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RACHEL HALLIWELL explains how we can look after pooches during the high temperatures


Oh boy, the heat is on with temperatures reported to reach 41c (106f) today and tomorrow. Just as we are sweltering, so, too, are our poor hot and bothered pooches.

My own dog, three-year-old Buddy the cockapoo, hates hot weather and can be found sensibly snoozing his way through the current heatwave, lying prostrate under the table on our cold, stone kitchen floor.

Wise boy. Overheating poses a serious health risk to dogs. They can suffer heatstroke which can cause permanent damage to their vital organs. Humans rely on sweating to regulate their temperature, but dogs don’t have that mechanism.

They pant instead, which cools them down. But during a heatwave as extreme as the one we’re enduring, panting may not be enough. In which case, we, their doting owners, need to step in and help.

Temperatures in the UK are reported to reach 41c (106f) today and tomorrow, so Rachel Halliwell and her dog Buddy (pictured) have been trying out products which cool your dog down in a heatwave

With a third of UK households having at least one canine companion, that equates to an awful lot of worried pet lovers trying to cool down their hot dogs.

But fear not. As you would expect from the £10billion-ayear dog industry, there are plenty of products on the market to help. Buddy and I put them to the test…

THE COOL COAT

Petface Cooling Dog Coat (£8.50, Argos)

Petface Cooling Dog Coat (£8.50, Argos).  Rachel awarded this full marks saying not only does this keep Buddy cool, he looks pretty cute in it, too

Petface Cooling Dog Coat (£8.50, Argos). Rachel awarded this full marks saying not only does this keep Buddy cool, he looks pretty cute in it, too

Adding clothing to an already hot animal seems counter-intuitive, but this jacket is chilled. It’s easy to prepare — just place it into a bowl of cold water before kneading it to help it absorb the liquid. Then you wring it out and slip it on to your dog’s back.

In winter, Buddy refuses to wear his coat, so I’m surprised when he stands still as I settle this on to him then fasten it in place. Poor boy is hot.

It must give him relief because he doesn’t attempt to shake it off, and is soon back under the table, the jacket clearly comfortable to wear because he goes straight back to sleep.

VERDICT: Full marks. Not only does this keep Buddy cool, he looks pretty cute in it, too. 5/5

COLD MAT FOR MUTTS

Sunny Daze Cooling Mat (£16, Pets at Home)

Sunny Daze Cooling Mat (£16, Pets at Home).  The only issue for Rachel is that you can¿t leave a dog with it unattended in case they chew through the material

Sunny Daze Cooling Mat (£16, Pets at Home). The only issue for Rachel is that you can’t leave a dog with it unattended in case they chew through the material

It’s not just hot days you need to worry about during a heatwave. After the sun goes down, temperatures are staying so high our homes can’t cool down — that means little respite for us or our pets at night.

During the day, Buddy hasn’t shown much interest in this cooling mat, which is filled with a non-toxic gel that automatically cools under the weight of your dog.

But when I lay it down next to my bed on a particularly hot night, he lies straight down on it. It must provide some blessed relief because I notice his panting eases a little.

The only issue is that you can’t leave a dog with it unattended in case they chew through the material. And not everyone’s as tolerant as my husband about sharing their bedroom with their besotted wife’s mutt.

VERDICT: Good for cooling down your pooch after you’ve been out for a walk, too. 4/5

MAGIC FOUNTAIN

Whitedrop Pet Water Fountain Dispenser (left, £19.99, amazon.co.uk)

Whitedrop Pet Water Fountain Dispenser (left, £19.99, amazon.co.uk).  This is gimmicky, and much more expensive than a plain old water bowl

Whitedrop Pet Water Fountain Dispenser (left, £19.99, amazon.co.uk). This is gimmicky, and much more expensive than a plain old water bowl

Preferring to drink from dirty ditches and muddy puddles, Buddy approaches most drinking vessels with great suspicion.

This cute water fountain, which filters then pumps fresh water out of a daisy-shaped spout, gets the same treatment.

He has a sniff, walks away, comes back for another sniff, then off he goes again.

This goes on for ten minutes until the cat appears and drinks so deeply from this fountain you’d have thought it had always been there. Wherever she leads, Buddy follows. A couple of tentative licks, then he’s soon lapping away.

This is gimmicky, and much more expensive than a plain old water bowl – but it will help keep my fussy boy hydrated.

VERDICT: A costly watering hole. 3/10

PADDLING POOL

Sunny Daze Dog Paddling Pool (£35, Pets At Home)

Sunny Daze Dog Paddling Pool (£35, Pets At Home).  Rachel says this is great but she feels guilty filling it up with a hose pipe

Sunny Daze Dog Paddling Pool (£35, Pets At Home). Rachel says this is great but she feels guilty filling it up with a hose pipe

Anyone who has a cockapoo like Buddy will know how water-obsessed this breed is. It might be boiling outside, but my dog ​​thinks Christmas has come early, because suddenly he’s got his own pond installed in the back garden and no one is yelling at him to get out of it. He jumps in and out before shaking himself off and diving straight back in again. This is the happiest I’ve seen him since the heatwave began.

This is a pop-up pool, so easy to set up and take down again to store. My teenage daughter, however, is unimpressed—her attempts to sunbathe before the gloomy weather returns are hampered by Buddy clambering soggily all over her. Small price to pay for a happy dog, I tell her.

VERDICT: Great product, but it loses a mark because it needs filling with a hosepipe, which I feel guilty about when our reservoir levels are so low. 4/5

AND DON’T FORGET SPF!

Petkin SPF15 Doggy Sunmist Spray (below, amazon.co.uk, £6.07)

Petkin SPF15 Doggy Sunmist Spray (below, amazon.co.uk, £6.07).  According to Rachel this is probably more useful for dogs with short hair

Petkin SPF15 Doggy Sunmist Spray (below, amazon.co.uk, £6.07). According to Rachel this is probably more useful for dogs with short hair

Spraying sun screen on a dog is a new one on me. This doggy version, which the label says compares to SPF15 for humans, smells like the stuff I spray on myself and is the same milkywhite consistency.

The instructions recommend using on your dog’s ears, nose, muzzle and any pink areas, all of which are especially vulnerable to sunburn. Buddy has other ideas, running off in fright after the first spray of his nose from him. But it’s a different story when I put it on his belly from him — he lies, legs akimbo, while I rub it in, like a pampered pet who’s enjoying a tummy massage.

Buddy likes to lie on his back on the patio, enjoying the sun on his belly, so applying this could be a good idea. But I think it’ll be more useful for dogs with short, thin hair.

VERDICT: Rubbing it in your hands first, rather than spraying it is less scary for a dog. 2/5

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