Now that summer’s in full swing, you may be looking forward to a variety of fun activities to do with your dogs. The warm, sunny weather is ideal for running across a sprinkler-laden garden or lounging around by the beach. Perhaps you’re also dreaming of going on a hike with your dogs or meeting up with fellow dog owners at the park for a picnic.
But remember that high temperatures can put your pets at risk of overheating and other heat-related ailments. Dogs are more sensitive to heat than humans due to their limited sweat glands. They also don’t sweat like humans, who sweat all over their bodies. Instead, dogs release small amounts of sweat through their paw pads and cool themselves down by panting.
Knowing that it may be harder for your dogs to cool down on their own, it’s your responsibility as a dog parent to keep them comfortable, hydrated, and at their normal energy levels during the summer.
Practical Tips for Keeping Your Dogs Cool
To that end, here are some practical tips to cool off your dogs while still ensuring that everyone has a blast in the summer sun:
1. Avoid Peak Heat Hours
First, you’ll want to be extra considerate of the heat situation outside before you take your dogs out for any outdoor activities. To reduce your dog’s discomfort, plan dog-walking and other activities during the coolest parts of the day, such as in the early morning or in the evening.
Regardless of what time you take your dogs out, it helps to have something on hand to keep them cool. Consider, for example, making DIY cooling bandanas and attaching them to your dogs’ martingale collars at any moment that the weather takes a turn for the hotter and drier.
2. Ensure That They Have Access to Water
Another effective way to help cool off your dogs is to give them regular access to fresh, cool water. Adequate hydration is vital to preventing heat-related issues in dogs, like heat strokes and fatigue.
When taking your dogs out on hikes or day trips in the summer, always bring portable water bowls and carry extra water so that all of them can drink frequently. In addition, bake in regular stops for resting and drinking up.
3. Get Specialty Cooling Gear for Your Dogs
It may also help to invest in speciality dog merchandise to cool your dogs off, especially if you’re headed somewhere like the beach. Check out cooling vests or jackets for your dogs, which are filled with a special cooling gel that can help your dogs feel cool and invigorated. Just be sure to get the kind that’s specifically designed for active dogs, and that’s labelled as pet-safe.
4. Set Up Cool-Off Spots
Another good strategy for keeping your dogs cool is to set up resting and cool-off zones for them, whether you’re in your yard or at an outdoor destination. Guide them to a shaded or tree-covered area when it’s time to rest between activities. If you’re taking your dogs anywhere you think there might be few to no trees, bring an umbrella or canopy cover and a cooling mat with you.
Cooling mats are portable flat mats that your dogs can lie on to swiftly lower their body temperatures. Depending on the type of cooling mat you get, you might need to fill it with cold tap water or ice packs before you use it. If that’s the case, make sure you have these ready as well.
5. Opt for Water-Based Activities
To make good on the warm weather while also keeping your dogs cool, take them out for water-based activities like swimming at a dog-friendly pool or going on trips to the lake or to the beach. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, you can simply organize water play sessions in your yard with sprinklers or kiddie pools. These will treat your dogs to a splash-tastic experience and bring some additional joy to their day.
While enjoying the summer season with your dogs, always prioritize their well-being and comfort. With these practical tips, your dogs can have the best summer ever, filled with safe adventures and memorable moments. For more advice and information on keeping your pets happy and healthy, visit a dedicated dog blog for further helpful advice.
Recognizing the Signs of Heat Stress and Heat Stroke in Dogs
On top of taking proactive measures to cool your dogs off, you’ll also need to observe how each of your pets is reacting to the heat. Be aware of the signs of heat stress and heat stroke in dogs and act on them as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might put your dogs’ lives at risk.
Signs of heat stress include the following:
- excessive panting
Conversely, the following may be symptoms of heat stroke:
- bright red gums
- loss of consciousness
If any of your dogs is exhibiting these symptoms, bring them to a cooler environment immediately, like an air-conditioned room. Contact the nearest veterinarian or pet emergency service for further instructions.
Again, prioritizing your dogs’ well-being and comfort will be crucial to their enjoyment of the summer season. With proper care and attention, you can ensure that each of your dogs has the best summer ever with you.