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How to Keep Your Dog Cool – Summer Tips For All Year Round

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Do you know how to protect your dog from heatstroke? Or how to make hot days more chill? Check this guide if you are serious about keeping your dog safe during the summer.

How well do you do on hot summer days? Warmer weather usually means that people spend more time outside.

After all, who doesn’t like soaking up the sun and feeling that warmth, before winter kicks in?

People being outside, means also that their dogs get to spend more time outside, as well. If you are a dog owner already, then you know that dogs dont do well when the day is too hot.

In fact, to them being left in the car with windows shut, or outside the shop on a hot day, can lead to death.

Thats right, heatstroke in dogs is more common than you think and is a life-threatening condition.

With that in mind, you shouldn’t be forcing your dog to go to the beach every day or to spend all day long in the sand, but instead, you should create a safe and cool environment.

Here is how to keep your dog cool and comfortable during the warmer weather.

How Dogs Naturally Cool Down

You have noticed that during the summer, and general hot weather, dogs tend to pant.

To inexperienced dog owners and first time dog owners this may seem scary as if the dog is about to faint.

Experienced dog owners know that this is a normal occurrence in dogs, especially when they are hot. Panting is the main way for dogs to cool down.

When the weather is too hot or when you spend a long time on the beach sunbathing, you will almost always experience sweating. This is a normal occurrence in people since humans sweat through their skin.

On the other hand, dogs do not sweat as humans do. For dogs, the main form of temperature regulation is panting.

Moisture is evaporated from their tongues, nasal passages, and the lining of their lungs as they pant. This way air circulates through their bodies and helps them cool down.

Heatstroke: Basics

Since dogs cannot cool themselves as humans do, it’s important to know how to help them survive hot weather. The truth is that they have no other body-related way to cool them down, but panting.

Luckily, dog owners are here to make summer easier for them. Otherwise, they will experience heatstroke.

Dog’s body is covered with thick fur, which is like wearing an insulated coat – this can make them prone to overheating.

If you spot any signs of overheating you should react. To react, you need to know what are the main symptoms of heatstroke.

Common signs of heastroke include:

  • Panting heavily
  • Dribbling
  • Wobbling and having trouble standing up
  • Bright red gums

If your dog has symptoms of heatstroke, give first aid and contact your vet immediately.

You are not familiar with a dog’s first aid? Here is what it includes:

  • Call your veterinarian as soon as you notice heatstroke symptoms
  • Move your Fido to a cool and shaded area
  • Try serving water to your dog
  • You can pour room-temperature water over the dog’s body – start with a small amount of water, do not splash him immediately with a whole bucket
  • Never use freezing cold water because it can cause shock and lead to additional problems

How To Treat Heat Stroke In Dogs

Do you strongly believe that your dog had a heastroke? If so, you need to act fast. Acting fast is what can save your dog’s life.

The first step is to take your dog to a shaded area. You want to take him off the sun and provide a cool area.

Use towels soaked in cold water and place them on the dog’s head, neck, and chest. Provide drinking water or ice cubes for Fido to lick slowly.

Never place your dog directly into ice-cold water. Never give your Fido too much water to drink. Both scenarios can lead to shock.

Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer

There are many things that you can do to help your dog cool down during the summer days.

Did you know that by brushing your dog you are actually helping him breathe better and deal easier with high temperatures?

Here are the most effective ways to keep your dog cool during summer.

1. Brushing Your Dog Regularly

Grooming is a big part of a dog’s maintenance. It helps keep your dog healthy and happy in the long run. By regular grooming, you are keeping track of the dog’s overall health.

By brushing your dog you are actually getting to inspect the dog’s skin and coat. By regular brushing, both you and your dog are getting many befits, from a shinier coat to a stronger bond.

Regular brushing is a mandatory part of grooming, especially if your dog has a curly or wavy coat. However, what dog owners tend to miss is that brushing is also a great way to keep a dog cool.

Brushing also gives a great opportunity to spot any issues on the dog’s skin, fleas, or ticks.

Plus, regular brushing will keep mats away, especially during the summertime, when they trap moisture from the humidity and can easily irritate the dog’s skin.

Regular brushing removes dead skin and hair and can boost circulation on the outer layer of skin.

2. Always Have Fresh Water

Your dog must have access to clean and fresh water all year round. This is extremely important during the summertime and when it comes to outdoor adventures in hot weather.

Make sure that you always have plenty of fresh and clean water to serve to your dog from time to time. This is extremely important when temperatures are high.

Water doesn’t have to be freezing or cooler than tap water – keep it always to room temperature. Don’t forget to have a bottle of water for yourself as well.

3. Plan Outdoor Walks

If you are a dog owner already, you know how important organization is when it comes to owning a dog.

These fluffy animals love routine, well-planned days, and active time. This is why you should always thrive to have planned outdoor activities. In fact, in hot weather, planned walks are mandatory.

You should avoid taking your dog in the midday sun, and instead focus on early morning or evening walks.

These day periods are cooler and will be more pleasant for your furry friend. Don’t forget to bring water for both of you.

4. Introduce New Games

Staying indoors seems like a logical choice when it comes to protecting your dog from the sun.

You can always introduce new games and focus on upgrading existing indoor games.

Staying under air conditioning may seem tempting, but should you spend an entire sunny day inside?

You should, because time in the sun can boost your energy, strengthen your immune system, and add happiness to your life, so don’t avoid it.

Instead, focus on early morning and night walks when the temperatures are lower so you can have activities together with your canine, such as hiking, walking, and even jogging.

