Summer is here, which means more time for fun outside! Summer is a fun time for both us humans and dogs, but this time of the year also brings on the hot temperatures. While you're enjoying the summer with your furry friend, it's important to remember that hot weather can be taxing on our pets. Here are 11 tips to help keep your pet cool during these dog days of summer.
1. Keep them hydrated!
Don't you love that refreshing feeling after a nice glass of water on a hot day? Our pets feel the same way! It's important to make sure that you are always providing constant access to fresh and cool water. If you are taking your dog for a long walk, please remember to pack water and a travel bowl! Be extra cautious on these hot days- there is a higher chance of them overheating and suffering from heatstroke or dehydration!
2. Shade, Shade, Shade!
Make sure your walks & outdoor time includes areas where shade is easily accessible.
3. Frozen & cool treats.
Ice cubes: this can be fun for your pets! This isn't a substitution for water though. First make sure you are also supplying water.
Freezable dog toys
4. Check the pavement!
The pavement and road can become so hot they can burn your dog’s paw pads. Test the ground temperature by putting your hand on the ground for 5-10 seconds. If you can't hold it there for that long, don't let your dog walk on it.
5. Use cooling aids.
If the following items are not available for you to use- don't worry! Owners have plenty of DIY cooling aid options.
Ice packs & cooling pads.
Fans & travel fans: cool wind on a hot summer day – the breeze makes the temperature feel cooler than it actually is.(Note: Make it extra effective by placing a nice cold bowl of ice water in front of the fan!)
DIY cooling aids:
Soak a towel in cool water and let your dog lie on it. (check the towel often, and replace it if it gets too hot.)
Spray your dog's belly and paws with cool water. (Dogs cool down more quickly through their belly and paws.)
6. Get wet!
Get your pup a kiddie pool: Fill the kiddie pool with cool (not cold!) water. Your dog can splash and play, or just lay down and cool off.
Turn on the sprinklers!
Mist your dog with a cool water bottle.
7. Prevent sunburn.
That fur doesn't necessarily mean your pet is off the hook when it comes to sunburns. Dogs can still get sunburns, especially those pups with white ears and noses. Sunburns can lead to painful blistering and sore. Long-term sun exposure can also lead to skin cancers! Limit sun exposure and apply dog formulated sunscreen to hairless areas to keep your pet safe.
8. Avoid long car rides & NEVER leave your pet in the car.
Even on those milder summer days or even with all the windows down- it is a terrible idea to leave your furry friend alone in the car. Temperatures inside cars can rise to dangerous, life-threatening levels within minutes. It isn’t worth the risk!
"Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131°F to 172°F when it’s 80°F to 100°F outside."
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
9. Avoid exercise/walks during the mid-day heat.
Temperatures normally reach their highest in the late afternoon, between 3pm and 4:30pm. On those hot sunny days, it’s best to limit exercise to early/mid morning or in the evening.
10. Circulate cool air.
Keep air conditioning temperature between 72°F and 78°F. Hot, still air increases your pets chance of becoming dehydrated or developing heat stroke.
11. Know the signs of heatstroke. (Speak to your vet ASAP, if you suspect your pet has heatstroke!)
The most accurate way to tell if your pet is suffering from heat stroke is to take their rectal temperature.
So, what are the signs for dogs?
Rectal temperature is over 104°F
Rapid breathing & panting that increases over time
Dark red or pale gums
Vomiting & diarrhea
Staggering & disorientation
Loss of consciousness
Laying down unwilling to get up
What are the signs for cats?
Rapid pulse and breathing
Redness of the tongue and mouth
Stumbling & staggering walk
Rectal temperature is over 105° F