How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
Summer is just around the corner! Do you know these tricks to keeping your dog cool on hot days?
The first day of summer is June 21st! While summer weather means more outdoor activities with your pup, it is also important to keep your dog cool.
Effects of Dehydration & Overheating
Did you know that dogs only sweat through their paw pads? When humans are overheated, we sweat over almost our entire body to transfer our body heat to moisture that evaporates and cools us down in the process. Dogs can only do this in a very limited region of their bodies (their paw pads) therefore dogs are prone to overheating.
Instead, dogs tend to cool themselves down with their own version of evaporative cooling: panting. When the weather gets warmer, blood rushes to the surface of your dog’s tongue, gums and membranes to help transfer heat. If you notice your dog panting frantically, drooling excessively or having labored breathing, odds are they may be overheating.
If your dog is overheating, be sure to provide them with cool water. Go inside or try to find a spot of shade where they can cool down. Dogs that are left panting and dehydrated can lead to vomit, diarrhea or even seizure.
The easiest way to treat heat exhaustion in dogs is to prevent it & be prepared.
An easy solution to helping your dog stay cool is to make sure they have enough water. Fun fact: water accounts for 60% of a dog’s body weight & it’s the same for humans, too! That means our dogs need to stay hydrated just like we do.
If you’re curious about how much water your dog needs, a good rule of thumb is to make sure they drink somewhere between ½ - 1 oz of water per pound of body weight. For example, a 50 pound dog would need about 25-50 oz of water each day.
The amount of water your pup needs can also vary depending on things like exercise, medications, age & size. The type of food your dog eats can also affect their hydration levels. Dogs who eat kibble often need more water than usual. This is because kibble & other dehydrated foods are made with the use of extreme heat to eliminate any moisture.
Sundays preserves moisture & natural nutrients by air-drying their food without the use of extreme temperatures. So feeding your dog Sundays can have a positive impact on their hydration levels!
There are many products on the market specifically designed to prevent overheating in your pup. Cooling mats contain a cooling gel that is pressure activated, so it will start working as soon as your dog lies down.
There are even special vests and clothes that can be soaked in water, wrung out and put on your dog for a few hours of relief.
An easy trick for hot days is to keep a few of your pets toys in the freezer. For toys that allow you to put treats inside, try freezing some peanut butter with the toy!
Dog Days of Summer
As long as you are keeping your dog cool, you can still enjoy summer activities with your pup!
An easy way to have fun & stay cool is to go swimming! Many dog breeds naturally love water & swimming. Be sure to take caution when taking your dog swimming. Pools are the safest, most sanitary option for swimming. If you go to a deeper body of water, like an ocean or lake, try a dog life jacket.
Be sure not to overdo it - especially if you have a water-loving pup! Water toxicity from ingesting too much water can be life-threatening. Carefully watch your pup and don’t let them over-exert themselves.
If you like to go hiking or do strenuous exercise with your pup, keep an eye on the temperature. In the peak of summer, it’s best to exercise outdoors in cooler times of the day, such as the morning and the evening. DailyPaws made a chart that can help you decide if it’s safe to take your dog outside based on its size & the temperature outside.
Always be prepared for overheating. Take plenty of water and even cool packs or ice for excessive heat. We recommend bringing a towel that you can wet and use to cool down your pup, if necessary. Consider buying a collapsible dog bowl or dog water bottle for easy drinking. It’s best to use cool water rather than ice cold so it doesn’t shock your dog’s body.