Summer is officially here – and so are higher temperatures. As much as we welcome the sun and fun, it’s important to remember that the rising temperatures can have a major effect on your dog’s health. Canines can easily get overheated because the only ways they release heat is by panting and through a limited number of sweat glands between their toes. Here is a list of ways to keep your dog cool and hydrated so that they can enjoy summer as much as you do.
Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle. On a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can climb up to 115 degrees within an hour. Even with the windows down, a dog can easily overheat if left in these conditions.
Avoid walking on hot surfaces like asphalt. Your pup’s paws can be as sensitive as the soles of your feet. If the asphalt’s too hot for you to walk on, chances are it’s too hot for your pup too. On a walk, try to alternate between asphalt, sidewalk, and grass so that your dog’s delicate paws don’t get overheated. If your dog is particularly sensitive, cover his paws with pet booties so he can stroll comfortably.
Supply lots of fresh, clean water. Some dogs get a bit finicky with their water if there’s an odd scent in the bowl or if it’s been warming up in the sun for a while. Keeping a fresh, clean supply of H2O in your dog’s dish will ensure that your pup drinks more often and stays hydrated.
Bring fresh water for your dog when you go out. Always grab a portable bowl and water bottle on your way out the door, so that your pup can drink up even when you’re both on the go.
If it’s > 85 degrees, leave your dog at home. Going to the beach and sitting out all day in the sun is something we humans enjoy, but it can leave pooches severely dehydrated. Even if you feel like the heat is bearable, remember, when dogs are exposed to moderately high temperatures over an extended period of time, their bodies might be unable to cool down.
Don’t overexercise pets. Dogs don’t always know their own limits. If you can tell your dog is breathing more rapidly or having some trouble chasing after a ball, slow things down and allow him to cool off. Outdoor activities are great but, instead of playing in the blazing afternoon sun, try tossing a ball around as the sun is setting.
Get him a cooling vest. If it’s really warm, a cooling vest with cold packs built into the sides will make sure your dog stays comfortable and cool even on a long hike.
Apply sunscreen to your dog’s fur and skin. Despite their furry coats, dogs can still be exposed to and damaged by UV rays. Coating their fur and skin in doggy UV protectant sunblock will help prevent burns and keep them healthy.
Let your dog stand in a cool pool. Aside from panting, dogs cool down through the sweat glands in their paws. Having them stand in a cool pool of water or giving them a quick foot soak can help lower their body temperature. It can also be helpful to put some cold water on your dog’s chest. Never use ice to help your dog cool down, as it may lower their temperature too quickly and constrict blood flow, which will actually inhibit the body from cooling.
Walk during cooler times of the day. Simple adjustments to your dog’s daily routine can help keep them from being outside during the hottest hours. Switch walking times to early mornings and evenings; that way your pup still gets the exercise he needs with less risk of overheating.
Provide proper outdoor shelter. Does your dog like to spend his days in the yard? Whether it’s an awning that he can lie down under or a tree he can rest beneath, make sure your dog has a place to get out of direct sunlight.
Know the signs of dehydration. We put together a helpful guide to help you spot the signs; save it, pin it, and share it!
Make sure your dog always gets enough water, especially when it’s hot. If any of these symptoms persist, see your vet.