With temperatures rising around the globe, it's become more important than ever to know how to keep your dog cool. Dogs are very susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke in the summer. Recently, there have been reports of dogs in the UK succumbing to heatstroke after only a short walk outside. To keep your pup safe, you need to know how to lower their temperature.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy, everyday tasks you can complete to keep your dog cool in the summer. This is a list of the nine best ways to cool a dog down, as well as the signs and symptoms of heatstroke. Don’t let your four-legged friend suffer this summer.
9 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer
- Keep Them Hydrated
Your dog should always have access to fresh, cold water. Water is crucial to maintaining a healthy canine. A dehydrated dog is more susceptible to heat-related illness. If you go on a walk, take water and a portable bowl with you. Check often to make sure the water bowl is full. You can even add ice cubes to help keep it cold.
- Avoid the Heat
During the summer, it is best to limit your dog's exercise to cool mornings and evenings. Temperature and humidity peak midday, making it the most dangerous time of day for your dog. Use your judgment before taking your dog out on a walk. If it's cloudy and breezy with relatively low humidity, it is probably okay to take them outside. However, on a typical summer day with hot, humid temperatures, it is better to keep them indoors in the afternoon.
- Keep Them Out of the Doghouse
If you have to keep your pet outside, don’t offer a doghouse as shade. These structures have no airflow and can get unbearably hot very quickly. Instead, make sure there are plenty of shady areas in your yard. The shade that trees offer is much safer.
- Use Damp Towels
Lay damp towels for your dog to rest on. Dogs naturally seek out cool places to lay, so this is a great option to help them beat the heat. Alternatively, you can purchase a cooling mat or a cooling vest. If your dog is especially hot, you can also drape wet towels over them to help lower their temperature.
- Protect Their Paws
The summer sun can heat asphalt to scorching temperatures that will burn your pup’s sensitive paws. Before you take them on a walk, check the pavement. If you spill water on it and it bubbles, it’s too hot for them to walk on. Another good rule of thumb is that if it's too hot for your bare feet, it's too hot for your dog.
- Maintain Their Coat
Mats trap in heat, so it's important to keep your dog groomed in the summer. Brushing them often will help prevent matting. If you have a dog that requires regular grooming, make sure to keep up on their appointments so their coat doesn’t get too long.
It's also important to note that you should never shave a dog with an undercoat. While it may be tempting to get rid of all that hair, shaving a dog with an undercoat does not cool them. In fact, it does the opposite. Undercoats naturally cool the dog and shaving it off can have adverse effects. Don’t shave these dogs unless it is approved by a veterinarian.
- Don't Leave Them in the Car
This may seem like a no-brainer nowadays, but it is still important to remember. A car on a hot day can quickly turn into a death trap for your pets. Within just ten minutes, the temperature within a car rises almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that even a short time in the car can be fatal for your dog. Never leave them in a car unattended. If you want to take them out for a car ride, make sure to only bring them places they are allowed inside.
- Let Them Cool Down in the Water
Swimming is a great way for dogs to exercise in the summer while remaining cool. You can take them to a lake or purchase them a dog pool so they can splash around. Sprinklers are also a good option if your dog wants to play outdoors. They can run and chase the sprinklers while the cool water keeps their temperature down.
- Know the Signs
One of the best ways to prevent heatstroke is by simply being informed. If you know what to look for, you can identify when your dog is in trouble and get them the help they need. As a dog owner, you have to keep yourself informed in order to keep your pet safe.
The symptoms of heatstroke are excessive panting, dry or sticky gums, abnormal gum color, and lethargy or disorientation. Seizures are also possible. Their temperature will rise to over 106 degrees if they are suffering from heat stroke.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If your dog is showing symptoms, you should take them to the vet right away. On the way there, you can drape cool towels over them or pour cool water over their body to help keep their temperature under control so it doesn’t reach dangerous levels.
If your dog has a restricted airway, they are at a greater risk for heatstroke and you should remain vigilant. Pugs and French Bulldogs are two examples of breeds that are at a higher risk.
Summer can be fun for everyone, but the heat can also be fatal for your dog. Follow these tips to help keep your dog cool this summer. Watch out for signs of heatstroke and act quickly if your pet is affected. Keep your dog happy this summer by keeping him cool!