As the summer sun shines on and you and your dog spend more time outside, it’s so important to do everything we can as pet parents to keep our furry friends feeling cool and comfortable. According to Blue Cross, keeping your dog cool can help prevent heatstroke because, unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin. Your dog regulates their body temperature through their paw pads and nose and relies on panting to release heat. We’ve put together this handy pet safety guide to give you advice on how to keep dogs cool during the summer.
Why It’s Important to Keep Your Dog Cool During the Summer
Just like you want to make sure you’re staying cool and comfortable this summer, so does your dog. In fact, according to the Kennel Club, dogs are actually more at risk for heatstroke than we are. Heatstroke is a serious condition to look out for, which can cause your dog’s internal temperature to rise and can cause damage and even lead to organ failure. That being said, you don’t need to be afraid of bringing your dog outside this summer. Instead, we’ll look at the ways to keep your dog cool, understand how they regulate their body temperature and the signs of heat-related illness.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
While it may be intimidating to bring a dog outside knowing all the risks that come with staying outdoors for too long, don’t fret. The key is to understand what heat exhaustion looks like and what to do if it looks like your dog is getting overheated. Watch out for key signs like excessive panting, drooling or dry and pale gums.
1. Identifying a Higher-Risk Dog
Dogs with longer and thicker hair tend to be at a higher risk for heat exhaustion due to their heavy coats. Help prevent heat exhaustion by regularly grooming your dog with a deshedder. Certain dog breeds, like the brachycephalic breeds, including bulldogs and pugs, have extra difficulty breathing in humid conditions. Adjust their exercise routine to avoid excessive strain on their breathing.
2. Steps to Take to Cool Down an Overheated Dog
Take immediate action if you suspect your dog has heat exhaustion. If you’re outside, move your dog to a cool and shaded area and provide them with fresh water. Wet their body with cool but not cold water so you can help them cool down. According to the AKC, water that’s too cold can actually constrict the surface blood vessels in their skin.
3. Seeking Veterinary Assistance
Don’t be afraid to give your vet a call if you’re not sure what to do if it appears your dog is overheating. Your vet can provide you with guidance on the phone or may advise you to bring them in or to the nearest animal hospital. Providing your dog with proper attention will help your dog’s overall well-being and prevent any potential further complications.
The Importance of Clean and Fresh Water
Both you and your pup need to stay hydrated during the hot summer months. Your dog needs to stay properly hydrated for their overall well-being, and water will help them regulate their body temperature. Providing your dog with clean and fresh water also encourages healthier habits that continue even after the season ends.
1. Why Your Dog Needs Clean and Fresh Water
Dehydration can occur quickly in dogs, especially when they’re engaging in physical or outdoor activities. Providing them with fresh water and adequate water intake will help them stay cool and prevent heat-related illnesses. In addition to heat-related complications, giving your dog fresh water will help with their digestion and urinary health. True Care Veterinary notes that there are plenty of benefits to providing your pet with fresh water, like lubricating their joints and improving cognitive function — and especially regulating their body temperature during those hot summer days!
2. Strategies to Encourage Your Dog to Stay Hydrated
Ensure you regularly check and refill your dog’s bowl at home. If you’re headed outdoors, carry water with you and consider bringing a portable and collapsible water bowl.
Adjusting Your Dog’s Exercise Routine
There are plenty of reasons why you should adjust your dog’s exercise routine during the summer. For one, dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke, so while you may enjoy that afternoon run in the sun, your dog can quickly become dehydrated or burn their paws. To help your dog still stay active during the summer, don’t exercise during the peak heat hours. Instead, exercise during cooler times of the day, like the early morning or late afternoon. Consider going for an evening walk instead.
Incorporating Indoor Exercise
By allowing your dog to play more inside, you’ll give them a break from the heat while stimulating their minds. There are plenty of indoor options to keep your pup entertained, like interactive treat puzzles or playing hide and seek with their favorite toy. If your dog likes to run in the park or play fetch, you can create a safe space for your dog indoors by playing fetch and letting them run around with a ball or soft, lightweight toy.
Fun Indoor Summer Activities for Your Dog
During those awfully hot summer days or those rainy afternoons when you’re stuck inside, you can keep your dog preoccupied by planning some fun indoor activities. You may be surprised at what indoor games you already have with household items you own at home. We’ll look at DIY indoor games you can play with your dog, along with the benefits of treat puzzles. When you’re stuck indoors with your pup, take it as an opportunity to really bond with your dog and consider obedience training them or getting into a grooming routine with them.
1. Indoor Games
While you may just think of a kiddie pool as a little pool for kids, you can use that same kiddie pool and fill it up with balls to make it a ball pit for your dog. To make it extra challenging for your dog to play around, sprinkle treats on top of the balls. As they dive into the pool and try to get their paws on the delicious snacks, the balls will move around, and so will the treats. It’ll be so rewarding for your dog to get in on the action.
