How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer
For once were blessed with beautiful weather over a bank holiday weekend (pigs really do fly), and it’s only going to get warmer! What if you had to spend your summer holidays wearing a thick fur coat, though? It can be tough to keep dogs cool in warm weather, and heatstroke can be fatal. Read on for our top tips to keep your dog cool in summer so we can all enjoy the sun – while it’s here!
There’s nothing like a refreshing drink on a hot day, right? A nice cold bowl of water will help cool your dog’s internal temperature and keeps them hydrated. Make sure your pup always has access to a bowl of water and keep it in a shaded spot so it doesn’t get too hot. You can also add crushed ice to their water – cubes can pose a choking hazard.
If you’re taking your dog out for the day, it’s crucial to make sure they get enough to drink. Lots of service stations have water bowls for dogs now, but keeping a travel water bottle on hand is a good idea too.
Of course, your dog isn’t just limited to drinking water to keep cool. They’ll love splashing around in it, too! Most dogs will gladly take the opportunity for a dip in a pool or the sea – just make sure they’re supervised – but if that’s not an option, why not fill a paddling pool in your garden for them to play in?
DO NOT: Pour water over your dog! Pouring water over your dog and then staying out in the heat will weigh down their coat and prevents the heat from escaping.
Dress for the Weather
You might have a coat to pop on your dog during winter walks – but how about one for summer? The DRY® Cooling Vest by Suitical uses the power of water evaporation to cool your dog up to 15°C below the ambient temperature. Filling it once can last up to three days and there’s no refrigeration required or gels or chemicals involved.
Ever walked on a hot pavement with bare feet (or had the soles of your sandals melt to it, as once happened to me in France?) The ground gets much hotter than the air and risks burning your pet’s paws. A set of rubber paw protectors from PAWZ will protect their sensitive pads from being scorched. Plus, they look delightfully silly, which is always a plus.
DO NOT: Muzzle your dog! Did you know dogs only have sweat glands in their paws? This means that sweating doesn’t play a big role in keeping them cool, unlike for humans. Instead, they regulate their body heat by panting, which a traditional muzzle will prevent them from doing. Either forgo the muzzle in hot weather or switch to a Baskerville Muzzle that allows unrestricted panting and breathing.
Play in the Shade
Your dog’s activity needs don’t change just because it’s summer, but long walks in the summer heat risk your dog overheating or getting sunburnt. A supervised play session in a cool, shaded area is a safe way to burn off excess energy – just put a stop to it if your dog is getting too hot. Incorporate a frozen dog toy – like a CHUCKIT! Hydrofreeze or KONG Classic filled with frozen peanut butter – to keep them entertained and cool for hours.
DO NOT: Walk your dog in the midday sun! The sun is at its hottest between 12pm-3pm, so do your pup a favour and let them rest inside instead. Switch to shorter walks at cooler times of the day, like early in the morning or evening.
A Cool Place To Lie Down
Most dogs will instinctively try to find somewhere cool to rest on a hot day. You can make the process easier for them with a cooling mattress. They’re designed to be used alone or in your dog’s crate, bed, or while travelling. They work alone without ice packs or electricity, but you can pop yours in the fridge too for extra effect.
If you crate your dog, make sure the crate is placed somewhere cool, and consider using a clip-on crate fan too.
DO NOT: Leave your dog in a car! It only takes a few minutes for a car to heat up to dangerous temperatures, even if it doesn’t feel that warm outside. Parked in 21°C heat, the inside of a car will heat up to 45°C in just an hour – the dashboard and seats will be even hotter. And no, parking in the shade doesn’t make a difference. Imagine how frightening that is for a dog, unable to escape! Do them a favour and take them into the shop with you – or just leave them at home.
Aside from panting, one of a dog’s main defenses against the summer heat is shedding! They lose most of their winter coat during the spring to allow a lighter summer coat to grow in, but you can still help to keep them cool through summer with regular brushing to remove excess hair. A Pet Teezer De-Shedding brush reaches right through to the undercoat to pick up all your dog’s loose hairs.
DO NOT: Shave double-coated dogs! You might think your Husky or Malamute’s thick coat would be unbearable in the sun, but their long coats are better suited to the heat than you'd expect. In summer, they lose most of the dense undercoat that keeps them warm in winter, leaving them with just the longer outer hairs that allow air to circulate. Shaving them means their undercoat will grow back in at the same time as the outer, keeping hot air close to their skin. Plus, it’ll ruin their coat. This applies to other breeds too, like Golden Retrievers and Border Collies.
Keep these tips in mind and watch out for heatstroke to make sure your furry friends enjoy the summer weather just as much as you!