some form of shelter to get away from the direct heat.
I have heard of some people who have bought old baby baths (so long as they are shallow enough for your furry one to get in and out of) then they will enjoy a day paddling about in the water.
If you do intend to take your furry one out for a day trip, then there are a few things you can do to help them cope with the heat. If your car has air con, then it is always a good idea to have it on a low setting, just to keep the temperature in the car down.
Always have cool fresh water in the car – a bottle that has been in the fridge for the night can be wrapped up in foil to keep it cool. You do not want to give them water that has ice in it, as ice can give them tummy problems as it can with us.
If your trip out is to a water area, like a park or dam, and if your furry one likes to swim, then this will keep them cool. It is just a matter of keeping their core temperature down, and cool water on their body will do this.
Once your day out is over then if you can, and have a dog friendly car like we do, get a wet towel and let them lie on this. The tummy area is where they can cool the quickest, and you will have seen your furry one lying on the tiles, legs sprawled out, to get the area with the least fur into direct contact with the cool tiles.
But we do have to think, is it vital to take our furry ones with us in the car? If we are just popping out to the shop, then it is kinder to leave them at home. If you have to go to the vet with them, then it has to be a matter of going straight back home, not stop off for a coffee, unless you go to a dog-friendly café. If you do, then ask the staff for water for the dog. We have found that all are willing to provide this for us.
We always make sure we sit in a place that is in the shade, and if there is a breeze, then try to sit where your furry one will feel the benefit of this.
Yes, it is nice to take our furry ones with us, but at this time of year it is better for them if their trips out are after the sun has gone down. Try going for walks before sunrise or after sunset – or if you have the time, both.
You also have to consider other things when it’s too hot: if your furry one is getting on in years, if they have a medical problem, if they have a dense thick coat, a snub-nose, or even if they have very sparse fur.
Please keep your furry one safe during these very hot days. They cannot tell you they are feeling ill; the first thing you will know is when they are seriously over heated, and by then it could be too late.
By Sue Ogden
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Sue Ogden is a professional dog groomer living in the Algarve. In her regular column, she provides readers with information on how best to care for their pets. Trained in the UK, she studied nursing, breeding, grooming, nutrition and kennel management. 910 851 140
Stay safe until next time.