2. Treat Puzzles
Make your dog a treat burrito puzzle by laying out a flat towel and then scattering treats all over the surface. Then, roll up the towel slowly to keep the treats in place and serve the towel burrito to your dog. They’ll be preoccupied for a while as they go digging for treats in the towel. In addition to helping your dog have a fun and delicious time, treat puzzles offer plenty of benefits for your dog’s mental and physical health, like alleviating boredom, providing extra physical activity and calming anxiety.
3. Obedience Training and Grooming
If you’re going to be stuck inside with your dog, consider using this time to teach your dog some basic commands like sit, drop and stay. Obedience training will help your dog’s temperament and alleviate potential behavioral problems. Consider hiring a professional trainer if you’d like another set of eyes and hands to help out with training your dog. If your dog doesn’t sit still for grooming sessions, you may need to teach them to “stay” or “sit.” Use this opportunity to bond with your pet and get them used to routine grooming with a dog hair remover brush.
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Fun Outdoor Summer Activities for Your Dog
The key to planning fun and safe outdoor activities for your dog is to prioritize their well-being over anything else. To help them stay safe, make sure your dog stays hydrated. Stay away from hot pavements (if you put your hand on the pavement and it feels hot to your touch, it’s too hot for your dog!) and look out for signs of overheating or discomfort in your dog. Otherwise, here are some fun outdoor activities that will keep your dog cool and comfortable during the summer.
1. Water Play
By bringing your dog to a dog-friendly beach, they’ll be able to play fetch in the water or go swimming in the ocean without you having to worry about breaking any beach rules. During certain times of the year, even beaches that aren’t normally dog-friendly may allow dogs when it’s not the peak tourist time. Be sure to look up the rules and follow leash regulations. You don’t even have to bring your dog to the beach to get them into water play. You can set up a doggie pool or sprinkler in your backyard for them to splash around in and cool off from the summer heat.
2. Dog Parks
Encourage your dog to socialize by visiting a dog park where they can run around off-leash with other dogs in a safe environment. They’ll love hanging out with their other four-legged friends, and you’ll have a chance to play with them with toys like a flying disc or rope. There’s nothing quite like a little game of tug-of-war in an open grassy field.
3. Camping Adventures
If you’re looking for an activity that will keep you and your dog busy all day, try a day hike on a mountain. You may even want to try overnight camping with your dog. Check out mountains in your area and look for campground rules about camping with your dog. The trick to hiking during the summer is to choose shaded routes and bring enough water for you and your dog. They’ll love sniffing around the woods and exploring all the sights and sounds.
Cooling Accessories for Your Dog
For extra comfort and safety, get your furry companion some cooling accessories like a vest or bandana. From cooling mats to that ice pack you have sitting in your freezer, any of these cool accessories can help provide your dog with relief from the sweltering heat. They’ll help minimize the possibility of heat-related ailments and the risk of dehydration. Let’s look at a few accessories that your dog will love to use this summer.
1. Cooling Vests and Bandanas
Cooling vests and bandanas are specially designed for dogs to help them regulate their temperature and keep them cool when it’s hot outside. They’re usually made from breathable and lightweight materials to help moisture evaporate. Some even have built-in water reservoirs or ice-pack pockets to help your dog stay hydrated. To ensure your dog looks their best in their cool new vest or bandana, give them a little fur makeover with the best pet hair remover. This pet hair remover not only grooms your dog, but it also removes excess hair from their coat, your furniture, clothing and more!
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2. Cooling Mats and Pads
If your dog would rather not wear a vest or bandana, you can provide them with a cooling mat or pad instead. By offering your pup a constantly cool surface, the cooling mat or pad will help regulate your dog’s body temperature and reduce the risk of overheating. They’re a portable and versatile option, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
3. Damp Towels and Ice Packs
When you’re in a pinch, a damp towel or an ice pack will do just fine. Place a damp towel on your dog’s body to help them lower their body temperature as a quick cooldown. You can use an icepack to target specific areas on your dog, like their neck or armpits, to effectively draw heat away from their bodies.
By following these tips, your dog is one step closer to having a cool and relaxing summer. Whether they enjoy swimming on a lake, visiting a dog friendly-beach or just taking a late afternoon walk instead of taking one in the middle of the day, you’re sure to find the perfect indoor and outdoor activities to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer. As an easy way to bond with your pet indoors, use our portable pet hair remover that can go with you anywhere, including your car or during your travels, like your summer vacation. That portable pet hair remover removes excess dog fur in a pinch and is quick to stash away once you’re done using it.