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We all love to stay cool in summer and that includes our furry friends too!
As temperatures rise it’s important to know how to keep your dog comfortable, cool, and safe on a hot summer’s day.
A sure way of telling that your dog may be getting a little hot and bothered by the heat is through their breathing. While we, as humans, sweat to cool down, dogs cool themselves down by panting.
So, we’ve compiled a list of 8 tips to keep your dog cool in summer that will help your dog beat the heat once and for all!
1. Provide plenty of fresh drinking water
Whether you’re at the beach or sitting in your backyard, you should always have plenty of fresh, cold water for your dog.
Before you go on a walk you can fill and then freeze a dog bowl or ice cream container with a quarter of water. Once the bowl is frozen you can fill the rest up with water. This will make the water on the top nice and cool while the ice slowly melts at the bottom.
Most importantly you’ll want to make sure you have enough water to last the whole trip.
A great tip is to make sure you always carry small amounts of water and frozen dog treats (frozen Lickimats, treats in a Kong or a Chilly Penguin). These can be given to your dog every 15 to 20 minutes during activity!
2. Water to play in
Playing in water can help to lower a dog’s body temperature in the scorching summer heat. Your dog only needs to be in enough water to get their paws and belly wet and should be supervised if they swim in deeper water.
A wet dog is a cool dog and involving some water play with your dog under sprinklers, in pools or lakes can all be fun and cool for you and more importantly your dog!
Driving with pets to places with shallow, cool water isn’t only a great summer activity but will also help to keep your dog cool too.
3. Shade and a cool spot to lie down
Dogs will instinctively look for the coolest spot to lie down. And if there isn’t one you can create shade by using portable sun shades, patio umbrellas and pop-up canopies. You could string up a tarp or cloth if needed too!
If you’re looking for something smaller than a shaded pet bed maybe your best option. They’ll provide reliable shade for your dog in the summertime and are elevated off the ground to help with air circulation and keeping them cool.
Another option may be a cooling bed. This type of bed comes in a range of different sizes and is made from heavy-duty plastic. The bed is filled with a cooling gel and is placed flat on the ground. This type of bed is perfect for older dogs or dogs with arthritis.
4. An ice pack, cooling mat or wet towel to lay on
This tip is as simple as it sounds. Offering an ice pack, cooling mat or a wet towel to your pet will help to lower their body temperature when it’s hot outside.
Use an ice pack wrapped in a blanket to put in your dog’s bed or place of rest to help your dog cool down and relax on a hot summer’s day.
Cooling mats can be filled with cold tap water, ice packs that you may have to freeze overnight or cooling gel. They work best when laid on the ground for your dog to sit on.
While wet towels work best when they’re drenched in cool water or draped over your dog. This even works for dogs who have longer coats!
5. Use a cooling collar or vest
Cooling collars and vests are similar to cooling mats. They are filled with a special cooling gel and are designed to keep your dog’s body cool for up to a few hours.
There are also cooling vests that aim to move heat from your dog’s body to the environment. These types of coats should be regularly doused in water and as the water evaporates this should help to cool down your dog.
Cooling vests are a great option when walking or hiking with dogs on warmer days. However, it’s still important that you take all necessary precautions when keeping your dog cool on very hot days.
6. Avoid the midday heat
Your best option at this time of day is to stay indoors. It may depend on where you live but temperatures will typically be cooler in the early morning or late afternoon.
This is why early morning or evening playtimes, walks and time spent outside will help you to avoid the midday heat whilst still giving your dog enough exercise throughout the day.
While this tip may require you to adjust your routine ever so slightly this small change can have a huge impact on ensuring the safety of your dog when it’s hot outside.
7. Avoid exercising on hot days
Make sure to assess the heat and humidity each day before taking your dog out for an activity. If it’s hot, 30C with high humidity then it’s best that you avoid any form of exercise with your dog on this type of day.
Even on a cooler day, you should also remember to check the temperature of the pavement before walking your dog. Asphalt can specifically get extremely hot in direct sun!
A great way to check if the ground is too hot for your dog is by using your hand. If it’s too hot for your hand then it’ll be too hot for your dog’s bare feet.
While a walk on a hot day may not seem like much it can put your dog at a greater risk of heatstroke. Overweight dogs and dogs with certain medical conditions are also at a larger risk.
8. Never leave your dog in a parked car
Even on cooler days, the temperature inside a car can rise dangerously high!
If you’re looking to take your dog on a road trip or start travelling with pets in the car this summer then here are some handy tips:
- Keep the air conditioning on when driving with your dog and/or when you are in a parked car with your dog
- Don’t park in direct sunlight with your dog in the car
- Keep an eye on your dog if they start to show signs of heatstroke i.e. panting, salivating, discomfort, or disorientation
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 Purina, 2018, How to Keep Dogs Cool in Summer