It turns out that Poppy isn’t a massive fan of hot weather. We noticed this quite quickly when it got warmer back when the UK was enjoying a heatwave. She couldn’t settle and it was too hot to sit with us on the sofa, which is where she most likes to be. It also meant that we had to abandon her lunch time walk, as it was way too hot to go out. We moved her morning walk so that we went out at about 6am, when it was a little bit cooler, and moved her tea time walk so that she went out as late as possible (though sometimes it was still too warm then). Poppy wasn’t overly keen on the fan, but sometimes it was an essential. Despite being a small dog, she overheats quite quickly and we (well, I) was paranoid that she’d get heatstroke!
So, in a bid to keep her entertained, exercised and cool, we experimented with a few of the toys we already had for her. My sister also suggested freezing cubes of watermelon. This has worked a treat. Poppy wasn’t particularly interested in playing with or eating ice cubes, but she loves to crunch up the frozen watermelon cubes!
One of Poppy’s favourite toys is the Wobbler. You fill it with treats and then she bats and pushes it around to try and get them out. It’s a great way for her to use her brain and get rewards at the same time. Lots of people think dogs just need plenty of walks to keep them entertained but they also need mental stimulation. For example, the Blue Cross recommended that, as we feed Poppy dry food, we could simply throw it out into the garden and let her hunt for it. After all, that’s what she would do in the wild. It’s only through convenience for us that humans put dog food in a bowl. Poppy loves playing with the Wobbler. It’s much better than the treat ball we got her. It doesn’t get stuck quite so easily and it’s much more hard wearing.
Another favourite is a classic. It’s a Kong. This is amazing and disappointing at the same time. It’s amazing because the possibilities of what you put in it are endless. It’s disappointing because Poppy always seems to eat what you put in at an amazing speed! Ordinarily, we fill it with peanut butter, treats, the Kong liver paste, pretty much anything. There are tons of recipes online that you can try out that’ll keep your dog entertained. This summer, we’ve been focusing on how we can use it to help keep Poppy cool.
One of the best things we did that Poppy really liked was to plug the narrow end with peanut butter and fill it with milk. We then popped it in the freezer until it was frozen solid. Poppy demolished in less than 10 minutes! But she has to figure out how to get it all out. We also filled it as normal, with peanut butter and treats, and popped it in the freezer. While she’s licking it, she has to work hard to keep it in one place so it’s a great way to get her to use her brain without getting overheated.
As Poppy doesn’t play with toys, using these is a great way to get her thinking. She also doesn’t really like playing in water, with the exception of rock pools. While we’re very lucky to live near some lovely rivers, we don’t live close to the beach! So while other dogs are leaping about in the water, keeping cool, Poppy is snuffling about in the undergrowth!
How has your dog kept its cool over the summer? Got any good Kong recipes? We’d love to give them a try!