Why my dog eats poop? Medical, behavioural, nutritional, diet, health reasons for coprophagia in dogs / Is it normal for dogs to eat own poop? / How to stop puppy to eat own poop? / Training, health and diet tips to stop dog eating poop / Perfect cocker spaniel pet blog and guide to English cocker spaniels, cocker spaniel grooming, health, diet, nutrition, training & puppy tips / (C) Natalia Ashton

Help! My dog eats poop! | Reasons for canine coprophagia & how to deal with it

The pup goes to the garden… He does his business nicely… You feel so proud of having such a brilliant clever dog. You victoriously pull out a poop bag like a flag celebrating your success in house training…  Then, to your shock and horror, the pup grabs his own poop and swallows it, often with a grin on his little face. And you feel like dying inside…

Sounds familiar? Too embarrassing to admit?

The thing you need to know about canine coprophagy, the proper scientific term that describes the act of dogs eating their own faeces, is that it is a lot more common than you think. If we talk numbers, between 16 to 49% (according to 2008 & 2018 studies) of dogs would eat their own poop. Quite a big number, isn’t it?

But do the numbers make it feel better, normal or acceptable? Or be a sign of concern and call for action?

After talking to many pup parents all over the world, I felt that we really need to address this subject here for both your sanity and the health of the dogs. Especially because the information available to us from both the internet and literature can not only be confusing, but often conflicting.

Let’s discuss…

Is coprophagia a normal behaviour?

No, it’s not. With an exception for bitches who care for their new born pups, dogs are not meant to eat their own excrements. The mum does it because the dogs are very clean animals and would not mess inside their nest. The puppies are not able to do much about it during their first month of life, so their mum comes to the rescue. However, as studies show, come day 32 and the puppies will try to get away from their immediate sleeping den to avoid soiling it.

Whenever you hear people (even some experts!) say that it is absolutely normal for dogs of all ages to eat their own faeces, they often base their statement on wolves behaviour, which is very different from the canine. The normal behaviour for dogs is to be interested in faeces of other species both for eating purposes or rolling in them…

What factors can lead to the development of this habit?

Behavioural environment: the dogs that share their home with other dogs seem to show the tendency of poop eating more often than the single-household pooches. The younger dogs (not necessarily puppies!) can learn this habit by watching older dogs in the same household (note that puppies do not learn poop eating from their mum simply because she looked after them as newborns). Kennelled dogs who may be anxious and dogs that were either born or spent their lives in puppy farms can also develop this habit.

Eating habits: greedy eaters (including the ones who beg for table scraps and tend to steal food off the table) are more likely to have tendency for coprophagy.

Gender: female dogs seem to be more into this habit than males. Additionally, all neutered dogs (both males and females) were more likely to be attracted to their own poop than intact dogs (42% of neutered males vs 6% of intact males and 41% of neutered females vs 7% of intact females)

Medical reasons: even though this does not get mentioned a lot, as a nutritionist I strongly suggest a thorough vet check for all dogs who develop a taste for their own faeces. First of all, the most obvious reasons would be the gut issues including bacterial imbalance, enzyme deficiencies, parasites and digestive problems. Dogs that have been on prescribed medication, antibiotics, suffer from pancreatitis, thyroid problems and diabetes, can  turn to poop eating to either replenish gut bacteria or rebalance enzyme levels, address nutritional imbalances caused by medication or illness, or in response to appetite changes.

Nutrition: poor quality diet can be one of the biggest reasons because the dog will simply seek ways to get the missing nutrients elsewhere. It does not necessarily mean that all dogs fed kibble will be malnourished and dogs fed home-made diet will get everything they need. This is all about complete and balanced recipe. From a nutritionist’s point of view I can assure you that a complete commercial dog diet is much more reliable than anything you’d make yourself.

What you can do…

Ask your vet for a thorough examination and, if possible, tests.

Be very particular about worming schedule and medicine for your dog to prevent any issues and even spread of some bacteria and parasites from the dog to the family. Stool test every 6 months would be an advantage.

