When warm weather hits, outdoor adventures beckon. You dress light, pack sunscreen and carry icy water for yourself, but remember that your dog heats up quickly in hot temps, too. Follow these quick tips on how to keep your dog cool this summer.
On The Walk
Schedule walks or playtime only during the early morning or evening hours before the sun warms things up too much. Once outside, seek shady and grassy areas to avoid scalding pavement, which can burn paws.
Not sure if it's too warm for your pooch? The Link My Pet app sends an alert to your phone when the temperature goes above the range you've set for your pup.
Always bring water and thirst-quenching treats, such as frozen "pupsicles." While a shallow wading pool is a welcome solution to cool your dog down, letting him spread out on a wet towel also works wonders, as does a cooling harness that can go straight from the fridge onto your pup.
Beware of Humidity
The ambient temperature isn't the only heat-related risk for your dog. According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes the heat away from their bodies. If the humidity is too high, your pup isn't able to cool themselves down and their body temp will soar to dangerous levels quite quickly.
Caring for Short-nose Dogs
If you've got a short-nosed breed, you need to take special precautions. Since bulldogs, pugs and many other breeds have small tracheas, they can't cool themselves down through panting like most, so it's best to avoid summer exercise and never leave these breeds out in the heat unattended.
While you might be tempted to give your shaggy double-coated pal a serious haircut for relief from the heat, cutting away his protective double coat makes him more uncomfortable and overexposes delicate skin to harmful UV rays. Instead, brush him with an undercoat rake and groom out matted hair. While the coat doesn't need extra protection, hairless areas do, such as his snout and the area between his hind legs. Use a canine sunscreen, sunscreen for babies or sensitive skin, but avoid brands containing potentially toxic zinc oxide.
Look for Signs of Heatstroke
Signs of heatstroke in dogs can include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, lack of coordination, excessive salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
If you notice these symptoms in your pup, move your dog into a shaded and/or air conditioned area immediately. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes, and get them to a vet ASAP.
Cool Dogs Checklist:
1. Use canine sunscreen on hairless areas
2. Walk or play outside during early morning and evening hours
3. Find shade
4. Avoid hot pavement
5. Carry water and frozen treats
6. Offer a wading pool, wet towel or cooling harness
7. Watch out for humidity
8. Groom wisely
Remember, if you're hot, so is your dog. Share the ways you and your dog enjoy summer fun with us!