Summer is here and that means more time spent outside with our furry family members! But as the temperature rises and we humans start sweating and suffering from the heat, our beloved dogs are suffering as well, perhaps even more. Since every great pet owner will do anything for the happiness and comfort of their four-legged friends, it helps to know just how to help them beat the heat. It’s not always as obvious as just doing what humans do, so here are 10 tips on how to keep dogs cool in the summer heat.
1. Never Leave Pets Unattended Inside the Car During Summer
We’ve all gotten inside our car when it was sitting in the sun, barely able to breathe, it was so hot. In fact, even on a 30 degree day, the temperature can rise to 40 degrees within 10 minutes and 50 degrees within 30 minutes! This can cause catastrophic health issues for pets, even death. So if you can’t bring your pets where you’re going, leave them in the comfort of your cool home.
Dr. Marty Goldstein, with 45 years’ experience as a veterinarian says “...cooling mats are a great way to help keep your dog’s body temperature in a healthy range.” Especially if your home lacks air conditioning, a great way for your pet to stay cool will be with one of these products. At Pisces we are pleased to offer a number of cooling mats, wraps or vests, including this great Cool Bed from K & H that any dog is sure to love on hot summer days. Warning: you might want one for yourself!
3. Limit Exercise on Hot Days
Dogs don’t have the same ability to expel heat that we do, so heat stroke can hit them even quicker than it does humans. Vigorous exercise on a hot day should therefore be avoided, limiting walks or anything more to early morning or evening, when the sun isn’t as strong and the temperature is lower than the peak.
During summer exercise, regardless of the timing, beware the signs of heat stroke in your dog such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, seizure or unconsciousness. If your pet has heat stroke, move them to an air conditioned room, apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest and run cool water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Note: dogs with short snouts are at increased risk of heat stroke as they don’t breathe as efficiently as longer snout dogs.
You normally play fetch with your dog, well mix it up in the heat and play ice cube fetch! It engages their chasing and retrieving instinct while giving them a cool reward to lick and beat the heat. Here are some more ideas on fun cool down games for your pup!
5. Protect Their Paws
The bottoms of a dog’s feet and in between their toes are cooling mechanisms where they expel the most sweat, so if they get overheated, the rest of your pet’s body will too. Paws can burn within 35 seconds on a hot day. An easy test is to place your palm on the pavement for 5 seconds; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. A quick tip is to hose down the driveway or backyard patio if you and your buddy are just lounging around outside!
In the summertime, it is especially important for pets with longer or thicker fur to stay groomed, ensuring no build up of hair clogs their natural cooling system. Also make sure to de-shed the undercoat of dogs with longer, thicker hair. But note, this does not mean to shave your longer-hair dog; their undercoat insulates against heat and protects against sunburn.
7. Protect Light Skin and Hair Dogs from Harmful Sun
Just like humans, the fairer the skin or hair, the more susceptible to skin cancer your dog will be. Make sure not to clip their hair especially around the ears, and stay in the shade as much as possible when out during the peak sun hours.
8. Engage in Water Activities
A general rule of thumb is if it’s safe for smaller children, it’s safe for pets. Think, running through a sprinkler or cooling their feet in a foot pool. Hint: it’s also cooling for humans too! Just make sure your pet is outfitted with the right life jacket when necessary!
9. Stay Hydrated
This counts for both outdoors and indoors. It should be obvious not to exert your pet outside in the heat without frequent water breaks, but don’t neglect the same care if your dog is staying inside for long periods. Especially if your home gets hot, leave multiple water bowls around the house and make sure the water stays cool. Pisces sells a great pet Coolin’ Bowl to help ensure your dog’s water stays cool as long as possible on those sweltering summer days.
10. Make “Pupsicles”
We cool down with sugary popsicles, give your dog healthy “pupsicles”! Use chicken broth in normal popsicle containers and just put them in the freezer until they’re ready to be enjoyed by your furry friend. For an added treat, put a piece of meat in the middle so they have something extra to work for!
Here are a few recipes we love!
Summer is the best time for enjoying your close relationship with your best friend– more time outdoors equals more fun. By following the above tips you can avoid your dog overheating and encountering serious health issues. If your pet still manages to encounter serious heat injury, do not hesitate to see a veterinarian, as quick action could save your dog from serious consequences. However, Pisces Pet Emporium is your Calgary source of dog products and carries a number of curated products to help you keep your beloved pets stay cool and healthy in the summer heat, so don’t hesitate to order online or stop by and stock up!