Being a huge animal lover, I have always worried about keeping my dog as healthy and happy as possible. Recently, however, a new challenge has arisen. After moving to a much hotter location, I realized that my dog was having problems dealing with the climate. Long story short, I did my research and came up with several ways to prevent the summer heat from harming my furry best friend. To help you do the same, I will share all the information I have gathered on how to keep your dog cool in the hot summer days. Hopefully, this will help you keep your pooch comfortable, happy and healthy throughout the entire season.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Drinking Water
First things first: During hot summer days, your dog will need a lot of fresh drinking water. In temperate climates, dogs require 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. However, that amount should be doubled in warm and hot climates. Because your dog may feel the need to drink this fresh water at any given time, it’s important to make sure that it has its bowl of water refilled various times a day.
In addition to keeping it constantly full, it’s important to place your dog’s water bowl in an easily-accessible place. Even better, you can place several bowls of water in different locations around the house. However, make sure that you put them in places that get reliable shade throughout the day.
If you can afford it, you can get an automatic waterer for your dog. This type of device is easily attached to any garden hose or outdoor faucet, providing water to your dog on command. Typically, this type of waterer is activated when the dog licks a spigot attachment. You should take into account, however, that this may require some training.
Groom Your Dog
If your dog has a lot of hair, summer heat will affect it even more. For that reason, it’s always advisable to groom your dog before the summer, possibly going as far as to cut off the majority of its hair. Of course, it’s not recommended that you do this yourself unless you have experience cutting dog hair. Luckily, you can always hire a pet grooming service to do it for you. Apart from helping it keep cool, a good grooming session will have your pooch looking its absolute best during the entire summer.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool Outside?
If you have an outdoors type of dog, there are certain steps you should take in order to keep it nice and cool throughout the summer. As you will see, there are advantages and disadvantages to keeping your dog cool when it’s outside.
Take Your Dog to the Lake or Beach
If you live somewhere warm, going out for a walk when it’s somewhere breezy and near a body of water may be a good idea. Apart from being cooler than the inland, lakesides and beaches are spacious enough for your dog to play. In addition, these places tend to have cool breezes that will help keep your pooch (and yourself) nice and cool.
Offer Frozen Treats
If your dog is reluctant to drink as much water as it should, you can encourage it to do so by providing a fun and icy treat to play with. For example, you can put your dog’s favorite hard toy in a metal bowl, then fill it with water and freeze it. Once it’s frozen, it will be something like a big lollipop that your pooch will be immediately attracted to. Alternatively, you can buy a device that makes icy dog treats like the Doggie Cone.
Provide Ongoing Shade
Without a doubt, shadow is one of the most important factors when it comes to keeping your dog cool outside during hot summer days. If you leave your dog out in the sun where it can’t cover itself from the sun, it is likely that it will get sick or even die due to the direct sunlight.
Avoid Hot Ground
During hot summer days, the floor tends to get very hot. This is particularly true for outdoor floors that don’t have any shade for hours on end. If your dog tries to lay on a hot floor, it will probably get hotter or even burned. For that reason, it is essential that you try to provide as much shaded ground as possible. Furthermore, try to provide shaded paths for your dog to walk through as the heat could actually hurt the bottom of the animal’s paws.
Morning and Evening Walks
To keep your dog cool during hot summer days, make sure that you only walk your dog early in the morning and later in the evening. This way, you avoid the type of direct, scorching sunlight that could make the problem worse. Additionally, make sure to bring plenty of drinking water for your pooch.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in a Hot Apartment or House?
If your dog tends to spend a majority of its time indoors, there is little to no danger of it suffering damage due to direct sunlight. However, when indoors, your pet can still suffer from excessive heat during hot summer days. To improve the situation, follow these tips:
Air Conditioning and Fans
In general, one of the best ways to keep the temperature inside your home at healthy levels is to use electrical devices such as air conditioning and fans. It’s not really necessary to use these devices in the entire home, however. Having one or two rooms that your dog has access to temperature-controlled can really make a huge difference, particularly during the hotter hours of the day.
