By Patty Dobson
The summer sunshine and boundless blue skies beckon us and our pups outdoors, however, we need to also be aware of the rising temperatures. Here are 10 simple tips to keep your best friend cool, comfortable, and content.
Keep fresh water and a bowl handy for your pups when on the go. At home or frolicking in the backyard, ensure your pup has easy access to plenty of fresh, cool water to keep them happy, healthy, hydrated and as happy about summer as we are.
2. Temperature and Humidity
Dogs can get too hot in temperatures of 80 degrees. Activity and humidity compounds the situation. Maintain mindfulness of both, changing up your routine or activity at a cooler time.
3. Change Walking/ Activity Time
Ideally, early mornings or later evenings create a cooler environment for your pup. Busy schedules may mean these times don’t work, so avoid hot surfaces and choose areas with some shade, by investing in doggy boots, finding grassy areas and checking the temperature of the asphalt to protect their paws.
Our pup’s paws sweat to cool them, absorb heat and are particularly prone to burns, so keep them cool. To check the temperature of asphalt, place the back of your hand to the asphalt and count to 5. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your furry friend.
4. Don’t Over Exercise
Alter your activities according to the heat and humidity. While cooler temperatures allow for more vigorous walks and activities, the hot or humid summers call for lowering the intensity, as it can easily lead to overheating.
Pups are just as prone to sunburn and the negative effects of UV rays as their human counterparts, with darker hair dogs even more susceptible to sunburn than lighter haired pups. Protect your pup by applying a doggy sunscreen on their fur and skin to keep them happy and healthy.
6. Access to Shade
Whether it’s from the shade of a tree or a tarp, ensure your pup has a protected place from the sun to chill and cool down.
7. Keep Their Paws Cool
Aside from panting, dogs mostly sweat through their feet. Soak paws in a cool (not icy) pool of water to lower temperature or rub some water on his chest. Avoid using ice, as it can lower your pup’s core temperature too quickly. A cooling vest, cool wet towels, or a cooling mat are awesome alternatives, whether relaxing in the yard or on a hike.
8. Don’t Give Your Dog a Haircut
It can seem like their heavy hair makes them hot, but your pup’s fur actually helps to regulate their temperature. Cutting it doesn’t help with handling heat-- instead, exposed skin can lead to a sunburn.
9. Monitor Your Dog and Watch for Signs of Heatstroke
Monitor your pup, keeping a close eye on their behavior. If on a walk, and you find them searching for shade or wanting to lie down, it’s best to bring or carry them home. Stay sharp for signs of heatstroke, such as heavy panting, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, lack of coordination, excessive salivation, vomiting, seizure, and unconsciousness. Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs, boxers, frenchies and many others have a harder time breathing in heat and/or humidity. These pups, as well as very old, young, and overweight dogs tend to be more prone to heatstroke.
10. Never Leave Dog in Parked Car
Not even for a minute, with the car and AC running or with the window cracked open. On warm days, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels inside the car, which can result in irreversible damage to your pup. It may be 85 degrees outside, but the interior can immediately increase upwards to 102 degrees.