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Animal behaviour expert Karen Wild on how to manage your hot dog in the sun




I almost dare not mention it, but we have had a bit of sun and warmth which means we can start to think about managing our dogs in the heat, writes animal behaviour expert Karen Wild.

There are so many activity toys to play with in hot weather.

Not only will some of them cool your pooch, but they will also occupy your dog when it is too hot to walk them. These toys are terrific ways to buy yourself some time when you want to put your feet up, and have a nice cold drink.

Happy wet havanese dog relies on the edge of an inflatable outdoor pool in a hot summer afternoon. Photo: istock/Dorottya_Mathe
Happy wet havanese dog relies on the edge of an inflatable outdoor pool in a hot summer afternoon. Photo: istock/Dorottya_Mathe

Or, if you know your dog will turn themselves into a panting, overtired mess, you can let your dog find the fun in choosing to splash around and cool down instead.

If you are going to give your dog a cooling toy, make sure it is chew-proof. There are lots around shaped like ice lollies but filled with water. These are great for a small dog, or one that doesn’t tear up their toys.

If you are looking for a slightly more solid alternative, a black, large Kong toy stuffed with sticky or wet food and frozen could be a good idea. Your dog will take a long time to investigate this tasty ice-lolly and is unlikely to have jaws powerful enough to ruin the rubber containing it. Make sure you leave the toy out of the freezer for a few minutes before handing it to your dog so that they don’t freeze to it!

Karen Wild
Karen Wild

Many of us feed our dogs on pelleted kibble dog food, which can be easily scattered around a cool grassy lawn instead of in their mealtime bowl. Or you can buy a treat ball or cube designed to drop food out from a hole as your dog bashes it about, keeping their brain occupied without a ton of physical
effort.

If you don’t have the funds or your dog is simply not going to enjoy this kind of toy, why not take a handful of kibble and scatter it inside a cardboard box from the supermarket and let him forage for it there.

What about cool mats, or cooling coats designed to be worn? A word of caution. A paddling pool or a cool mat allows your dog to choose whether or not to access it. A coat or collar is on them all the time. How will you know when they don’t want it any more, or are
uncomfortable?

If you think your dog might get too hot, why drag them out with you at all? They have furry coats and often, shorter nosed breeds find it hard to breathe. Hot cars are a serious risk for dogs, even when you are driving along (they may be in the back where the air conditioning isn’t that
obvious).



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