Avoid Warm Rooms
Whatever you do, avoid keeping your dog locked away in a room that may get too hot during the day. Naturally, dogs tend to move around during the day, often looking for rooms with a temperature that better suits their physicality. For that reason, keeping them in a warm room that they can’t get out of will only contribute to their despair and suffering. Ideally, you should let your dog move freely in a large section of your home. In addition, you should make sure to provide at least one room that has temperature control.
Marble or Tile Floor
Marble and tile floors can help keep your dog cool during hot summer days. Floors made of these materials offer a cool surface that your dog can lay on, resulting in a lowered internal body temperature.
Offer a Cool Bath
Undoubtedly, one of the best solutions for cooling down your dog quickly during a hot summer day is to offer a cool bath. Simply use cool water to wash your dog, make sure that the water is not too warm or too cold. Ideally, the water should be a few degrees colder than the temperature of the environment.
If you want to give your dog a cool bath, make sure that it enjoys it. One of the most important things you can do to achieve this is not to force it upon the animal. Instead, calmly show the dog how good the cool water feels on its body, perhaps by pouring a small amount on the back of its neck. Eventually, the pooch will realize that cool water is a solution to its overheating problem and cooperate with the bath.
Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car!
Without a doubt, one of the worst mistakes you can make with your dog is leaving it in a hot car. Even if it is for a few minutes only, leaving your dog in a hot car can have terrible consequences. Under normal circumstances, the average body temperature of a healthy adult dog ranges from 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in a small enclosure that is very hot, temperature can quickly rise above normal.
Because they regulate body heat through panting, dogs who are in an environment with excessive air temperatures will only make the problem worse as the minutes go by. If left in a hot car for a few minutes, a dog can develop symptoms of non-fever hyperthermia. After that, in a few minutes more, the dog becomes in serious risk of suffering a heat stroke. This could affect its vital functions and even lead to death.
As you can see, leaving your dog in a hot car is a terrible idea, and you shouldn’t consider it even when you don’t plan on taking long. As a matter of fact, this practice is so dangerous and deadly that many states have made it illegal. Additionally, it has caused activists and concerned citizens to create public awareness campaigns such as this pledge by the Human Society.
Signs of Overheating
As they overheat, dogs will show various signs that can help you know what is going on. Take a look at the following list in order to find out what they are.
• Excessive Panting: One of the first signs that your dog is getting too hot is excessive panting. If your dog is breathing as if it just ran for a long time even though it hasn’t, the panting should be considered excessive and a sign of overheating.
• Excessive Drooling: Without a doubt, some dogs drool more than others. However, if your dog is drooling more than normal, it may be a sign of overheating. This is particularly true when the saliva that leaves its body is thick and sticky.
• Fast and Irregular Heartbeat: Normally, your dog should have a slow and steady heart rate. In high temperatures, however, the heartbeat of a dog will go up in an effort to dissipate heat through vasodilation.
• Rapid Breathing: If your dog suddenly switches from excessive panting to deep, noisy and rapid breathing, it may be a sign that its temperature is rapidly going into dangerous territories. When overheated, dogs will sometimes try to get oxygen into their system in order to relieve their system.
• Lethargic Behavior: After the previously described symptoms, dogs may become lethargic due to excessive heat. If your dog is napping too much or having trouble moving, it may be due to overheating.
• Disorientation: Apart from becoming lethargic, dogs who are suffering from overheating may become disoriented. As a result, they may stumble when walking. Additionally, they may become unaware of their surroundings and somewhat unresponsive.
• Vomiting/Diarrhea: Sometimes, overheating can cause dogs to become dehydrated quickly and violently. This, in turn, may cause gastrointestinal problems that will often result in severe diarrhea and even vomiting. In extreme cases, diarrhea and vomit may show some traces of blood.
• Collapse: Without a doubt, one of the most alarming signs of overheating in dogs is collapsing. If your dog collapses due to overheating, it is almost surely severely dehydrated and overheated. Additionally, it may have other signs of neurological distress such as convulsions. At this point, the overheating has become an emergency and you should immediately take your dog to a veterinarian emergency room.
Without a doubt, summertime heat can cause terrible discomfort and even harm to your dog. For that reason, it is not to be taken lightly. Hopefully, the information provided in this article will help you keep your dog cool, healthy and happy during those scorching summer days.