Look into your dogs diet including main diet, all treats, table scraps, anything he tends to scavenge on walks, as well as his feeding schedule. Many scavengers would benefit from having 2-3 meals per day, not one.

Clean after the dog as soon as he is done. If you are worried that he may reach down for the fresh poop straight away, toss a treat in an opposite direction to encourage him to run away, giving you a chance to scoop everything up.

Teach a reliable “Leave It”.

Walk your dog on a lead for a few weeks to put you in control over the situation until you get to the bottom of it.

Ensure that your dog get enough mental stimulation and exercise through walks, puzzle games and training, and is given an opportunity to relax and rest.

What you should not do…

Experiment with various diet supplements design to put your dog off eating his poop. I am not a fan of using unproven methods that end up in dog’s body and may cause a variety of issues.

Use digestive enzymes without prior vet check and consulting your veterinarian about the choice. Digestive supplements are often recommended by holistic practitioners, however, so far the studies have shown no positive effects of such supplements on dog’s ability to digest nutritients.

Use pineapple remedy. If you choose to try it, be cautious. Adding fresh pineapple to dog’s diet is a trick many dog owners rely on. However, it has not been scientifically proven, and it can affect your dog’s digestive system due to high levels of enzyme called bromelain. On the other hand, pineapple does contain vitamins and minerals that the dog may be seeking when eating poop, so the best way is to a) have a vet check and b) try feeding your dog a very small, about a cube, amount of fresh pineapple flesh to begin with and see if it makes any difference.

Add chilli pepper to your dog’s diet, inject chilli extra into dog poop, or use any diet solutions with added capsaicin extract, an active substance found in chilli peppers.

Use physical punishment, yelling, electric collars, jars with stones, or training disks if you catch your dog in the act. Negative punishment never works! It may stop your dog from eating the poop out of fear – but it can also encourage him to seek every opportunity to indulge in this habit when and if you are not there to punish him. If a dog suffers from coprophagia due to anxiety issues, any form of negative punishment will add to this anxiety until the dog can’t take it anymore – and find some way to express it.

 

Photo credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Perfect cocker spaniel featured in Edition Dog magazine June 2020 issue / English cocker spaniel articles & features / Natalia, Cooper & Fred as experts for Cocker spaniel feature / Perfect cocker spaniel guide to the breed, dog blog, how to groom English cocker spaniel, cocker spaniel diet, health, training, puppy tips / written by dog expert, author & canine nutritionist / (C) Natalia Ashton

As featured in Edition Dog magazine

I feel very privileged to be featured in the latest editions of Edition Dog magazine. The April 2020 issue included a photo of Fred that I’ve taken last year. It came as a total surprise and made me feel so proud as a photograher – and also very happy to see my wonderful boy smiling at me from a glossy page. It’s always been one of my favourite photos of him, so this is extra special.

Last week I also got a June copy. They featured English cocker spaniel as the breed in focus and interviewed me as an expert for the wonderful article. It was such a pleasure to chat with Paige Nicole who wrote the piece and spent time with me talking about dogs, my boys, Oscar, Perfect cocker spaniel, puppies and life in general.

If you fancy a copy, the mag is sold in shops and can also be ordered online, which is particularly useful if you’d like to grab back issues or prefer to go digital.

Photo credits: covers and pages via Edition Dog magazine, April and June 2020 issues, photos of me, Oscar, Cooper and Fred are by me, from personal collection

Effect of environment and geographical location on dog's reactivity, fearfulness and behaviour / reactivity in english cocker spaniels / Perfect cocker spaniel guide to breed, grooming, puppy tips, health, training and nutrition / dog dietitian / Natalia Ashton, Cooper & Fred by Pinkfeet Photography (C)

Country dogs are happier, study finds

Country dogs are happier than their urban relatives, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Helsinki and published in Scientific Reports. The scientists looked into fearfulness (reactivity to us, the simple folks) and the factors that can have a lasting impact on this trait among dogs.

