9 Hot Weather Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Cool
Summer is quickly approaching so we’re going to provide 9 hot weather tips to help keep your dog cool. It’s only spring now, but the temperatures are already getting to the low 90’s here in Texas. That’s a little too hot for our dogs.
The hot months of the year are especially difficult to get through for dogs. For the most part, they have very little tolerance to heat and when temperatures go above the mid-80’s it becomes too much for them to bear. The heat tolerance of your dog will also depend on the breed, age and health.
As such, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog has a way of coping with the intense heat.
How Dogs are Affected by Hot Weather
Canines are especially affected by high temperatures since the only way they can reduce their body temperature is by panting and through the few sweat glands located between the toes of their paws. As a result, dogs can easily suffer from heat exhaustion during hot days.
Dog breeds with short noses (brachycephalic) are most affected by the heat thus owners of such breeds should always be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion. Elderly, arthritic or obese dogs are also more prone to heat exhaustion. Dog breeds that have long or thick coats may also have a harder time keeping cool during hot weather.
Heat exhaustion can become fatal quickly and therefore it is important to be able to spot it as soon as possible.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
Here are a few signs that are clear indicators that your dog has heat exhaustion. Some of these are common and easy to identify, while other signs are more subtle:
- An increased rate of respiration
- Heavy Panting
- Sunken eyes
- Concentrated urine
- Thick saliva and dry gums
- Excess salivation
When it’s a hot day and you notice that your dog has any of these signs of heat exhaustion, you need to take action quickly to help your dog.
9 Hot Weather Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Cool
Let’s look at nine hot weather tips for dogs that should help keep your furry friend comfortable even in the most sizzling days of summer.
1. Have Your Dog Stand in a Pool of Cool Water
This is one of the first things that you can do to quickly lower your dog’s temperature. A cool pool of water is just the thing for your dog’s paws on a hot day. The sweat glands within the paws release heat much faster, thus regulating body temperature. If you see your dog panting more than usual, let it have a quick foot soak, and he will feel much better.
2. Pour Cold Water on the Chest
Pouring some cold water on your dog’s chest also helps. Even though cold water does help cool your dog down, ice, on the other hand, is not to be used in this situation. Ice can lower your dog’s temperature too quickly and prevent blood flow, which will be counterproductive.
3. Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car
Sounds like the kind of thing that you would probably remember on your own, right? Well, leaving your dog in the car is pretty much leaving him to fry. In general, the temperature inside a car can rise from 75 degrees to 115 degrees in less than an hour even when the windows are open. During those really hot summer months, the temperature in a vehicle can easily go up even faster.
As a matter of fact, it’s much better to leave your dog at home when the temperature starts to approach the 80 degree area. Or, you could do like us. When temperatures are in the low 70’s, our dogs don’t get to go on errands with us. Our dogs are big and one of them has a pretty long and heavy coat, so all of our guys can get too hot real fast.
4. Let Your Dog Have His “Dirt” Bed
While we may find ways to help our pets out during those hot days, they, too, have their own ways of coping with the heat. Dogs dig for many reasons such as giving birth, finding food, hiding and cooling off too! You can find a shady area in the yard where it’s okay for your dog to dig and create his own dirt bed.
5. Don’t let Your Dog Walk on Asphalt or Concrete
Dogs’ paws are delicate and shouldn’t be subjected to the type of heat that can be generated by pavement or sidewalks. Another important thing to remember is that dogs cool from the bottom up (paws to head). Hot sidewalks and pavement not only damage your dog’s paws, they will also cause your dog to get hotter.
It is recommended that you wait for the sun to go down to take your dog for a walk on a hot day. Of course, you’ll want to wait several hours after sundown since it takes a while for asphalt and concrete to cool off. A good way to determine if these are too hot for your dog is by placing the back of your hand on the sidewalk or pavement for 10 to 15 seconds. If it feels hot to you, then it’s too hot for your dog.
6. Come Up with Creative Ways to Help Your Dog Stay Cool
Dealing with high temperatures doesn’t need much, you just need to get a little creative at times.
If you’re like us, it never fails that your air conditioner breaks down during one of the hottest days of the summer. The odds of getting it fixed quickly are probably against you. Sometimes, you may have to wait up to a week or so before you can have cool air again. Not only are you going to get hot, but so is your dog.
There are several things that you can do to help keep yourself and your dog cool. Get a big bowl of ice and set it on a table or the floor. Then place a fan so that, when it blows, the air goes over the ice. This will make the air much cooler from the fan. Running several fans throughout your house will help circulate the air and make it feel cooler.
You can also put wet towels on tiled floors or under a shade tree for your dog to lie on. The main objective is to get your dog’s body temperature at a cooler level.
7. Make Sure There’s Plenty of Fresh Water Available for Your Dog
Make sure the water bowl is replenished from time to time just in case it the water gets warmer throughout the day. This will encourage your dog to drink more often and regulate his internal temperature. Another aspect to be careful about is the quality of water. Dogs will shun water or food that has a funny smell even when their bodies need it. Putting ice cubes in the water bowl also helps keep water cooler for longer so you don’t have to change it too often.
8. Avoid Too Much Exercise for Your Dog When It’s Hot
Pets love to play and dogs rank as the most playful among them. On hot days, you’re the one responsible to keep your dog from overworking his body. It might be a lot of fun for your dog to play with a tennis ball, but make the sessions short on hot days for his own good.
9. Be Extra Cautious on Hot Humid Days
It’s one thing to deal with hot dry days and quite another when it’s not only hot but also quite humid. You know what I’m talking about. You open the door and step outside, the heat and humidity hit you and sometimes you feel like it’s going to suffocate you. Now, just think how that must feel for your dog.
On these types of days, you really need to be careful. Take your dog for shorter walks during the coolest part of the day. If it looks like your dog needs a rest during the walk, stop in a shady spot and chill out with your dog for a while. You might consider bringing a bottle of water with you on your walk. You can always offer your dog a little drink by pouring the water onto one of your hands.
We always want the best conditions for our dogs because we also feel their distress. Heat is one of the major things that cause discomfort for your dog on sunny days. Keeping them cooler using these methods should ensure that they stay protected from the weather.
Remember, if it feels hot to you, it’s even hotter for your dog. Also, if your dog is older or has health issues, you need to be more diligent in making sure that you help keep your dog cool.
At times, it helps to be creative; you don’t always have to stick to some golden rule. As long as what you do keeps your dog comfy, go for it.
Even though you may have read what to do if you think your dog has heat exhaustion, in times of emergency, it’s easy to forget. There’s a handy free App for Iphones and Androids that lets you access this type of information quickly. We discovered this free App recently and you can read about it on our post about First Aid App for Dogs and Cats.