How to Keep your Dog Cool

How Hot is Too Hot?

Summer is a great time to take our dogs with us for a variety of exciting excursions, from camping and hiking, to boating and swimming.  With a few simple precautions, we can make great memories and keep our pets safe.

How to keep your dog cool in the summer heat

Courtesy of Gloria/Flickr

Because dogs don’t sweat like humans, it can be difficult to keep your dog cool.  Dogs only sweat through the pads on their feet and release the heat in their bodies primarily through panting.  This can make hot pavement even more dangerous for dogs.

  • When walking your dog in the summer, try to walk them early in the morning before the pavement gets hot – if the pavement is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your dog’s.
  • Dogs should be kept inside in air conditioning whenever possible, but if your dog must be left outside, ensure adequate shade, take into account the movement of the sun, and provide adequate water.  A sprinkler or kids’ pool with a couple inches of water can be a good way to help a dog cool down.
  • When hiking, ensure plenty of shade, water breaks, and avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day.
  • Pets can get sunburned too – if your pet has a thin coat or light-colored fur, apply a waterproof kids’ sunscreen at least to their noses, ears, and backs.

Ways to keep your dog cool if they become too hot:

  • Apply cool water to your dog either by soaking the dog in a kids’ pool or bathtub, applying water soaked towels, or using a water hose.
  • Ensure an adequate supply of drinking water, but don’t try to force your dog to drink, instead try running cool water over your dog’s tongue.

If you suspect your dog has overheated or is dehydrated, they may be in danger of a heat stroke, it’s important to contact your dog’s veterinarian or an emergency clinic right away. Heat stroke can be deadly, so watch for the following symptoms:

  • Heavier than usual panting
  • Tongue and gums may appear bright red and become tacky, and saliva may thicken
  • Skin may become less elastic
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weakness, muscle tremors, and seizures
  • If your dog vomits, becomes unsteady, or refuses to move, he may be getting worse
  • Gray or blue lips and membranes may indicate your dog is having a heat stroke

Other tips for a safe summer with your pet:

  • Bring your pet’s vaccination records – some parks may require proof of a rabies vaccination before permitting your dog into the park
  • Bring a pet first aid kit – you never know what trouble your furry friend may find
  • Locate the nearest emergency clinic when travelling with your pet
  • If you’re camping or hiking in an area with any venomous pests (like rattlesnakes) consult your pet’s veterinarian about the proper precautions to take and any additions to your first aid kit the veterinarian might recommend
  • When swimming with your dog, be careful not to let him drink too much pool water – the chemicals can cause an upset stomach
  • Make sure flea and tick prevention and heartworm medication are up-to-date
  • Take along plenty of medication if your dog has any chronic ailments
  • Double-check that your dog has proper identification or talk to your dog’s veterinarian about microchipping

Whenever you’re in doubt about the best summer care for your pet, contact your pet’s veterinarian – different locales can necessitate different precautions, and your veterinary clinic can offer great advice.

What are your tips for keeping dogs cool in the summer. Leave us a comment below. Thank you.