Many places around the world have experienced hotter than usual temperatures this summer. As much as this affects you, your dog is probably affected even more because they can’t sweat. Dogs primarily cool themselves by panting, which isn’t as efficient as sweating.
Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to help make sure your dog stays cool this summer. Here are a few ideas!
How to Make Sure Your Dog Stays Cool This Summer
The more of these tips you follow, the safer hot weather will be for your dog!
Keep Them Inside
On the hottest days of the year, even a doghouse can’t provide enough shade to keep your dog comfortably cool. Bring them inside, especially if you have air conditioning, to keep them safe when temperatures become dangerous.
Provide Plenty of Water
Dehydration can kill a dog faster than you might expect. Make sure your dog always has access to clean water. This is especially important if you keep them outside.
Water bowls can be tipped over, water can get dirty, and sunlight and heat will evaporate water from a bowl. To be safe, rinse and refill your dog’s bowl twice a day during the summer.
Avoid Going Out During the Hottest Time of Day
Walk your dog in the early morning and late evening hours. Exercising during the hottest time of day can cause dehydration or heat stroke. In addition, the pavement can be extremely hot and may burn your dog’s paw pads.
Before taking your dog for a walk, place your hand on the sidewalk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog. Alternatively, buy booties to help protect your dog’s feet.
Let Them Play in Water
A hose. A kiddy pool. Sprinklers. Any of these water-based activities will help keep your dog cool in the heat. Additionally, playing in water can be a fun activity for your dog. Bonus points if you have kids that want to put on swimsuits and join in the fun!
Give Them Shade
There can be a big difference in temperature between sunny areas and shaded areas. If your dog spends any time in the back yard, they should ALWAYS have access to shade.
You probably wouldn’t want the sun beating down on you constantly, right? Your dog doesn’t enjoy it, either.
NEVER Leave Your Dog in the Car
Even with the windows down, a car can get very hot very quickly. When the outside temperature is 85°, a car’s interior can reach 102° in less than 10 minutes.
You never know when your “quick” errand could take longer than usual, so leave your dog home during the summer.
Maintain Their Weight
As with people, overweight dogs overheat quicker than those who are at a healthy weight. (As an overweight person, I will confirm that I get hot and sweat MUCH sooner than my friends.)
More than half of all dogs are overweight. In addition to causing dogs to overheat, obesity causes many of the same health problems in dogs as people.
In addition to lower heat tolerance, obese dogs are at a higher risk of things like:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Bladder stones
- Complications with anesthesia
How can you tell if your dog is a healthy weight? You should be able to feel (but not see) their ribs. If you suspect your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about how to help your dog lose weight.
Make Cool Treats
You probably love ice cream in the summer. While many dogs are lactose intolerant and can’t have ice cream, you can still freeze treats in ice cubes.
There are a ton of recipes for frozen dog treats on the internet. One of the easiest recipes to make is peanut butter banana “pupsicles.” Simply mix together peanut butter and bananas, put the mixture in ice cube trays, and freeze for an hour.
Provide a Cool Place to Lie Down
In your home, your dog probably prefers the cool tile of your kitchen rather than the carpet of the living room. If you’d like to give your dog another cool place to lie down inside or outside, there are a lot of cooling mats to choose from.
DON’T Shave Them
While you may be tempted to shave your dog during the summer, it doesn’t keep them cooler. In fact, a dog’s coat is designed to help keep them cool as well as warm.
Think about it. Your clothing helps keep the sun from beating directly on your skin. That helps you feel less hot. The same thing goes for your dog’s fur.
Additionally, dogs with double coats (like German Shepherds, Goldens, and Huskies) have an undercoat that grows faster than their topcoat. That means they can look very funky while their fur grows back.
Sometimes, their fur won’t grow back at all! This is referred to as post-clipping alopecia. It’s more common in dogs with other health problems but can strike any dog.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
Heatstroke can be deadly. If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately:
- Increased temperature (101.5° is normal)
- Trouble breathing
- Heavy drooling
- Fast breathing or panting
- Muscle tremors
- Dark/red tongue or gums
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
Another serious problem dogs can have in the heat is dehydration, which can be deadly. Take your dog to the vet if they show any of these symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Sunken eyes
- Dry, sticky gums
- Dry nose
- Skin that is slow to snap back after being pinched
- Thick saliva
Heat can be deadly for your dog. Luckily, there are many ways to make sure your dog stays cool this summer. Hopefully, these tips will help you and your dog have safe summers for years to come!