How to Keep Dogs Cool in Hot Weather
Its important to keep your dogs cool in the summer heat as dogs can quickly develop heat stroke and die within minutes if due attention isn’t paid. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin like humans do, so they rely on their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature – this means that dogs with shorter noses like pugs are more likely to get heat stroke from just running around. Heatstroke can be seen in dogs when they are excessively panting, dribbling, and even collapsing. If you believe a dog has heatstroke you should move them to a cool place, contact a vet and wet their coat with cool water.
Constant Access to Fresh Water
Making sure your dog has access to clean water at all times is vital – even during walks. Ideally a large bowl should be filled to the brim with fresh water that’s changed at least daily and water should be carried around with a travel bowl during walks. If you spot signs of your dog over-heating during a walk – including heavy panting and loss of energy – stop and find shade for your dog, also giving them water.
Walk Dogs during Cooler Hours
A general rule to live by before deciding if you should take your dog on a walk or not – if you can’t hold your hand against the pavement for more than 5 seconds its too hot for your dog to walk. Many don’t realise how important it is to check first, without doing so could result in the paw pads blistering, making it painful to walk. Avoiding taking your dog out when the sun is at its strongest (around 11am til 3pm) is a good way of preventing your dog from overheating as it’ll be cooler. If it can’t be avoided, dog boots are available for them to wear to prevent their paws from blistering from the heat.
Walking during cooler hours also helps prevent dogs getting sunburn. Pale-coloured dogs are susceptible to sunburn, especially their ears, nose and areas where the fur is thinner. Another prevention is to use non-toxic suncream (preferably specific to dogs) or to put a t-shirt on the dog to cover their vulnerable areas.
Pools and Dogs Cool Mats
Pools, empty ceramic baths, and cool mats are effective ways of cooling dogs down once they’re hot – with a cool mat having been manufactured to keep dogs cool in the summer to give them relief when they need it as it doesn’t need electricity and is easy to use. Cool mats are particularly good because they don’t contain any toxic materials or chemicals – unlike some cool beds.
Pools, lakes, and other large bodies of water are good up to a limit. Salt water can make dogs sick and some kind of algae (such a blue-green algae) are toxic to dogs, so it’s best to keep them supervised when in water – even if its to make sure they don’t drown.
Keeping Their Fur Well-Groomed
Do not shave your dogs fur off for the summer – whilst dogs fur serves to keep them warm in the winter it also protects them from the heat in the summer. This means that shaving all the fur off a dog exposes them to heat that they wouldn’t have been before, making them more likely to overheat and get heatstroke. A tangle-free and well-groomed coat will help to protect their skin from sunburn as well as keeping the dogs cool, but if in doubt consult your local groomers.
Do Not Leave a Dog Unsupervised in A Car
Under no circumstances should a dog be left alone in a car – even if its just for a moment. Temperature can quickly increase in a stationary car, even if it’s reasonably cool outside, putting your dog at risk of heat stroke and death. During hotter days, air conditioning should be on with the windows shut to ensure the car is cool throughout – not just at the front. A dog cool mat could also be used for travel to help keep them cool.