The study involved 13700 dogs aged between 2 months to 17 years old that exhibited fearfulness caused by a variety of reasons, from breeding, genetics and size to  daily activity levels, demographic and environmental elements.

Whilst many factors have already been noted previously it was the living environment that caught particular attention as yet another cause that may have an impact on reactivity.

Even through more research will be needed, it looks like the country dogs are happier and more content when compared to their city counterparts. The researches believe that this relation is not simply related to the dog’s access to nature, but may also be affected by our own stress levels (which dogs can smell and mirror) as well as density, hectic lifestyle and noises of the urban areas, amount of exercise and interactions between the pooches and their owners, and diet.

So if your spaniel is often on edge, consider taking him to the countryside as often as you can, or better still, make a big move like we did here. Admittedly, we relocated for various reasons, but one of them was definitely to make Cooper live a better and happier life. In our case, it made a big difference. That’s why this study resonated with me so much.

And I am very curious what you think about it, especially if you also escaped to the country for the love of dogs and in search of contentment. Or, perhaps, had to do the opposite and give up on rural pleasures and settle in a city instead.

 

Photo credit: me and the boys photographed by Pink Feet Photography

Strawberries in dog's diet / Can my dog eat strawberries / Goitrogenic foods as strawberries / Health benefits of strawberries for dogs / Canine diet and nutrition / Healthy dog foods / English cocker spaniel pet blog, diet nutrition advice, grooming, training, breed information, health / (C) Natalia Ashton

Can my dog eat… strawberries?

Today I am baking scones to mark the start of the strawberry season. Tea, scones, clotted cream, fresh strawberries, sunshine and blue sky… A perfect moment for the two of us… and a little queue that will definitely be keeping an eye on me while I am cooking and prepping.

The boys do love strawberries. They know them by name and whether or not I have a box in the fridge.

CAN OUR DOGS EAT STRAWBERRIES?

The answer is YES (with a tiny “but”).

Most dogs can have strawberries and enjoy them in season to fully get the benefits of these wonderful fruits.

Strawberries are one of the best sources of vitamin C, manganese, folate, iodine, biotin, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Something we may not even think of, but the seeds also provide a small amount of alpha-linolenic acids and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Beside their vitamin and mineral content, the berries are also packed with polyphenol antioxidants (flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignin, tannins, stilbenes) known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are praised for supporting heart health, protecting the cells from oxidative damage and reducing the risk of cancers.

The quercetin is strawberries may also work as a natural antihistamine in dogs who suffer from allergies, particularly the seasonal ones.

Additionally, eating berries has been shown to improve memory and motor-responses associated with ageing.

And if this isn’t enough, the studies picked on the ability of strawberries to control blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes even when the berries were combined with sugar in the same meal!

How much can you give your dog? Each of my boys has a berry per day, roughly the size of a quail egg or a whole walnut. Too much can cause an upset tummy, vomiting or diarrhoea.

I also need to mention the “but” when it comes to strawberries in canine diet. These lovely berries are a source of goitrogens, the compounds that can interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland and thus affect its function. If your dog has an underactive thyroid (also known as hypothyroidism), he should not be having strawberries.

Image credit: Pezibear from Pixabay

Why train your dog / cocker spaniel training explained / Perfect cocker spaniel book & pet blog / dog diet, nutrition, grooming, training, health tips / (C) Natalia Ashton

What is the point of training a cocker spaniel?

Once upon a time I knew a cocker spaniel. He was a wonderful guy, a perfect specimen in every way – kind, friendly, and absolutely stunning. He was also incredibly well-trained and obedient. In any dog parent’s eyes he was a dream!

And then one day we saw a different side of this perfection. We were having one of our walks, somewhat crazy, somewhat calm, and most definitely a happy “messy-hair-don-t-care” walk for the three of us to enjoy. Suddenly, that spaniel appeared out of nowhere. He was running down the street, unleashed and free. I felt worried. We were on a side of busy road. We stopped. I looked around for his owner.

