How We Keep Our Dogs Cool During the Summer
Keeping our dogs cool during the summer can sometimes be quite entertaining. For us, our dogs are part of the family so they have access to our house all day every day. We’ve always had large dogs, sixty pounds and up.
Of course, every dog has its own personality and each of ours is definitely unique. Each dog handles hot weather differently. Some are okay with hot weather and others don’t even want to go outside.
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Dogs with Different Feelings about Hot Weather
Nik, German Shepherd/Lab mix, likes to stay inside the house most of the time. He only wants to go outside when the temperature is cooler. Mike, German Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix, wants to stay outside as much as possible. He’s not really happy if he has to stay inside much. Yuki, German Shepherd/Lab mix, is kind of between. She likes being outside but she’s just as happy inside the house.
With the different personality of each of our dogs, we’ve had to get a little creative to try and make all of them happy in hot weather. We do use some of the “normal” hot weather tips for dogs that you read about on the internet, but we’ve also tried some unusual methods that worked for us.
We Keep Our Dogs Cool with Various Methods
Using one or two methods to keep our dogs cool during those hot summers days just doesn’t seem to work for us. There was always one of our dogs that didn’t seem to be happy. As a result, we try to do several different things so that each of our dogs can enjoy the hot days of summer.
Of course, the primary thing we do is make sure all of our dogs have access to the house whenever they want. Our biggest guy is about 120 pounds so we’ve got a large doggie door. This door has double flaps to help keep the hot air out and the cool air in.
Tile Floor and Fans
Most of our house is carpeted, but we do have several areas that have ceramic tile. During the summer, we remove any throw rugs from the tiled areas so that there’s plenty of room for all the dogs. It’s amazing how much cooler ceramic tiled floors are than carpet.
In addition to the ceiling fans in most rooms, we run floor fans that are about four feet high and oscillates. These fans help circulate the air and our dogs seem to enjoy laying where they can feel the breeze generated by the fans.
We keep a kiddie pool in the back yard under the shade of a large tree and put about ten inches of water in it. Dogs love this! It’s not unusual to see one of them laying in the pool and just chilling out.
Even though it may be hot outside, the pool encourages dogs to play. There’s nothing like seeing your dogs run around the yard and jump into the pool for a quick cool off.
Our yard has a water sprinkler system and, I do believe, it’s one of the best investments that we’ve ever made. The primary reason we had this installed was to save us time. We were spending so much time trying to keep our yard watered during the summer months.
Another major benefit of a water sprinkler system is that our dogs go a little crazy when these sprinklers come on. There’s nothing like watching three big dogs play chase and running through the sprinklers. We’ve actually set our sprinklers to kick on around mid-afternoon for five to eight minutes to help cool the yard down for the dogs.
As soon as our dogs hear the sprinklers kick on, they’re outside having a great time!
Fresh Water and Ice Cubes
Of course, everyone knows that fresh water is very important for your dog year round. During the summer, we’ll also put several ice cubes in the water bowl to help keep the water cooler longer.
If you’ve never done this, you should know that some dogs like to try and get one of the ice cubes out of the water bowl and play with it in the house. Things can get a little messy at times.
Dirt “Bed” in Yard
One of our dogs really enjoys laying outside on a hot summer day in his dirt “bed”. We have several decorative bushes in the back yard and we let our dogs dig up spots behind the bushes. You can’t really see these dirt “beds” since they’re behind various bushes. The bushes provide shade and the dirt helps keep our dog cool.
Another fun way to help cool our dogs off during the summer is to give them frozen treats that we make. For the most part, we freeze homemade broth in ice cube trays. We like to use homemade broth since it seems that broth in the stores have onions as one of the ingredients. The amount of onions in these store bought broths might not be much, but we feel it’s much safer to make your own broth. We’ve made pork, beef and chicken broth. Our dogs are very happy with any of these.
Other people have frozen watermelon chunks (seeds removed) and cucumbers for their dogs. We haven’t tried this yet but we plan on doing this.
A Word of Caution – Keeping Dogs Cool During the Summer
By now, you should realize that we are major dog lovers and some things that may be inconvenient to others is not that important to us. If you decide to try the methods that we use to keep our dogs cool during the summer, you should know that your house will definitely get a little messy.
With a doggie door, we are allowing potentially wet and muddy dogs into our house. Dogs playing in the sprinklers or jumping into the kiddie pool are going to be very wet. So far, none of our dogs have lain in their dirt bed after playing in the water, but that might happen one day.
Frozen treats can be a little messy, especially the frozen broth cubes. Our dogs love to eat these in the house. When our dogs were pups, we trained them to eat treats on an old blanket or towel that we tossed on the floor. Each dog has their own “treat spot”. As soon as they get their frozen treat, they run to their “treat spot” and enjoy it. Of course, the frozen treat doesn’t last long, and they’re back for more.
We don’t mind a little mess in the house and, really, it hasn’t been that bad. We try to take precautions such as a “treat spot” and placing several old towels just inside the doggie door to soak up some of the moisture from wet paws. The little mess that our dogs make in the house is easily cleaned.
For us, it’s worth our dogs being happy in exchange for a not perfectly clean house.