Can you believe we’re halfway through summer? Don’t worry, we’re in denial too. And since the hot weather isn’t going to let up anytime soon, we wanted to share how to keep dogs cool in the summer. The five major things to remember are:
- Always have access to water
- Always have access to shade
- Don’t ever leave your dog in the car
- Check the temperature of the ground
- Know the signs of heatstroke
Remember dogs don’t sweat to keep themselves cool the same way people do. Instead they pass air through their muzzle and evaporating saliva cools their body. This means that dogs with short muzzles like bulldogs have a harder time keeping themselves cool.
These five tips to keep your dog cool seem really simple as they are things we need as people too, but they make a huge difference to the safety of your dog. Keeping dogs cool in the summer requires a bit of preparation on your part. Make sure to pack extra water so that you and your dog have plenty to drink. Don’t forget to grab a bowl or plastic container to put water in for your dog also. (Our travel bowls are a great option.) How do you know when to stop for a water break? If your dog is excessively panting, stop and give him water. Better yet, offer water frequently so your dog doesn’t become hot & distressed. Another thing to remember: just as drinking too much water on a hike can give you a stomachache, it can also give your dog one. Make sure your dog doesn’t drink more than 8 ounces or one cup per stop. You can help your dog stay cool with frequent stops.
Shade can be a bit more difficult to find. You can buy a beach umbrella that can be stuck into the ground to create shade or a bigger easy-up tent for a larger amount of shade. Obviously, trees are a great source of shade, but are not found in all areas. If you have a dog house, just remember that it provides shade, but not air flow, which is also very important in keeping dogs cool in the summer.
Though it can be tempting as you are just going to run into the store really quickly to grab milk, but, don’t leave your dog in the car! You would not leave a child in the car so don’t leave your dog in the car either. Cars can be 30 degrees warmer than the outside temperature on a sunny day so that means if it’s a nice 70 degrees outside, it’s 100 degrees inside the car. Don’t bring your dog with you if you can’t bring it into the establishment you are going to. Your dog will thank you!
We get to wear shoes to protect our feet from hot pavement, gravel, and any other surface we walk on, however, dogs do not. Rule of thumb, if you think it’s too hot to walk on, it’s not a good idea for your dog to walk on it. Try to avoid hot pavement and sand, gravel, blacktops, streets, and parking lots. To help with this, go on walks early in the morning or in the evening so you avoid the middle of the day when it’s the hottest. Dogs use their paws and their tongues (panting) as ways to cool themselves down so walking on a hot surface heats up a dog quickly along with harming their paws.
Knowing the signs of heatstroke can save your dog from having to live with health problems or death. The signs of heatstroke are salivating and/or panting excessively, obvious discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea, disorientation and seizures.
If you notice these, try to cool down your dog and call your vet immediately. A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees. If your dog’s body temp rises above 104 get to a vet ASAP (continued elevated temperature under this threshold even when outdoor activity has stopped is dangerous.) Consider packing a thermometer to check your dog’s temperature on the go! Following steps #1-4 can help prevent heatstroke in your dog so be aware and have fun outside this summer!
Now that you know how to keep your dog safe, what are some fun summer activities for dogs? We can help you out with that too!
Here are some fun summer activities for dogs…and you!
- Sprinkler/splash pad. Grab your dog’s favorite ball or frisbee and play fetch through the water.
- Swimming. Whether it’s in a pool, lake, or at the beach, your dog is sure to rock the doggy paddle!
- Doggy popsicles. Put your chef hat on and make a refreshing cold treat for your dog.
- Go on a picnic – maybe make it a puppy party! Make it a lunch for two or a party by inviting your friends and their dogs to have a picnic in your backyard or at a park.
- Great time to learn new tricks or brush up on old ones!
- Go on a hike. Pack lots of water and a bowl! Try to enjoy your hike in the cooler weather of the morning or evening to keep your pup (and you) cool!
We hope these tips on how to keep dogs cool in summer help you and your dog have fun and be safe for the rest of the summer!