10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer
Summer is here and so are high temperatures. With daily highs nearing 100 degrees outside we should remember that these extremes can affect a dog’s overall wellness. If we don’t pay close attention to our dogs, overheating can lead to heatstroke or hyperthermia (hyperthermia is the opposite of what we more commonly use when temperatures drop, hypothermia)
Depending on what breed they are, if they are obese, how long or thick their coats are, dogs tolerate heat differently. Flat-faced dogs with shorter muzzles, such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese breeds, have a more challenging time panting, while dogs with longer snouts have a better advantage. Coat color is another factor; darker colored coats will absorb more heat than lighter colored coats.
Every dog has different heat tolerance levels, so be sure to understand your dog’s needs! Since dogs do not sweat like humans do (only their paws have sweat glands), panting is one way to help circulate the air coming in and out of their bodies to regulate their body temperatures.
Regardless of what kind of dog you have, we have some tips on how to keep your dog cool for the summer!
- Walk them in the early morning or late evening. It is suggested that you take your dog on walks before the sunrises and after the sunsets, depending on the temperatures. The pavement will be the hottest during the afternoon, so avoid walking them at that time. The pavement will be much cooler in the early morning or late evening.
- Always provide water. This is an obvious one, but don’t forget to constantly refill their water bowls! You can also add ice in their bowls before heading out of the house to keep their bowls chilly throughout the day. Bring plenty of water with you on walks as well.
- Keep your dogs off hot asphalt. Lucky for us, we have shoes to wear and we never have to walk on burning pavement with our bare feet! Dogs however, can burn their paws on the sizzling sidewalks. Try walking on grass or dirt as an alternative. Another option is to purchase dog booties for them to wear. There could be painful consequences if you do not protect your dog’s paws.
- Take them out to the pool. If you have access to a pool, and a water loving dog, take them out on a swim! Some dogs do not like the water, so do not try to force it upon them, but even those who feel somewhat uncomfortable can benefit from a quick dip or a soaking with the hose. For smaller dogs, purchase a small children’s plastic pool for your backyard. With proper supervision, this can be a great bonding experience for you and your dog as they cool off!
- Make dog pup-sicles. If you enjoy having popsicles on a hot summer day, wouldn’t your dog like one too? Try making peanut butter pup-sicles! Your dog will love you for this! Here’s a link for more recipes for pawesome frozen treats.
- Ice pack or cool towel. Providing an ice pack beside their bed for them to rest their head on is a wonderful way for keeping them cool. A cool towel that has been chilled or dampened will do just fine!
- Look for shade. If you take your dog to dog park, try to stay in the shaded areas. Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them too!
- Or just stay indoors. This is the best way to avoid the heat. An air-conditioned room might just be the way to go!
- Lower exercise intensity. As much as we want our dogs to play outdoors, we need to remind ourselves that the heat can exhaust them. Limit their outdoor playtime and shorten their walks. Their bodies will thank you for this!
- Do not leave your dog in your car! Your car will overheat under the sun and this can be very dangerous for your pet. If you see a dog in an unattended car, please call for help.
Let’s try to avoid heatstroke and hyperthermia this summer! Remember, depending on your dog’s breed and size, some dogs can tolerate the heat better than others. If you see any signs of dehydration or overheating, contact your local veterinarian immediately.
Enjoy your summer holidays and stay cool!