Eventually he appeared, slightly red faced. He called the dog – and the dog obliged to perfection. He went over, sat nicely and waited. A scene that would have been absolutely beautiful to watch if it wasn’t for one simple fact… The boy’s body language…

As he sat there, his body got tensed, the forever wagging tail – tucked under the bottom, and the ears pinned tights against his head.

Yes, the spaniel did what was asked of him… but he did so not because it was unthinkable for him not to please his owner out of love – it was unthinkable for him not to please his owner out of fear. He was perfectly obedient, but from that moment on I wouldn’t dare let my mind think of the methods used to train that dog. Even though he was perfect in comparison to my lot, I’d be heartbroken if my boys reacted to me and our training like that.

And we do take our training seriously (well, as serious as one can do when surrounded by cocker spaniels!) Anyone who knows me, read my blog or book, is aware of the fact that we love a bit of training here. I train my dogs from puppyhood and throughout their whole life without hardly missing a day. But we train for as long as everyone is enjoying it because for me, the point of successful training is far beyond a basic response to the cue word achieved at all costs or being able to perform every single imaginable task out there.

So why do we train our dogs then?

It helps the dog to live with his human family in harmony. We are all unique and have our own ways and habits, which the dog needs to be aware of. Teaching him what’s ok and not is like teaching a little child that sticking his fingers in an electric socket or playing with matches isn’t a good idea, but putting his toys away or kissing his mum really-really is.

As far as your household is concerned, you are the one who sets the rules as long as they are safe and sensible for everyone. If you are comfortable with your dog sleeping on a sofa – so be it. If you’d rather he slept in his own bed – teach him. If you want to avoid accidents and destructions during puppyhood – prevent them by proofing the house. Not keen on your dog stealing food from the table – don’t leave it there! If you absolutely have to have your dog jumping up when you come home, it’s your decision. But if you’d rather your dog politely sat by the door – it’s another lesson to learn.

It keeps the dog safe and welcomed within the community. Teaching your spaniel recall will ensure that he won’t run away chasing birds, live stock, a little kid or a fearful dog. Asking him to walk next to you down the street means that people around you will feel comfortable. A dog who knows how to stop or come back is less likely to run under the car if he gets distracted. And any spaniel who can resist picking up garbage on the street or spit anything he did pick, won’t have a bad tummy accident or worse…

It’s a way to instil your cocker spaniel with confidence. The more your dog learns, knows, observes and experiences, the more confident he will be. Positive training doesn’t make the dog smarter (all dogs are smart, it’s a matter of perception, not comparison) – it works with his cognition, enhances his intelligence and improves problem-solving skills.

It helps your dog be more dog. Cockers are workers. These dogs need to get busy before they can eventually relax on a sofa feeling utterly satisfied. Even if they are show dogs and look like total divas. They still appreciate something more labour-intensive than a blow-dry.

It builds a human-spaniel bond. Training together creates many moments of fun (and sometimes frustration – but then they become fun, too), and helps you tune into each other’s behaviour, habits and signs that will strengthen your relationship. Throw in an endless supply of treats to please the brain all the way from the gut – and you will conquer the heart of your spaniel forever.

It makes you a better human. Training can change your priorities, unearth some feelings and traits you thought you didn’t have – and get rid of the emotional junk that’s not worth drugging around. It teaches patience. It encourages you to learn, too. It gets you to the point when you see your dog through a completely different set of spectacles – and fall in love with your pooch all over again, day after day, more and more.  You know, it turns you into a person your dog always thought you were.

 

Image credit: Me and Coop photographed by my husband once upon a time

 

Fred, chocolate & tan english cocker spaniel / Perfect cocker spaniel blog & book / dog reactivity, dog behaviour / (C) Natalia Ashton

There is a power in the name

This morning Fred lost it a bit. He did “the growlie” during our walk and it wasn’t pretty. I brought them home, locked myself in a spare room, and had a little cry. It took me a couple of minutes. Then I came out and hugged them, one by one, feeling Fred’s little body really pushing into my chest because his love is so deep and strong, he can hardly contain it within…

And that’s the truth of life. It’s full of ups and downs. It is far from perfect. Even through my dogs really are perfect. Imperfectly perfect for perfection as such does not exist, but I could not think of my boys otherwise.

