How to Help Your Dog Combat Heat

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Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, temperatures have been rising and the heat has remained steady. While we humans can combat heatwaves with air conditioning and trips to the beach, our canine companions often struggle with regulating their body temperatures. And with some breeds having thicker coats and shorter snouts, it’s up to us to help our loyal family members remain cool during periods of intense heat so everyone can stay happy, healthy, and carefree this summer!

Head to the Pool 
One of the best ways to help your pup combat heat this summer is to provide them with a shallow kiddie pool or sprinkler to play in. Many dogs love the luxury of hanging out in the water and will often seek out the hose or natural water sources to cool off. You can also head to the beach and have a dip in the ocean or wade through some of the shallow streams and ponds. Allowing your dog to get wet and wild will not only keep them cool, but it’s also tons of fun!

Keep it Cool, Dark, and Controlled 
When you’re not around to take your dog swimming, make sure to leave them in a cool, shady, or temperature controlled environment. Leave your pup inside with the windows closed and the lights off, and keep the AC running. If your dog stays outside while you’re gone, make sure they have a shady place to escape to or somewhere directly out of the sun to lay down. Whether inside or out, make sure to leave multiple water bowls around and, if possible, have a friend check in on your dog throughout the day. However you keep cool, your dog can do the same!

Restrict Exercise and Outside Play
On really hot days, sometimes it’s best to keep exercise or rigorous play to a minimum. When you do have to take you pup out, try avoiding walking your dog during the hours of 10am – 4pm, since these times are when the temperature will build and become the hottest. Restrict walks to only a couple minutes and if your dog is itching to play, try some inside games to keep them occupied. If you must walk your dog outside for long periods of time, bring water and a travel bowl so you can stop to hydrate. Ultimately, a lazy summer day at home is best!

Provide Frozen Treats
Making some frozen goodies can be a fun and delicious way to help you dog combat the heat. Try filling your pup’s favorite Kong toy with some peanut butter, yogurt, or canned dog food and let it freeze overnight. If you don’t have a Kong, muffin tins, plastic containers, and even toilet paper-rolls will work for filling with delicious, frozen treats. Your dog can lick their pup-sicle to stay cool and it will also help to keep them entertained. Many restaurants and ice-cream joints also provide dog friendly cups and cones so you and your pup can keep cool with a tasty treat. Yum!

Know the Signs of Heat Stress
Pet emergencies can happen, and it’s always important to recognize and understand them when they do. Whether inside or out with your dog on particularly hot days, make sure to keep an eye out for signs of heat stroke so you can act quickly and calmly. According to PetMD, dogs experiencing heat stroke will have excessive panting and drooling, increased body temperature (above 103° F), very red gums and skin, only small amounts of urine or no urine at all, rapid or irregular heart beats, vomiting, tarry stool and, in extreme cases, changes in mental status that can lead to shock. If you believe your dog has any of these symptoms due to heat stroke see a veterinarian straight away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

A Few Follow Up Tips:

  • If traveling with your dog, never leave them in the car (even for a minute) unless the AC is running on high. Even rolling the windows down for your friend doesn’t always provide adequate airflow and can cause heat stress and stroke very quickly. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your pup!
  • Try filling some 2L plastic bottles with water and freeze them for a couple hours or overnight. When frozen, wrap the water bottles in some old towels or hand cloths and place around where your dog sleeps so they can rest against them to keep cool. Refreeze when they melt!
  • Rather than their regular bed, provide a lifted or trampoline bed for your pup to snooze on so air can get under them and help keep them cool. Avoid pillows or blankets that can get wrapped around your dog and trap in their body heat.
  • Perhaps allow your dog to dig a hole somewhere out of sight for them to lie in where the ground is damp and cool. Digging up wet earth is a natural and beneficial way for your pup to cool off plus, it’s tons of fun!

We hope with these tips you and your dog can beat the heat this summer and enjoy the best that these few months have to offer. See you at the beach!

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