Summer has definitely reached Luxembourg and I thought it was time to give you some tips about what to consider when being in the sun with your dog!

After a long walk, I took my dogs for the first swim at the Upper-Sur lake last weekend. As you can see, they even enjoyed some time with me on a surfboard.

Before I get started let me debunk one myth that I keep hearing every year. Shearing your dog down to his skin doesn’t help them to cope with heat, actually, the opposite is true!

I won’t get into details this time in order not to steal the thunder of a later blog entry focused on this subject, but let me borrow some advice from our groomer:  “when it’s really hot, we humans also don’t think about shaving our heads!”

Let me share with you what we can do to help our dogs through a hot day:

  • Give your dog a proper groom. A good brush or a shorter cut helps getting rid of lose hair in the fur and allows for a breezier coat.
  • I like to wet some towels and place them on my dogs. With very hot temperatures, even the wiggliest pup will be ok with it.
  • Wetting their legs, armpits and belly has proven to be quite relieving in my house.
  • Avoid exercising and taking long walks when the temperature is at its peak, like at noon and through the early afternoon. The best time to take your long walk is in the morning or at the end of the day.
  • Never, never leave your dog in the car, even if it’s “just for a minute”!
  • And of course, providing plenty of shade and a lot of fresh water is still the number one rule to go by.

If despite all your efforts you think your dog is overheating, here are a few tips:

  • Know your dog’s temperature, it varies between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius, anything above 41 degrees Celsius means your dog’s life is in danger and you should immediately consult a vet.
  • Heatstroke can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. The symptoms to look out for are excessive panting, a dry mouth, disorientation, unfocused eyes, excessive salivation or diarrhoea.
  • Try to stay calm and get your dog to a shaded place and provide water, do not force him or her to drink and avoid drastic measures like offering ice cubes as the violent change in temperature could lead to shock.
  • Use wet towels on delicate parts like neck, armpits and belly to help reducing the heat.
  • Finally take your friend to the vet, if there if there is still no improvement your dog might need some medical attention and it's best you call ahead so your treating veterinarian can prepare everything.
With these tips, we will have a blast with our dogs all summer long!

Luciano is the founder of Dogwalker.lu, the first dog walking service in Luxembourg. In this column, he shares his experience with us.

Editor's note: Human readers may want to check out some of Luxembourg's outstanding pools.