I am not unrealistic. I am most definitely not oblivious. I simply love my little cockers – and dogs. Mine, yours, everyone’s. For no other reason than dogs really being worth of all the love we can give them.

The whole story of Fred, his birth, his first few weeks, a terrible event that happened when he was 8 months old – all these factors instilled his little brain with reactivity. I was aware of it, I saw the signs. I knew it was either me, someone able to live with it, manage it, dissolve it in time… or somebody who would mistake his emotional bursts for his personality based on a single behaviour… And dealt with it in a way many people do, unfortunately… That wasn’t the life I wanted Fred to live. So I committed to make him happy no matter what.

I worked very hard to help him. And he really is happy. Most of the time. He really is a genius and we achieved so much together. But on a rare occasion the ignition occurs in his brain and Fred becomes my “Damien”. You know, the “Omen” boy.

Every time, for a moment there, I feel defeated… frustrated… upset… I feel that I failed him because I am his world. So I have a moment to myself, then come out and hug my sweet little bum-wagging warrior while he is covering me with kisses.

I may even call him “my darling beastie”… And then we carry on living.

Because this blip, a hiccup, is not something that defines my boy. It can define the situation. It can define a sudden trigger. It can even define my own behaviour. But as far as Fred goes, his response is simply a basic response, an act brought up by chemical reactions and triggers in his little body.

I wanted to share this today because just an hour after we got home, I saw somebody who lives with a reactive dog, also a cocker. And since this occasion was one of many, I needed to address it here and now.

The dog in question became reactive whenever he was approached by strange dogs. One of the most typical situations, really. When you know what reactivity is. Unfortunately this dog’s owner did nothing. She didn’t consult a trainer, read books, study to understand the specifics of this behaviour. Instead she decided that the dog was simply angry, stubborn, lost cause and an absolute pain to walk with…

I tried to explain to her that the boy is reactive and his barking and pulling on the lead stem from fear and anxiety because he is simply trying to deal with something that scares the hell out of him. I tried to direct her to the books and suggested consulting a trainer. “He is just a little sh&t” she replied instead… And it was the name tag that really affected me. “Please stop…” I told her. “Your dog is begging for help, not judgement…” She responded with a sentence that should be censored if printed… The woman already made her choice.

She put a label on her dog’s behaviour and thus she defined him. She made up her mind. And she tuned her brain into thinking that that poor dog was a “bad dog”, an “aggressive dog”, the kind that could do with a “snip”… or a “kick up his bottom”… The dog as sensitive as a typical cocker who was simply trying to communicate his emotions, was now perceived as something he was not.

Sadly, this is more common that you’d dare to imagine. Go to any dog forum or social media and you will see that very “little sh$” label sprinkled around like confetti.

Many find it funny. Others – use it to start a conversation that essentially comes to the point that their dogs are unruly monsters. Worst, and what these people may not realise, it fuels their mind and the perception of people who meet their dogs into thinking that these spaniels really are terrible…

Our brain is a funny thing. If you continously tell it that something is really good and lovely, it will eventually melt in adoration towards that object of positivity. On the other hand, if you constantly drip-feed your mind with negativity towards something or someone, the thoughts will eventually mirror the perception.

If your dog is reactive or exhibits a behaviour that seem puzzling, do not label him “bad” Think about it. Dig into the causes. Ask somebody who understands and can help you.

And in the meantime remind yourself that a certain behaviour never defines your dog as a being. It’s just an emotion, a form of anxiety, a response to the unknown, or inability to address the situation in a way that doesn’t set the soul on fire. It is a sign that something needs attention.

You would not refer to a person with anxiety in any rude way. In fact, most people would feel sorry, try to help and provide comfort. Reactive dogs are no different. They need help, solace and lots and lots of love.

“There is the power in the name…” So sacred and significant that some cultures still choose them as a sign of destiny or never say the names out loud… Think about it next time you are about to refer to your dog as “sh&t” or hear somebody who does. It says very little about the dog – but it does say a lot about his owner. And that’s the thought I am going to leave you with today.

