Summertime means more time spent outdoors with your canine friend. With temperatures soaring, there’s no better time to play in the backyard, go to the beach, or hit the park for some outdoor fun.
While dog owners can take care of themselves while out and about, it might not be the case for your beloved pet. Dogs sweat ineffectively and can get really hot very quickly. Unlike humans that can perspire to cool themselves, dogs have a harder time because they have very few sweat glands on their paws. This means extra special care is needed when you plan a beach or picnic getaway in the summer.
But you need not worry, there are many things you can do to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy while enjoying time with you outdoors.
Here are some of the best tips on how to keep your pets safe and cool while spending time outside in the summer season.
Tips to Keeping Your Dog Cool Outside
Summer means a lot of fun and playing outdoors for you and your dog. When temperatures rise, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring your pet with you. By taking the necessary steps, you and your dog can have a great summer playing on the beach, at the park, or simply in your own backyard.
1. Always Have Drinking Water
If you’re playing in your backyard, always have a cold, drinking water ready for your dog. You can place it in a bowl or in a squirt bottle. Your dog must always have access to drinking water so he can quench his thirst anytime he needs to.
If you’re playing fetch or your dog is playing with other animals, make sure he is drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes.
If it gets too hot outdoors, though, such as temperatures reaching up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, water may not be enough to cool your dog. In such cases, it may be a better idea to limit exercise for your dog until the weather gets a little more pleasant.
2. Have a Paddling Pool
This applies if you’re playing outside in your backyard. A paddling pool can help your dog cool down when it gets too hot. You can place the pool under the shade of a tree so the water doesn’t get too hot.
If your dog doesn’t seem to take an interest in the pool, you can play fetch and throw a stick into the pool to encourage your dog to take a dip.
3. Check the Pavement
If you’re planning on going for a walk or run, always check the temperature on the pavement. Touch the pavement with your hand – if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Another way to check if the pavement is too hot for your dog is to pour some water on the asphalt. If it steams immediately, then it’s too hot for your dog and it would be a better idea to leave your dog at home.
4. Use a Cooling Mat or Fan
If you don’t have a paddling pool at home, you can use a cooling mat to help your dog cool himself from the hot outdoor weather. Place it on your porch or on a shaded area. You can also use a cooling vest, or a fan to make the weather more bearable.
If your dog likes to stay in his dog’s house, you can place a fan inside to make it more comfortable. Dog houses usually don’t have proper ventilation so a fan can help him cool down while he’s comfortably sleeping or resting inside. You can also place ice cubes in front of the fan to make the air even cooler, especially during those extra warm days in the summer.
5. Never Leave Your Dog in Your Car
If you’re going out for errands or a quick stop to get some food and drinks, never leave your dog in your car in the summer months. Even if you park under a shaded area and open the windows, the temperature in your car can quickly rise to dangerous levels.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a car in the summer can quickly get to a dangerous 131 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit when the temperature outside is somewhere between 80 to 100 degrees. Even if you’re only parking the car for a few short minutes, your dog can get agitated with the heat and become restless, and disruptive. With rising temperatures, things can even become fatal for your dog.
If you can’t bring your dog with you wherever you’re heading, it’s better to leave him at home where there’s air conditioning.
Other Important Tips:
- Regularly groom your dog in the summer because thick layers of coat can lead to matting, which is known to trap heat.
- Avoid the midday sun when you’re planning to go to a park, a walk, or to the beach. Early morning or early evening walks are much better in the summer.
- Do not shave your dog’s coat in the summer as skin exposed to direct sunlight can cause skin cancer in dogs.
- Encourage your dog to stay in a shaded area by placing his toys or blankets in the spot.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
You might be having a great time outdoors but your dog could already be suffering from heatstroke and you won’t even know it.
Here are some of the signs of heatstroke in dogs to watch out for, especially when you’re outdoors in the summer months:
- Heavy panting
- Lack of coordination
- Obvious signs of discomfort
- Glazed eyes
- Excessive salivation
- Rapid breathing
- A rapid pulse
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness
If any of these symptoms show up in your dog, you must act fast. Remove him immediately from direct sunlight and bring him to a shaded area.
Soak a towel in cool water and wrap his head, neck, chest, and legs around it. Give cold water to drink or an ice cube to lick on. Do not let your dog jump into a pool of ice-cold water, nor let him drink too much water as both of these can lead to shock.
Give your dog a bottle of water to drink and that’s it. If all else fails, and your dog is still vomiting, has a loss of coordination, and is not acting normally, bring your dog to the vet immediately.
The Bottom Line
Summer is a great time to spend outdoors with your dog. It gives him the exercise he needs, some fresh air, and a much-needed quality bonding time with you. However, there are necessary precautions that you would need to make to ensure your dog stays cool and healthy in the hot days of summer.
By making sure access to water is available, avoiding the midday sun, and following the tips we mentioned, you and your canine friend can have the best and safest summer you can have.