Make sure that you avoid asphalt as much as possible, even when it’s not too hot because you don’t want to put the dog’s paws in danger.

Paws can react to cold and too hot time, and lead to major injuries.

Introducing new games doesn’t require heavy planning, because you can focus on games that don’t require running when the weather gets warmer.

Here is what you can do:

  • Pack toys with treats and hide them, so your dog can find them
  • Use toys to get your dog to freshen up into a shaded paddling pool
  • Make homemade freezing treats to keep your dog stimulated without heavy exercise

5. Think About Setting the Outdoor Shade

If you are one of those people who cannot stay inside when the weather outside is so inviting, you should think about creating an outdoor shade.

Some dogs love being outdoors in hot weather, but cannot stand being without a shade.

A well-designed shade is a great way to keep your dog protected from the heat.

A tree is great, but if your yard is without any natural shade think about portable sun shades, patio umbrellas, or even pop-up canopies.

There are even some products that combine shade canopy with the cooling effect of a misting system.

So, do your research and find a solution that fits you and your dog’s needs the best.

6. Set Cool-down Spots For Your Dog

It’s normal for dogs to search for cooler locations when they get hot. They are capable of protecting themself if the environment, allows them so.

Still, making this easier for them should only be a plus. That being said, provide fresh water all the time.

If you have a backyard, set the sprinkles during the hottest hours and let your dog run through it.

It’s important to let your dog have access to fresh water all day long, but he should drink it excessively. There is no such thing as water overconsumption.

This can lead to water intoxication, where sodium levels in your dog’s body are reduced.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, your dog might be having water intoxication:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Glazed eyes
  • Excessive salivation
  • Lethargy
  • Staggering
  • Nausea
  • Dilated pupils

Drinking excessively can (and usually will) lead to bloat, a life-threatening condition that is most common for large dog breeds.

Who doesn’t love a dip in the pool when the temperature is high? With that in mind, provide your dog a ‘dog pool’.

Fill it with fresh cool water each morning and clean as recommended – cleaning in the evening should be enough to keep the dog pool fresh. Ideally, provide a shade over the pool.

Keep Your Dog Healthy

Keeping your dog fit and healthy is the best prevention for any dog. Keeping your dog active and on a proper diet, all year round is what keeps him fit.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States, and keeping your dog’s weight in balance is the best thing for Fido’s health.

Maintaining a healthy weight is what will keep your dog from joint issues and many other health-related problems. When it’s hot, it’s common for dogs not to be active as usual.

During the hot days, you will notice your dog choosing cooler parts of your home, and always chilling on tiles rather than on the couch. Make sure that you adjust the amount of food to the dog’s activity levels.

Is Your Dog Microchipped?

Make sure that your dog is microchipped. Doing this is one of many things that include responsible dog ownership.

You don’t want to lose your dog during a firework or any other event – by microchipping him you are actually increasing the chances of returning him home.

Still, microchipping isn’t enough.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. That being said, provide your dog with a collar with an ID tag. This is a fast solution that can get your dog home in no time.

Sometimes people will notice a dog wandering around, but they won’t have time to take him for a chip check, but they will always have enough time for a quick phone call when your number is on the display.

What About Water Stations

Dog water stations are much easier to set than it sounds. These water stations could be simple large bowls or buckets of drinking water set aroudn the yard, or your home.

The biggest challenge regarding water stations is keeping them filled with water. Check and refill them daily. Place them on easy to reach places. Place them in shade.

If possible, go for the automatic waterers that can be easily attached to your garden hose.

Are Some Dogs More Likely To Overheat Than Others?

Simply said, yes. Some breeds are more sensitive to certain conditions than others are. All in, dogs are not too big fans of hot weather, but some can handle it better than others.

On the other hand, some breeds really struggle with handling hot days.

Here are dogs that need extra support during the summer and hot days and nights:

  • Flat-faced breeds are prone to heastroke. Due to their anatomy, they struggle to lose heat through panting. This is common for breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs. Make sure that you talk with your veterinarian about how to take care of these dogs.
  • German Shepherds, and other breeds that are proud owners of thick coats are more prone to heatstroke. They tend to get hot quickly. This is the main reason why breeds such as Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute are always recommended for more cooler areas and not tropical spaces. To keep these dogs healhty and make hot days easier, provide regular grooming. By providing regular brushing, you are helping them stay cool.
  • Large dog breeds are more sensitive to hot days, than smaller dogs. Breeds such as Bernese Mountain Dog or St. Bernards have more difficulties keeping themself cool, due to their size.
  • Senior dogs are sensitive. As such, they are more sensitive to hot weather. Be extra careful when taking your senior dog outside in hot weather.
  • Obesity in dogs is a big problem. Not that their joints will suffer massively, but they are continually going through many health-related issues that put their body under stress. Extra weight means extra strain and more insulation due to their shape.
  • Are you a proud owner of an active dog breed? If so, you know how important exercise and overall activity are for these dogs. High-energy level dogs thrive on physical challenges, and nothing makes them happier than a long walk or a good run. You cannot imagine your day without a good game of fetch? That’s great – fetch is a great way to keep your dog busy. However, be careful when it comes to activities on a warm day. They might get carried away with playtime and develop heatstroke in no time.

The Bottom Line

Keeping your dog safe all year round should be your main goal as a dog owner. No matter where you are based, the tips listed above should help you keep your dog safe all year round.

You may know that providing fresh water all day logn should be a normal occurrence, but did you know that microchipping and placing an ID tag actually increases your dog’s safety?

No matter how warm a day may or may not be, make sure that you keep your Fido in the proper shade with enough water.