 

Image credit: Fred photographed by me

Cooper as a pup hiding from heatwave, red sable English cocker spaniel puppy / UK Heatwave in England | How to keep dog cool and safe during hot weather, heatwave, summer | Signs of heatstroke in dogs and overheating | Ways, tips & advice to protect English cocker spaniel from summer heat | Perfect cocker spaniel breed and puppy tips, advice, training, health, grooming & diet | Pet Blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Helping dogs to breeze through heatwave

Writing about heatwave tips on a hot spring morning… “Groundbreaking”, I know. Though I’d rather talk about it than don’t. For the love of dogs.

The early morning walks are back! We are out at 6am balancing on the edge of the heatwave like a bunch of newbie surfers… The bodies are almost there, but the minds are still hollow, unconscious, slowly letting go of the vivid dreams from a night before. It’s not easy but that’s the only way to enjoy the air before it’s sucked into the hot vacuum.

Luckily, Cooper is an early bird and takes great pride of waking me up on time. Coop, like a true aesthete, never misses sunrises unless, of course, he had a late night and requires an extra hour in bed… The boy puts great value into his beauty sleep. Almost as much as he does into his diet, grooming and fun. I think if I followed Cooper’s life rules I’d look like a top model. A short one, mind you, but a proper head-to-toe model.

Alas, here we are… Eyes barely opened, walking through a sleepy village on an autopilot… We get a good hour of joy from this and I feel content knowing that the boys will be set for the day.

Even though my lot don’t seem to be particularly bothered by very hot weather, I still prefer to be sensible to protect them in every way I can.

UK Heatwave in England | How to keep dog cool and safe during hot weather, heatwave, summer | Signs of heatstroke in dogs and overheating | Ways, tips & advice to protect English cocker spaniel from summer heat | Perfect cocker spaniel breed and puppy tips, advice, training, health, grooming & diet | Pet Blog (C) Natalia Ashton

We walk very early in the morning and late at night to avoid the heat and humidity. Midday walks are an absolute no-no because any form of activity can cause heatstroke.

Dogs can easily burn paws on hot pavements, so walking on grass is much safer. You can also do a hand test – place your hand on the pavement with the back of the hand against the surface. Hold for 5 seconds. If you feel the heat or burn, stay home.

We carry water with us at all times. The weather changes to rapidly, it’s easy to be caught off guard in a middle of nowhere with the dogs needing a drink. If necessary, water can also be used to wet their tummies and paws to prevent overheating.

The pups have an easy access to drinking water 24/7. I leave a bowl in every room and also have one for the porch (which I always take indoor in the evening, so the slugs don’t accidentally crawl in)

UK Heatwave in England | How to keep dog cool and safe during hot weather, heatwave, summer | Signs of heatstroke in dogs and overheating | Ways, tips & advice to protect English cocker spaniel from summer heat | Perfect cocker spaniel breed and puppy tips, advice, training, health, grooming & diet | Pet Blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Windows are opened all day to create a flow of air and keep the floors cool. We are lucky to have stone floors that can get borderline cold even on a hot day. If your floor is warm, you can use damp towels, cooling pads or cooling mats to give a dog a spot to chill.

Pups have a shady spot in the garden and plenty of dens indoors to avoid direct sun, but I never rely on them to decide when to get back indoors. Coop, if given a chance, would probably sunbathe for hours, and Fred would stick around because he mimics Cooper in everything.

We are the “stay at home” kind of folks, but if you choose to drive, please remember to have all windows opened, plenty of water for the dog and only go ahead with any journey if your dog is cool and comfortable. It’s also worth checking if the places you are planning to visit are definitely dog-friendly.

how-to-keep-dogs-cocker-spaniel-safe-cool-heatwave-dog-blog-perfect-cocker-spaniel-early-swimming

If you take your dog for a swim, stick with cooler times of the day, watch out for blue green algae in lakes and ponds, don’t let your dog drink salty water if you are at the seaside and rinse his coat and paws thoroughly upon return.

