As a staffy owner, you'll know just how much our dogs love the sunshine; they'll make the most of even the smallest slither on sunshine to sunbathe in. Unfortunately, hot days during this time of year (however rare they may be in England) can present some serious health risks for your dog.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sunburn and even heatstroke if they are exposed to too much sun for too long.
Of course, it can be hard to keep a sun-seekers like staffies out of the heat so, in this guide, we will provide you with steps on how to stop your staffy overheating in the summer sun.
7 Tips to Stop a Staffy Overheating in the Summer
1. Plan Walk Times
This one may seem obvious but there are many dog owners who fail to think about the timing of their staffy's walks when the sun is out. In England we a particularly bad culprits of it; we rarely get such hot days so we feel like we need to make the most of the sunshine while it is there and we often bring our dogs along too.
Taking your dog for long walks during peak sunshine hours between 11am and 3pm could put them at risk of overheating. Keeping your walks to early mornings and late evenings during the hottest days will reduce this risk.
Another factor to consider is injury to your dog's pads when walking on hot surfaces. Just like our feet, they too can get burnt from walking on hot concrete or sand. The experts at Vets-Now.com suggest this quick test for checking hot surfaces:
Place the back of your hand on the hot ground for 7 seconds. If you struggle to keep it there due to the heat, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Ther is even protective foot(paw)wear available for dogs to keep the pads safe on hot surfaces and extremely cold ones during the winter too.
2. Go for a Paddle
As a general rule, staffies do not make good swimmers due to the proprtions of their heads compared to their bodies. Therefore, taking them to a deep pool, lake or river may not be the best idea.
However, you can still use the water to cool them down by allowing them to paddle in shallower areas. You can buy your pup a doggy life jacket for extra safety just in case they do venture a little too deep.
3. Keep Your Dog Properly Hydrated
Another fairly obvious point but definitely worth remembering. You should always be sure to take plenty of water with you when you go on walks for your dog. Offer your dog some water on at least an hourly basis to keep them hydrated.
When at home, if they are roaming in the garden, you should also ensure there is a water bowl close by. Keep an eye on the water levels to make sure your dog is drinking enough. If they aren't, they might need a little encouragement.
4. Bath or Hose them Down
If you're at home or unable to take you dog to the sea or river for a little paddle then you can cool them off by giving them a bath instead.
If your staffy is one of the many who aren't too keen on getting in the bath, you could try getting the hose out in the garden. Even if a staffy isn't a fan of baths or showers, I find they usually love running around with the hose spraying them in the garden just like this little pup:
5. Separate Feeding and Exercise
Both eating and exercise increase your dog's internal body temperature. So, you need to be careful not to spike their temperature too high by exercising in hot weather and feeding them close together.
You should give your dog space for the internal temperature to cool down before feeding them after exercising. If you have already fed your dog, give their system time to digest the food for around an hour before taking him outside for exercise on a hot day.
In addition to preventing overheating, this can prevent other gastrointestinal problems as well.
6. Consider Your Dog's Coat Colour
According to an article written by an animal doctor on the Independant, black or dark-coloured dogs are more liable to overheat than those with lighter coloured coats. This is due to the fact that dark colours like black absorb heat more than bright colours. If your staffy falls under the dark category, you may want to keep him indoors lots of the time this summer.
Especially in the hottest hours ( 11am to 3pm) of the summer.
On the other hand, there may also be cause for concern with dogs that have very light coats. In particular, white staffys tend to have quite thin coats in the areas around their ears and head.
Dogs that lie on their backs with their bellies exposed could also risk sunburn since their stomachs have very little fur on them. Dog sun screen like this can be purchased for added sun protection.
7. Don't Leave Your Dog in a Confined Space
It should go without saying that your dog needs air to prevent him or her from becoming overheated. Making sure they have access to the outdoors or a well-ventilated area is a must.
The common scenario we have all heard of or even seen is the dog being left trapped inside a baking hot car with the windows closed. Small spaces like cars can heat up incredibly quickly on a hot day, even when parked in the shade.
Do not risk leaving your dog inside a car or compact space when the weather is hot.