How to Keep Your Dogs Cool this Summer
Posted by Grange Co-op on 16th May 2023
Dogs need to spend time outdoors every day — not just for bathroom breaks but also for exercise. Some dogs can access the backyard through the doggie door while their families are gone all day. Others are working dogs and some live in kennels where they are entirely dependent on your care. Dogs that stay outdoors don’t become immune to either heat or cold. It’s up to you to reduce their exposure to heat and protect them when a heat wave hits.
Why Hot Weather Is Dangerous to Dogs
Dogs don’t deal with heat in the same way that humans do. Instead of sweating, they pant to help get rid of the heat. While panting is normal even during mild temperatures, sudden or excessive panting can be a sign your dog is in trouble.
The biggest risk to dogs during sweltering weather is hyperthermia — commonly called heat stroke. Hyperthermia is a state where a dog’s body temperature is above 103°F. Once body temperature rises above 106°F in an otherwise healthy dog, it is most often caused by external or environmental heat. This is the point where heat stroke occurs, putting the dog at risk of organ failure and death.
Dogs that are young, old, overweight, thick or double fur-coated, or prone to respiratory diseases, like boxers and pugs, are at a much greater risk of getting heat stroke. They might even be vulnerable when the temperature and humidity don’t seem that high. It’s essential to your dog’s well-being to provide what they need to stay cool whenever they go outdoors.
Some ways to keep your dog include:
Provide shade and water — These are the two basics that dogs always need during warmer weather. Always make these necessities available to them at home or on the go. Keep multiple water bowls indoors and outdoors, so they always have a drink available. You can also get portable water dishes to bring when you go walking, running, hiking, or playing in the park. You can add ice to their drinking water during extreme heat for even more effective cooling.
Evaluate your yard to determine if there is adequate shade. Shade from trees or shrubbery might not provide shade during all hours of the day. Don’t count on your dog’s house to provide shelter from the sun, either. A dog house will hold heat in and make your dog even hotter.
Put up a misting system — Misting systems provide a fine, cooling mist that doesn’t get you or your pet soaking wet. You can install a mister on your patio, in the dog run, or in the kennel. Not only will a misting system help keep your dog cool, but it will also make time outdoors more enjoyable for you and your family.
Give them a cooling or elevated dog bed — Indoors or outdoors, dogs aren’t likely to want to snuggle up in the same cozy bed they slept in all winter. A cooling bed can help keep them cooler and comfortable wherever they like to take their afternoon nap.
There are several types of cooling beds, including those made of mesh, those with cooling pads filled with gel, and elevated dog beds. Dog beds with gel pads aren’t a good choice for hardy chewers. Instead, opt for an elevated bed that cools by allowing air to circulate around your dog. Some features offered on elevated dog beds include tent covers, weather resistance, removable cushions, and fold-up for travel.
When using an elevated bed outdoors, place it on the ground instead of asphalt or concrete. The heat from the pavement will travel upward to the bed. Place a pan of ice underneath to make them even cooler.
Put out a wading pool — You can invest in a dog pool, but a solid plastic kiddie wading pool will do just fine. Keep the water fresh and clean, and place it in the shade if possible. Inflatable pools aren’t a good idea since they are vulnerable to dogs’ nails and digging.
Don’t fill the pool to the top, and keep an eye on your dog when he’s in the yard. Add to the outdoor fun with a lawn sprinkler or a sprinkler hose. Dogs stay cool while running and playing in the water.
Give them frozen treats — Frozen treats are a great way to keep your dog occupied and cool when it’s hot. To make treats safe, only use ingredients that are dog friendly. Products like popsicles made for humans can have ingredients, like diet sweeteners, that are harmful to dogs. Making healthy frozen treats is simple, and you can incorporate some of your dog’s favorite things, like peanut butter or beef broth.
Keep them well-groomed — Many expert groomers discourage shaving dogs in the summer. Their coat is an integral part of their natural cooling system, and it helps protect their skin from health hazards. To keep dogs cool, trim or cut their hair. Use a de-shedding tool and brush your dog’s coat regularly. This helps remove loose hair and prevents clumps from forming that hold heat in.
Unlike humans, who can sweat on nearly every part of their body, dogs sweat through merocrine glands in their paw pads. Pay special attention to their feet when grooming. Keep as much fur as possible trimmed away from their feet and between their paw pads.
Protect their paw pads — Hot pavement can seriously damage your dog’s paws. Try to limit walks to early mornings and late evenings when the pavement isn’t as hot. Touch the pavement with your hand before allowing your dog to walk on it. Stay in the grass if you have to go out during the hotter parts of the day. Don’t forget sidewalks and crosswalks when plotting your route. You can also put shoes or socks on your dog if they don’t mind wearing them. Paw wax is another way to create a protective barrier. Check your dog’s paws regularly for irritation or changes in color. If you suspect your dog has burned paw pads, administer first aid immediately.
Keep Cool this Summer with Grange Co-op
There’s a lot to love about summer and warmer temperatures. But you also need to be aware of the safety concerns for every member of your family. Start crafting a safety plan to keep your dog safe when summer temperatures rise. Create comfort zones where you and your canine can chill inside and outdoors. Contact us if you have questions about any of our products.