HOORAY for Summer!! Sunshine, and lots of fun outside with your dogs; swimming, hiking, parks, dog friendly beaches, camping and just more time out in the yard. But baby, its HOT out there! Whether you are out for a walk in the neighborhood, on the trails, going for a ride in the car managing the heat can be challenging for our dogs.
Whatever your favorite summer activity planning for cooling and hydration is essential for our dogs health and safety. I’ve got some great tips and tools to do just that.
DON'T Leave Your Dog in The Car
Even if you think it will only take a few minutes. It isn’t always that hot outside, but the temperature can rise fast inside a closed car. On an 85-degree day, it can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it could be up to 120. It would be safer to leave your dog at home for that errand. The Pacific North West has lots of dog friendly shops so bring him along to places where he can come with you.
Cool Down Your House
You can leave the air conditioner on, and close the drapes or blinds. If you don’t have AC, turn on ceiling fans. You may want to add a cooling vest or mat.
Exercise and schedule activities when its cooler
Take your walks, hikes, ball play, etc. in the cooler part of the day like early morning and evening. Be sure to bring enough water for both of you. Portable/collapsible water bowls are a your friend!
Hand check the pavement
Do the touch test with your palm on the pavement. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. You can also walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. Lots of dog owners use booties so the paws don’t burn.
Water and Shade
When you are outside make sure there is access to shade and lots of fresh, cool water. Ice cubes are great. Trees are excellent sources of shade. I got Timber (my Spinone Italiono) a doggie pool and a sprinkler mat for cooling off in the yard.
Puppy popsicle treats
Lots of options to help your dog get cool from the inside out. Pet shops have frozen snacks and you can make ice cubes with tasty treats inside. Fill and freeze a chew toy to make a cooling snack.
Find some yummy and healthy recipes to fill your dog’s favorite toy with: https://www.puppyleaks.com/healthy-foods-you-can-stuff-in-a-kong/
Be aware of at-risk dogs
If you have a short muzzled dog like a pug or bulldog. Their smaller airways make it harder for them to release heat when they pant. Old and overweight dogs, or those with heart and breathing problems are more likely to get heatstroke.
See your groomer
If your dog has long hair, brush to get rid of any mats and tangles. It will help keep him cool. Never shave or clip his coat before you talk to a skilled groomer. The extra fur that keeps him warm in winter may likely keep him cool in summer.
Your vet is your friend
Keep shots up to date, especially in summer. Parvovirus spreads more in hot weather. With spending more time outside, your dog may more likely come in contact with a critter that has rabies. Summer is high season for fleas, which spread many diseases, and mosquitoes, which carry heartworm. Get your dog on regular meds to prevent these pests.
Watch for signs of overheating
Your dog can’t tell you when he doesn’t feel well, so be watchful for signs heatstroke.
Here are some possible symptoms:
- Heavy panting
- Heavy drooling
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark or red gums and tongue
How Do Dogs Keep Cool?
Dog bodies have very few sweat glands, and most of those are in the footpads. Dogs cool themselves primarily by the process of panting and breathing, with the moist lining of their lungs serving as the evaporative surface. Dogs actually expand the width of their tongue for more cooling surface.
If your dog overheats, take care to cool them down slowly and keep them calm. An overheated dog who is excited can be a fatal combination. Cool with a hose on the belly and inner part of the legs. Cooling from below is best. Then you can have them rest in front of a fan.
Wishing you all a great summer with your awesome dogs! KEEP COOL and CARRY ON.
About Atlas Assistance Dogs
Atlas Assistance Dogs is a non-profit organization that strives to help eliminate obstacles and help anyone who wants a service dog and who qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act to obtain a certified assistance dog.
We work with people with a wide range of disabilities who wish to train their own service dog and offer a comprehensive Academy for professional trainers wanting to become service dog trainers.
About the author
Joey Iversen, CBATI, KPA CTP, UW-AAB, TAGteach Faculty, Service Dog and Canine Medical Detection Specialist
Professional Trainer & Behavior Counselor for People Who Live with & Love Dogs