Beat the Heat – How to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer
The time for lolling tongues is upon us! With summer comes an increase in temperature and exposure to the sun – for your dog as well. Although we are able to drink something cold, take off a layer of clothing, or sweat it out, cooling down is not the same when it comes to your dog’s temperature. Dogs are unable to sweat through their bodies like humans (which cool us down). Instead, dogs sweat through their paws and pant. That means that their fur-covered bodies feel the full brunt of the sun’s rays. Protect your dog this summer by keeping him cool on those hot days. Here are some tips on how to beat the heat and enjoy a happy and healthy summer with your dog!
Give Your Dog a Hair Cut
For dogs with long and thick hair, summer can be a difficult time for them. They lay around more often because any exercise causes them to overheat (and you can expect a burst of energy in the cooler evenings). When the heat is high, take your dog to the barber and give him a trim/shave. Removing excess hair can cool your dog down, making his skin more accessible to the air. If you aren’t willing to shave your dog’s beautiful coat down short, consider shaving his belly. Dogs cool off best through their paws and stomachs, so by shaving stomach hair your dog will be able to cool off easier. It is an area that will bring down your dog’s temperature faster and still leave him looking show-dog ready!
Cool Off Their Paws
Because dogs sweat through their paws and stand on them all day, it is an important area to focus on. Simply wiping her paws with a cool damp cloth can reduce the heat for her. Even better? Take your dog to a river or purchase a kiddy pool and let her soak in it. Most dogs love the water during the summer and even having those few inches in a shallow pool will reduce your dog’s temperature and make her as happy as ever! Another idea to keep your dog’s paws cool is to purchase puppy boots. These can help when taking your dog outside on walks, reducing the contact with hot asphalt and other surfaces that may heat up.
Get Your Dog a Cooling Pad
Just as our dogs seek cold floors to lie on in the summer, provide a bed that will reduce your dog’s temperature. These unique inventions consist of a gel formula that when laid upon, react with your dog’s weight and heat making the mat cool. There are also cooling mats that require water or electricity as well, but will require more attention. Cooling pads are great for big dogs with lots of fur as it can cool them down from the belly up! If you don’t want to invest in something that fancy, simply putting down a wet towel can keep his stomach cool.
Reduce the Outdoor Exercises
When the temperature is high outside, it is a good idea to reduce the amount of outdoor exercise you give your dog – or at least change the time of day for it. With excess movement in addition to the sun’s heat, your dog’s temperature can increase dramatically. Choose to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when the sun is at its lowest. This will be cooler for your dog’s paws on the pavement and will reduce the amount of heat she has to withstand. During the day, find activities you can do inside the house to stay active. Take her to the basement and play fetch, give your dog mind exercises that will tire her out, or find her a bone or toy to chew to get rid of that excess energy.
NEVER Leave Your Dog in the Parked Car
Although it was common years ago to leave your dog in the car while you ran into the store, this is no longer acceptable. A car is a very dangerous place for a dog. The lack of air and confined space quickly becomes a heating box. Your dog is not able to sweat to cool himself down and is left panting. Your dog’s temperature will rise quicker than your own, and it can have serious, even deadly, effects. In many cases, dogs have died because they were left in the car too long. Even a few minutes can be too long for your pup on a hot day and can lead to brain damage. Not only does it harm your dog, but in many provinces, there are laws against it. Do the best thing you can for your pup and leave them at home when you go to run errands!
In addition to these tips to help keep your dog cool, always be sure that your pooch has access to cold, fresh drinking water. Keep an eye on her water dish throughout the day, as dogs will drink more on hot days. Use these tips to beat the heat and enjoy a happy, healthy dog!