Never ever leave your dog in the car. Please do not rely on air con and windows. It can get extremely hot within minutes regardless of what you do putting your dog at risk of heatstroke.

Remember that heatstroke can happen quickly, so it is important to know the signs including…

… heavy panting & breathing difficulties

… excessive drooling & thick saliva

… bright red tongue & mucus membranes

… drowsiness, and loss of coordination

… vomiting

… bloody diarrhoea

… collapse & coma

The risk of heatstroke is higher for dogs who are overweight, suffer from seizures, heart or lung disease, or have to wear a muzzle.

It is an emergency situation, so you need to contact your vet immediately. At the same time you need to help your dog by moving him to a well-ventilated space, away from sun and heat; spraying him with cool or room temperature (never cold!) water and wetting his paws and growing area and allowing the water to evaporate. If he can drink, give him cool water. Never use cold and ice-cold water or ice!

Once his temperature drops to 39C, dry the dog to prevent further cooling and hypothermia and take him to the vets for further treatment unless the vet already advised you on a course of action.

There are also a few other important things you need to be aware of when the temperatures soar and the sun is out. Some are more obvious than the others, but I’ll give you a full list, just in case.

how-to-keep-dogs-cocker-spaniel-safe-cool-heatwave-dog-blog-perfect-cocker-spaniel-early-morning-walks-heatwave-hot-weather

Dark coloured dogs are likely to get hot quicker.

Dogs do not produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. They don’t need to stay outside in the sun for a “top up” – their intake comes from the food bowl.

Dogs with light brown or pink nose can get a sun burn. It’s best to keep these pooches away from the direct sun, and use coconut oil and shea butter nose balms because these oils provide some natural SPF and are completely safe if licked.

Dogs cannot sweat efficiently because paws are the only place they have sweat glands. That is why it takes them longer to cool down.

Grooming is essential and can help to keep your spaniel cool, but remember that properly groomed double coat is much more effective at controlling the natural temperature mechanism than the coat that has been clipped, especially if it’s been clipped on several occasions. When the cocker is hand stripped the natural top coat gives some protection from UV rays, reflects the light off the surface of the body and keeps the skin cool. If the dog is clipped, the top coat and undercoat fluff end up in a mixture of hairs that stops the air reaching the skin, traps the heat and is no longer effective against sun burn.

how-to-keep-dogs-cocker-spaniel-safe-cool-heatwave-dog-blog-perfect-cocker-spaniel-early-morning-walks-ice-cubes

Ice cubes are ok for some dogs, but since they can be a choking hazard and can potentially cause tooth injuries (we are talking about cockers here, these guys can get into all sorts of trouble!), you need to supervise your dog while he is enjoying them.

Ice cubes and ice cold water must never be given to a dog who is suffering from heatstroke. Cold water and ice can cause rapid narrowing of the blood vessels affecting the natural cooling mechanism and trapping the heat inside the body leading to organ failure and coma.

Hose pipe water game may be fun as long as your dog doesn’t swallow too much water. If he does, it can affect electrolyte levels (the balance of sodium and potassium in the body) and cause hyponatremia or water intoxication. The condition can affect several organs and body system and be fatal if left untreated.

Artificial grass looks very smart, but it can get almost as hot as tarmac. A study conducted in 2007-2008 concluded that some types of synthetic grass can heat up to 75C during heatwave! Bear this in mind if your dog normally like to relax in the garden and keep him away from the synthetic lawn.

how-to-keep-dogs-cocker-spaniel-safe-cool-heatwave-dog-blog-perfect-cocker-spaniel-early-morning-walks-artificial-grass

Now we’ve got everything covered, it’s time to have some fun and make happy memories. Because heatwaves never really last long in England, but memories will be with us forever.

 

Image credit: Cooper photographed by me as pup hiding in a shade during his very first heatwave, Fabian Steinmetz, kian2018, Goran Horvat, Tobias Heine, DerWeg, Henrikas Mackevicius