Summers can be devastatingly unforgiving in terms of temperatures, of course, depending on where you stay.
But folks in California or Texas know what it is like to face the full brunt of the blistering sun.
Recent summers have been accompanied by heatwaves. And every summer seems to be hotter than the last one.
The word from the world of science is that this is a result of global warming and consequently, climate change.
And, while the arguments continue raging over whether the effects of climate change are overhyped or not, the reality is, boy! it gets pretty hot.
If we homo sapiens feel the heat so badly, how much more our best friends – dogs? If you sweat a lot, you’ll detest the summer heat.
However, sweating is just how body’s way of cooling down when the environment is too hot.
Now, dogs don’t have the ability to sweat like we do. So, while our bodies respond to baking temperatures by sweating, dogs have to resort to panting.
Panting cannot be all that comfortable all of the time. So, it is up to us to make the environment more bearable for our furry friends in these baking times.
One of the first measures to make sure your dog is kept cool in hot weather is to keep them indoors as much as possible.
Now, that doesn’t imply you just dump your dog in the house and expect it to figure things out.
There are certain measures you can put in place to make sure your dog is comfortable, kept away from heat and kept cool. We’ll be discussing some of these measures in this article.
Here are a few things to do to keep your dog cool at home:
Dog Cooling Techniques
Constantly Provide Water
All animals suffer dehydration during hot summers. Dogs are no different.
You know how it feels to take a nice bottle of chilled water after a long walk in the sun? It probably feels even better for dogs.
- This is why you have to make sure there is a constant supply of clean water for your dog.
- You could put the water in a nice metal bowl. And it would be great to add a few cubes of ice to ensure your dog has access to cool, refreshing water. This will surely help them to cool off.
- You could make this even more interesting for your dog by adding a frozen dog treat.
Why not consider freezing your dog’s regular treats and ice cube and serve them up to him? You could even do likewise for your dog’s favorite toys.
- Another fun thing to do would be to put some low sodium chicken broth in fresh water and freeze. Once frozen, serve it up to your dog.
For the chicken broth, remove onions and garlic. They are dangerous for dogs.
These ideas encourage the dog to have enough cool water and it makes it more fun for them.
Give Cold Treats
Cold treats will be to your dog what ice cream is to you on a hot summer day. Now that said, ice cream is not healthy food for your dog.
There are so many unhealthy fats and sugar in ice cream which are not advisable for your dog to have in their system.
- Alternatively, there are cold dog treats available that can be gotten from the freezer section of many local groceries.
Put The Dog On Cool Surfaces
If you’ve had your dog in your house for a fair bit of time, you must have noticed how they avoid rugged areas of the house when it is hot.
- Dogs will rather choose to sleep on the bare floor, especially floors made of vinyl, cement, marble and even hardwood floors.
These floors are much cooler for the dogs than carpets which will normally retain heart.
- With this being the case, make sure you create a nice spot for your dog to stay on the bare floor in the house.
This could possibly be in the kitchen, especially if they are tiled. You could put a fan angled towards this spot to create cool air circulation around the dog.
- There are also cool pet pads that you can purchase. These pads are designed to also keep your dog cool.
They can be put outdoors and indoors. A good thing about these pet pads is that they don’t require electricity, nor do they need to be wet down or refrigerated.
This option is suitable if you don’t have any tiled or marble floors in your home.
- Alternatively, you could wrap ice packs in a blanket for your dog to lie on. That will certainly cool your dog off.
- You could also consider buying or constructing an elevated cot. The raised platform of this cot will provide extra cooling for the dog.
To even make things cooler, you could put a pan of ice below the cot, to create a cool air space.
This method is often used for outdoor purposes. But if, for instance, you have a porch in front of your house, an elevated cot could also come in handy.
- Make sure you keep the raised cot on cooler surfaces. You can ensure the surfaces are cool enough by wetting the floor with cold water.
Install A Dog Crate Fan
Keeping your dog in a crate during winter may not be ideal anyways. Alternatively, try to expose the dog to cool air as much as possible.
- One way to do this in the dog crate is to install a venting fan on the crate.
The venting fan will help to get rid of warm air from the crate. And the air will gradually be replaced by cool air.
Brush Your Dog’s Coat
Most dogs have thick undercoats and those keep the dog warm in winter. However, in summer this could contribute to the uncomfortable heat your dog will be subjected to.
Now, shaving your dog is not advisable as doing so may expose your dog to sunburns.
- For very furry dogs that will quickly replace their costs, you could decide to trim the coat to make them feel comfortable.
- However, for most other dogs, just make sure you brush their coat regularly. Brushing the coat of your dogs will help untangle the hair strands.
When the hair strands are tangled, the coat retains heat, making things really uncomfortable for your dog.
- Finally, consider seeing your veterinarian to know exactly how you should treat your dog’s undercoat.
Use A Cooling Gel Collar
You could buy a cooling gel collar to keep your dog cool at home. Most cooling gel collars just have to be stuffed in the freezer for a period of time.
Afterwards, it can be worn on your dog as a collar. A special cooling gel in the collar keeps your dog cool. These collars can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth.
