7 Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer
I recently moved back to a very humid climate after living in a very dry state for many years. Needless to say, it's been an adjustment. I've lived in humid places before, but had forgotten how much hotter it feels when there's more moisture in the air. The same temperature can seem ten or more degrees warmer here! This scorching heat is a first for my pup. Here's what has worked to keep him cool and comfortable on warm summer days.
7 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool When It's Hot Outside
1. Walk him in the early morning.
2. Take water with you on walks.
3. Brush your dog regularly.
4. Keep him inside.
5. Always provide him with shade and water.
6. Consider using cooling pads.
7. Offer him cold treats.
1. Take Early Morning Walks
Where I live, in the summer it's already warm as early as 7:30 am. If I leave my house by 6 am or earlier, my pup can enjoy the cool morning air while getting a good walk. Besides the temperatures being lower, the sidewalk hasn't had a chance to heat up yet. The longer I wait, the hotter the pavement becomes, which can burn his paw pads.
I try to walk him at the same time each day for the sake of consistency. However, If I end up walking him a little later, I shorten the length of the walk and stay closer to home to avoid overheating him.
Tips for walking your dog once it's already hot outside:
- Walk in the shade as much as possible.
- Stay off streets and sidewalks as asphalt and concrete absorb heat rapidly and can damage your canine's paw pads. This is especially the case with black pavement, as dark colors absorb much more heat than lighter colors.
- Stop frequently and offer your dog water in shady areas, such as under a tree. You can also sprinkle cold water on his neck, under his legs and on his paw pads.
- Keep the walk short.
- Stay close to your home.
2. Carry Water With You
I carry a little plastic container in my bag for dog walks. I keep it filled with cold water for my pup. This way, he can drink straight out of it and I don't have to bother with transferring the water from a bottle.
Some people prefer collapsible dog bowls and they carry a water bottle separately.
Even though the temperature hasn't risen yet in the early morning, you never know what could happen while you're on your walk. Something unexpected could occur and you may end up being out much longer than planned. Being prepared with water is always a good precaution. Taking a bottle of water for yourself is also a good idea.
How to Comb Out a Dog's Undercoat
3. Comb or Brush Him Regularly
Brushing your canine regularly can be an effective way to help keep him cool, especially if he has a thick coat. My pup is a Pomeranian mix and, like many dogs, has an undercoat. This means he has two layers of fur, the outer one and the one beneath it. By brushing him, I help remove his undercoat so the air can better circulate around his skin to keep him cool.
To find the best brush or comb for your pup's coat, talk to your vet or a professional pet groomer and do some online research based on your canine's breed.
Keeping your dog's fur in check will help keep him cool and comfortable in the summer.
4. Keep Your Dog Indoors
Your furbaby will be most comfortable indoors in the summer. If you don't want him on your furniture, train him to stay on the floor. Provide him with an open crate or bed so he has a place of his own. Keep it in a quiet location, such as in the corner of a room, and away from the TV or windows. This will help him feel relaxed. Consider keeping his bed in the room where you most hang out, as he will likely want to be near you when you're home.
Never, ever leave your dog inside a car on a hot day. Even when parked in the shade with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a vehicle climbs rapidly and can cause death to your pup within minutes. Even for brief errands, it's always best to leave your canine home on very warm days.
Never leave a dog in a car when it's hot outside. Even if you park in the shade with the windows cracked, the temperature inside the vehicle can spike quickly enough to cause death to your dog within minutes.
5. Provide Shade and Cold Water
If you must keep your dog outdoors in the summer, try to avoid the hottest times of the day, usually between 10 am and 3 pm.
Minimize the time he is outside as much as possible.
Most importantly, always provide him with plenty of shade and cold water. Keep the water in a shady location so it doesn't warm up. Add ice cubes to his water throughout the day or replenish his bowl with fresh water to keep it cold.
6. Consider Cooling Mats
Self-cooling pads—also called mats—are effective ways to cool down your canine. Cooling pads are made of nylon and filled with gel. They work by absorbing your pet''s body heat and can prevent him from overheating and becoming dehydrated. The mats are activated by the pet's weight. Every area of the pad your dog comes in contact with can be cooled.
Cooling mats come in different sizes and can be purchased online and in most pet stores. If you have a small pup that moves around a lot, consider purchasing a larger size.
7. Give Him Cold Treats
My furbaby loves to lick hollow bones and toys filled with food. Kong toys are great because they're very durable so your dog is less likely to be able to destroy them, even if he's a hard chewer. In the summer, I often freeze stuffed bones and toys for several hours or overnight. They not only help my pup cool off but they also keep him occupied and help him release energy. He looks like he's in seventh heaven when he's licking one of these, especially when it has frozen peanut butter (his favorite filling).
Some foods to fill and freeze hollow bones and Kong toys with:
- peanut butter (as long as it doesn't contain xylitol, a common sweetener that is poisonous to dogs)
- unsweetened plain yogurt
- canned pumpkin
- mashed sweet potato
- mashed banana
- canned pet food
Talk to your vet before you give your pup any new foods to ensure he doesn't have any food allergies or intolerences. Always make sure the food you offer your pet is safe for him.
Some Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs
Other Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool
- Provide him with a small pool of water on your grass.
- Take him to a lake and let him splash around.
- Let him play under the sprinkler in your backyard.
- Take him into a pet store or to a hardware store that allows dogs.
- Put a cooling vest on him.
- Keep the air conditioner on.
Dogs Playing Under Sprinklers
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2020 Madeleine Clays