People and animals love summer time. All that frolicking in the sun and water is so much fun, but as summer progresses and temperatures rise, it’s possible for your dog to have too much fun in the sun. Dogs have slightly higher average body temperatures than us, so they’re more prone to overheating and suffering from heat stroke than we are. That’s why it’s important to know how to cool a dog down and practice good summer pet safety. Here are some helpful tips on caring for your dog during hot weather.
Recognizing the Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a very serious condition and if left untreated can be life threatening. This is why it’s very important for your pet’s safety to never leave your dog in a locked car during the summer or any other time. The signs of heat stroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Laying down and unwilling to get up
- Heavy drooling
- Pale or dark red gums and mouth
- Clumsy movements or loss of coordination
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, immediately take their temperature–anything higher than 103 degrees is cause for a visit to the vet. However, before you rush off to the veterinarian, follow these cooling tips for how to cool your dog down and prevent heat stroke from worsening.
Hydration Is Key
Keeping them hydrated is one of the most important steps for how to cool a dog down quickly. Be sure to have a few different water bowls out around the house and yard to encourage your furry buddy to drink more water. Keep the bowls clean and out of direct sunlight if possible. Consider adding ice cubes or getting a freezable water bowl so the water stays cold for longer.
- Dogs generally need to drink about an ounce of water for every pound that they weigh
- If your dog weighs 32 pounds than they’ll need to drink around 4 cups of water a day
- In the hot weather, dogs need to drink even more
Keep it Shady
Your pet’s safety during the hot summer months is very important. Staying too long in direct sunlight will more than likely lead to your pup overheating. That’s why it’s crucial to provide shady places for your dog to lie in and cool off. Leading them to some shade will help your pooches beat the heat this summer.
Cold Floors, Mats and Ice Packs
Cold floors and surfaces are how to cool a dog down quickly. Whether it’s a cool tile floor, a chilled mat or ice packs for them to lay on, dogs love a cold surface when it’s hot out. Because they only sweat from their paw pads, groin and armpits, it’s important to cool off their lower extremities first. There are special mats you can buy that have freezable gel inside and cots that sit up off of the ground which allow air to flow easily underneath your dog’s body. Or you can just freeze old water bottles and place them under their chin, chest area or paws.
Water is a great way to help your dog regulate their body temperature. If you live near a lake, beach or stream that they can play in, plan a family trip and have some fun. If you have a yard or patio then consider buying a cheap kiddie pool and letting your fur baby get wet n’ wild. To ensure summer pet safety, don’t leave your dog alone near pools because not all dogs are good swimmers. If they do like to swim in pools, keep an eye on their skin, some dogs are allergic to chlorine.
Just like little kids, dogs also love to play in the sprinklers. Putting the mister attachment on your hose is great because it lets out a softer cloud of water that won’t hurt or scare your pups. Even a plant mister or spray bottle will do the trick if going outside isn’t an option. Focus on misting their chest, paws, groin and armpits first to help speed up the cooling off process.
Stay Inside and Time Your Walks
If you’re worried about how hard it will be to cool your dog down on super hot days, let them stay inside more. If you like spending time on the couch with the AC blasting when it’s hot outside, chances are your little buddy does too. In fact, in some states it’s illegal to leave your dog outside in extreme temperatures. When it’s really hot consider leaving your pooch inside with the AC on or fans going and the curtains closed to avoid direct sunlight.
You can also time your walks or summer hikes for the coolest parts of the day like early morning or evening. Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest part of the day. Before going for a walk, place your hand on the sidewalk or asphalt to check and see if it’s too hot for their paws. Hot concrete can cause your dog to overheat quickly and burn their paw pads.
Pupsicles and Frozen Treats
Everyone loves a cold treat during the hot months. There are many options for how to cool a dog down using frozen treats. You can buy special freezable toys that are great for your dog’s gums and teeth. Stuffing your dog’s favorite chew toy with food and then freezing that is another excellent option that keeps them cool and happy for hours. We also love to freeze pumpkin puree or peanut butter mixed with yogurt in ice cube trays and let them have those when it gets really hot. You can even freeze raw bones and let them chomp on those outside. Cooling off their mouth and gums is an effective way to lower their body temperature.
Damp Towels and Wet Clothing
How can you plan ahead to cool your dog down? One of the best ways is to lightly wet a towel and leave it in the fridge for a few hours. When your pooch is starting to overheat, you can just grab the cool damp towel and place it around their neck, underbelly or inner thighs to help them cool off quicker. There are special chill vests you can also buy that keep your pooch cool for longer periods of time. Another great trick is simply wetting a bandana or collar and chilling that for a while before placing it around their neck.
Hot weather doesn’t have to be your dog’s enemy. If you can incorporate some of these tips and get comfortable with how to cool your dog down and practice summer pet safety. Meaning you won’t have to worry about them while you’re out enjoying the sun. If your poor pooch does get a little overheated, our CBD oil for dogs will help them stay calm and relaxed while they recuperate. Now turn on those sprinklers and start frolicking!