Help Your Dog To Sweat
Like we have said, dogs don’t sweat like we do. However, there are dog jackets that attempt to mimic the sweating process, leaving the dog feeling cooler.
- When the jackets are worn on the dog, the water from the dog evaporates. As it evaporates, it absorbs heat from the dog’s body, thereby cooling the body.
These jackets are useful when you take your dogs for walks or for hiking.
- You have to make sure that the jacket is regularly doused in water according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.
Use A Paddling Pool
You know you could come from work on a really sunny day and go straight to the bathroom for a cool shower. Pretty sure dogs would like to do the same thing too.
- You could treat your dog to a pool at a shady spot in your backyard. This could even be a small plastic bathtub.
Fill the tub with cool water. But make sure frozen water is not used, as frozen water could put the dog in shock.
Allow the dog ample time in the pool, enough to keep it relaxed and cool on a hot summer day.
- If you will do this for multiple dogs, don’t put too many dogs in at once.
Smaller dogs might struggle to get out of the tub because of their size. Because of this, larger dogs should not be put together with small dogs.
This is an obvious solution but was purposely left to be the last item on the list. And this is basically because not every dog owner has the luxury of having an air-conditioned home.
- If you have one, then you could switch on the air conditioner for your dog. The air conditioner is probably your best bet to keep the dog cool during hot seasons.
- However, the air conditioner could reduce the airflow in the room. It will, therefore, be advisable not to solely rely on the air conditioner but to also open the windows of the room occasionally to allow ample air flow.
- Set the air conditioner at moderate temperature. It should not be too cold for the dog.
- Also, make sure the dog does not sit near any intake vent, as the dog’s fur or hair strands could get caught up in the air conditioning system.
- Lastly, the use of air conditioning does not preclude the constant supply of fresh and clean water to your dog.
Guarding Against Heatstroke
Both humans and dogs are susceptible to heatstroke during the blistering summer heat. Heatstroke could indeed be fatal.
This is why dog owners must make sure they protect their dogs as much as they can from deadly heatstroke. In doing this, you must pay attention to your dogs overall behaviour and body language.
- Notice how excited your dog is to keep up with a certain activity. If your dog suddenly becomes hesitant or starts holding back from continuing with those activities, that is an indication to hold off on the activity.
- Another thing to take note of is how your dog holds its ears and tail. Normally, the dog’s ears should be erect, and the dog should be very alert, as they usually are.
If, however, you notice that the ears start to drop and the dog begins to act a bit sloppy, this could be worrisome.
- Also, watch out for the dog’s tail. Usually dogs are excited when they play and have their tails up or wagging. But when this is not the case, it could be a red flag.
Puppies, elderly dogs and those with health issues stand a higher risk of suffering heatstroke. This is why they need to be kept cool.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Obvious discomfort
- Excessive panting or salivating
- Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
If any of these symptoms are observed in your dog, immediately, relocate your dog to an environment that is considerably cooler, then take it to a veterinarian.
- In summer periods, purchase a digital thermometer that you can use to monitor your dog’s body temperature and be sure its body temperature is beyond normal.
At above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, take your dog out of the sun and decrease the activity levels of the dog.
104 degrees Fahrenheit is not considered dangerous but it is safe to take it as the safest upper limit of the body temperature of your dog.
Typically when embarking on physical activities in hot weather, a dog’s temperature could go as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit but will drop to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in a minute and down to 102 degrees Fahrenheit in another minute, when the activity is stopped.
If the body temperature of the dog remains too high even after the activity has been stopped and the dog is no longer in the heat, this could be problematic. Take the dog to the veterinarian in such a case.
- Symptoms of heatstroke may not appear for several days. This is why as a dog owner, you need to be on the lookout for abrupt behavioral changes in your dog.
- Another way to cool down your dog in the heat is to squirt cool water on your dog’s chest and armpit and rub the water in. This will help to make the dog’s internal cooling system more efficient.
- You could also rub alcohol on the paw pads of your dogs. Because alcohol evaporates quickly, it induces heat loss from your dog.
Rubbing alcohol on your dog’s paw pads should be done occasionally as too much alcohol can dry out the paws.
Apart from what we have mentioned there are other best practices you could adopt to keep your dog cool and healthy throughout the hot summer.
- This includes avoiding midday walks when the day is hottest.
- Also walk your dog on the grass more often than on concrete pavements, especially if you choose to walk your dog in the day.
- Never leave your dog alone in a parked car. Cars quickly get hot when parked and the heat generated in the car can kill your dog.
Even in a moving car, make sure the air conditioner is switched on. If your car does not have an air conditioner, it is not safe to drive your dog in it.
- Lastly, always keep an eye on your dog and check that they are doing fine.
If you take the thoughts expressed here to heart and act on them, you could effectively keep your dog safe and cool throughout hot seasons.
Always endeavor to give and do what’s best for the well-being of your dogs. They deserve it.
Alternatively, if you are looking for how to keep your dog warm during the winter, read this article to find out how to do it without electricity.