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Yay – it’s summer! Many of us may love hot sunny days and balmy evenings, but that’s not the case for our dogs. Dogs typically feel miserable in the heat and are at risk of heatstroke. Keeping your dog cool – particularly for certain breeds – can be a challenge. We’ve put together 8 tips to help keep a hot dog cool during the hottest summer weather.
Keep the drinks coming
Giving your dog access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day is essential. Make sure there is an even more plentiful supply of water available than usual and that you have water with you on walks.
Change up your exercise routine
The early morning or late at night tend to be the coolest times of the day, so become the best times to go for a walk. Reducing the length and the speed of the walks if the temperatures are high is advisable too. Take extra care if walking on sidewalks, as the temperature can burn a dog’s paws and the heat radiating off tarmac or cement can be unbearable. Grassy areas tend to be cooler and more comfortable under foot and paw.
Cool house, cooler dog
Keep your home as cool as possible during the day. Close blinds and curtains and set ceiling fans to run anti-clockwise at a slightly higher speed than normal. Tiled floors can provide some cool relief so your dog may prefer to lie down on tile rather than in his usual favorite area in the house. If you don’t have tile, using a wet towel that he can lie on can give a similar cooling effect.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
Temperatures inside a vehicle can soar in a matter of minutes. Never leave a dog unattended in a car! To transport your dog comfortably, use a vehicle-specific trunk liner such as the Travall CargoMat and ditch the blankets until cooler days arrive.
Limit outside exposure
When your dog goes out to the back yard, make sure there are shaded areas and that there is still access to plenty of water. Providing some umbrellas for shade is a good option to protect from sunburn and from heat. If your area is experiencing high temperatures and high humidity, keep your dog inside. Humidity will stop a hot dog from being able to cool himself off sufficiently when he pants.
Provide dog-appropriate popsicles
Dogs can enjoy some cooling ice treats too. Even if you just add ice cubes made from water to the drinking bowl, your dog will appreciate it. Or why not freeze some chicken broth for a super easy dog popsicle?
Keep your dog well groomed
For double-coated dogs, the top layer of hair can protect from heat and sunburn, while the hair underneath can act as the dog’s cooling system. Make sure to brush regularly as matted dog hair will interfere with this cooling process. Talk to a groomer about whether trimming your dog’s fur can help make your dog more comfortable – it doesn’t work for all breeds but may be appropriate for your dog’s breed.
Provide a splash zone
If your dog likes to play in water, providing a little puppy pool in the backyard when you are there to supervise can be a fun way of keeping a hot dog cool. If you don’t have a pool you could gently spray him with the garden hose.
Pay closer attention to your dog during warmer weather and if you notice anything different in the way your dog is behaving or showing symptoms of heatstroke, contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice.
Do you have any tips on what helps your dog stay cool during hot weather? We’d love to hear about them.
Information given in this article is not a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional. Please consult your veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.