Tips on keeping your dog cool in the hot sunny summer weather
When the sun is out, we love nothing better then putting on our beachwear and hitting the beach or park for some sun bathing. When we get too hot we can cool down easily by sweating and refreshing ourselves with hot and cold liquids. But what about your dog? How do dogs cool down in the hot weather?
Unlike us humans, dogs don’t sweat and are covered in fur so cooling down is more difficult for them. When a dog becomes hot they cool themselves by panting and they normally like to to rest in a cool shady area.
Dogs can also suffer from heatstroke so should never be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Sometimes it may be best to leave your dog at home with plenty of shade and water rather than tire them out and get them all hot and bothered.
It also means that you can include your dog in many of your summer activities, instead of leaving them all alone at home. Your dog adores being with the rest of their family or ‘pack’, it’s what a dog carves for, to be around the ones they love.
A pet stroller is also a perfect way to transport your dog on vacation. They are great to travel with on any train and bus and can be folded easily to put in the boot of your car. A pet stroller also provides your dog with a bed if your holiday accomodation does not provide you with a dog bed, which many of them don’t.
You can also include your dog on any cycling trips you may wish to take during the summer months. A bicycle dog trailer is a great and fun way to travel with your dog. The dog trailer can be easily attached to your cycle and it will also keep your dog cool and ventilated due to the mesh panels included in the design.
You can also purchase stroller conversion kits which easily transform your bicycle dog trailer into a walking stroller. By simply adding a front wheel and a handle you can then stroll along with your dog. That will enable your dog to hop out for a quick walk then hop right back in when the heat gets too much for them. It’s a perfect cool. secure, shaded haven for them to rest in.
Handy tips to help keep your dog cool in the sunny summer weather
Whether you are out and about or just at home enjoying the sunny weather, you have to make sure your dog is able to deal with the sun and the heat it causes. Your pets need extra care and attantion in the hot summer months, so here are a few handy tips on how to keep them cool and relaxed in the hot weather.
Keep water at hand
You can also buy a dog bowl and bottle kit that is handy to take with you when you are out and about in the hot weather. If you are going to a place where water is going to be unavailable, make sure you take some with you. Make sure that the water you give your dog is cool and NOT too icy cold as this can upset their stomach.
Also make sure that there is plenty of water available for your dog during the night. Check their water bowl before going to bed and top it up if need be.
Never feed your dog ice cubes on a hot day
Also avoid cooling down your dog with ice cream and frozen ice lollies. This again can cause stomach upsets and the fat, dairy and sugar isn’t any good for your dog.
A nice cooling treat for your dog in the hot weather is fruit or vegetable chunks. Dogs love things like cucumber, watermelon (pips removed), carrot, frozen peas and any other high water content fruit or vegetable. The high water content also helps keep them hydrated.
Let them play in water
Letting your pooch play in the water with your children also gives your dog a boost. Never leave your small dog alone in a pool or bath. They could easily drown so always best to keep a eye on them.
If you happen to own a swimming pool or visit the beach with your dog, always make sure that your dog is fitted with a life jacket or dog flotation vest. There are life jackets that are designed soley for dogs. Not all dogs can swim well, especially smaller and short nosed breeds with little legs. For more advice on life jackets for dogs read our article on ‘Life Jackets for Dogs. Dog safety in the water.’
Plenty of Shade
A child’s pop up tent is also a great way for your dog to seek some shade, that way they can still play in the garden with your children and not be confined to being indoors. The tent is also good for your kids to keep out of the sun too. A pop up tent or dog stroller is also a great way to keep your dog cool on the beach or in the park.
Shade on the move
Dog strollers are also fitted with mesh panels so that the air circulates inside the stroller, keeping them cool while you and your dog are on the move. You can also store their food, water and water bowl in the stroller compartment underneath so you don’t have to lug a big bag or back pack around with you.
Never leave your dog in a car
It is also illegal to leave your dog in a locked car. Take a look at the temperature chart below. You will see how quickly a car can heat up on a hot sunny day. Also take a look at our useful article: ‘Danger! Dogs locked in cars on hot sunny days can be fatal.’
Never leave your dog in a locked conservatory
A glass conservatory will also not provide your dog with any shade, especially with the sun glaring in from all the windows and even from the roof.
Limit their exercise in the hot weather
It’s a good idea to do their daily walks early in the morning or later in the day when it’s much cooler. It will be good for both of you too!
Keep them groomed
Give your dog a good daily brushing to remove any unwanted loose hair. Their fur traps the heat and makes them warm in the winter, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it can be for them in the hot weather.
A good daily brush is also good for your dog’s skin, oils and circulation too. It can also remove any unwanted debris and tiny critters too like mites and fleas
Let your dog walk on grassy paths in the hot weather or you can fit your dog with protective shoes which are also designed to protect your dog’s feet from the ice and the snow too.
A good way of cooling down your dog at home is to place a damp towel on your kitchen floor. It makes a cool refreshing mat to lay upon when they are feeling hot all over. A fan placed near their dog bed is another way of providing a cooler resting place for your dog.
You can actually buy sunscreen specially designed for your dog. If your breed is short haired then they will be more prone to sunburn than longer haired dogs.
If you are out and about with your dog, a pet stroller is an ideal way to protect them from sun exposure due to the durable weatherproof covering.
The best way to avoid heatstroke in your dog is prevention. Unfortunately, too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided in the first place. By reading the list below you can learn how to recognize the first signs of heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog.
The symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include:
Very heavy panting
Difficulty in breathing
The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red
Saliva is thick and tenacious
Dog may vomit or suffer from diarrhoea
Dizziness and lack of coordination
Reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing
Loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.
Treatment of heatstroke in dogs:
Deal with heatstroke immediately
Move the dog out of the sun and into a cool room
Put on air conditioning or place an electric fan nearby
Take the dogs rectal temperature every 10 minutes
If temperature is above 104°F spray dog with water or immerse in cool water (not cold or icy) for 2 minutes
Cool packs can be applied to the groin area
Also wiping their paws off with cool water helps.
Monitor rectal temperature and continue the cooling process until the rectal temperature falls below 103°F (39°C)
At this point, stop the cooling process and dry the dog. Further cooling may induce hypothermia and shock.
Seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible, even when your dog has cooled down. Your vet may wish to check your dog to make sure there are no internal issues due to the heatstroke.
If you are taking your dog to the vet, take a cool, wet towel to help your dog to cool down.
How to PREVENT heatstroke in dogs:
NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open or not. Even if the weather outside does not appear to be extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven. Temperatures can rise to dangerously high level in just a matter of minutes.
Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days.
When outside, provide your dog with shady areas.
Keep fresh cool water available for your dog at all times.
Certain types of dogs are more sensitive to heat – especially obese dogs and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, like Pugs and Bulldogs. Use extreme caution when these dogs are exposed to heat
Use a pet stroller for small and vulnerable dogs, especially if you are travelling with yiour dog or taking them on holiday with you. The dog stroller allows them to stay cool, be protected from the sun and harmful UV rays and it also allows them to rest rather than over exert themselves.