During the summer months, we all like to spend time outdoors. But the hot weather can be a worry for dog owners. In this article, we will explore how to keep dogs cool outside in the summer.
Prolonged exposure to temperatures above or around 90°F puts dogs in danger of getting heatstroke and/or dehydrated. To prevent this from happening, let’s find out the simplest, easiest, and best ways to keep your dog cool in the summer. As well as answering the most frequently asked questions on the subject.
Provide Water For Hydration
Arguably the most important thing to do in order to keep a dog cool during the summer is to provide them with water. Dogs should always have access to clean, fresh, cold water that is replaced every few hours. But especially in the hot weather. You should also always encourage your dog to have a big drink after doing any kind of exercise.
For a cool treat, consider giving your dog cubes of ice during the summertime. Or making ice-lolly treats during using fruit juice or gravy! Without access to water, dogs can become dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when a dog loses too much fluid and is usually a result of overexposure to hot weather. Signs in include heavy panting, sunken eyes, and a dry nose & gums.
Mildly dehydrated dogs should be given sips of water until they feel better. Severely dehydrated dogs must be treated by a vet as soon as possible.
When spending time outside on hot days, encourage your dog to play & lay in the shade. If you don’t have a lot of natural shade in your yard provided by trees, create some using some outdoor chairs or invest in an outdoor umbrella or outdoor house for your dog.
Many older dogs prefer to lay in the sun on hot days because the heat can relieve arthritis symptoms. But make sure to keep an eye on them and keep their exposure limited, especially if the temperature is around 90°F. Encourage them to come indoors if they won’t lay in the shade when you want them to.
Choose Your Hours Carefully
Another easy way to keep your dog cool in the summer is to plan your walks & outdoor time around the temperature. Check the weather forecast and choose your outdoor hours based upon that. The coolest times of day will typically be early in the morning and later on in the evening.
During the middle of the day when it’s warmest, try to stay & play indoors or outdoors in shaded areas.
Always avoid exerting your dog in temperatures of above or around 90°F in order to prevent heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature gets so hot that their internal mechanism for temperature regulation stops working. It only has to rise by a few degrees for this to happen.
A dog’s body temperature rises above 104°F, they are at serious risk of heatstroke. Signs include excessive panting, drooling, stomach upsets, lack of coordination, and collapse. It is a deadly medical emergency that must be treated by a vet immediately.
Choose Cool Activities
Although you shouldn’t exert your dog in hot weather, they still need to exercise. When exercising your dog in the heat, try to include water. If you have access to a local beach or lake where dogs are allowed to visit, consider taking your dog for a swim! Swimming is a great way to exercise your dog and keep them cool at the same time. It’s also a lot of fun for your dog.
To encourage your dog to swim, play fetch with their favorite ball and throw it in the water. Always check that local lakes are safe for dogs to swim in first by enquiring online or through a local authority. Don’t take your dog anywhere that requires a long car journey in the heat. And never leave dogs in cars or any confined spaces on hot days.
If your dog doesn’t like swimming or you don’t live near water – consider buying them a paddling pool! All dogs love a good game of splash. Not only will this add an element of fun to your backyard that the whole family will enjoy, but dogs lose & absorb heat through their paws. So providing a pool is a great way to help your four-legged friend keep cool. Alternatively, you could spritz your dog with a garden hose or water gun and make a game out of it.
Keeping Dogs Cool: FAQ
Dogs should not be exposed to or exerted in temperatures of above or around 90°F for long periods of time as they run the risk of becoming dehydrated or getting heatstroke.
That said, some dogs such as puppies, elderly dogs, sick or injured dogs, smaller breeds, and those with thicker coats can be vulnerable to dehydration and heatstroke closer to 70°F. This is because younger and older dogs or those affected by sickness have compromised immune systems, while smaller dogs and dogs with thicker coats conserve more heat.
Dogs need around an ounce of fluid per pound of their body weight per day according to pets.webMD.
When your dog is too hot, he may pant excessively and have a dry nose and gums. If this is the case, you should take him to lay down in a cool area and give him water to drink. Watch him for a while to see if he gets back to normal. If he gets worse you should call a vet and ask for advice.
When playing with your dog outside during the summer, make sure that they have access to drinking water and shaded areas.
Paddling pools are a great way to provide your dog with a fun outdoor game that doubles up as a place to keep cool. Alternatively, you could spritz them with a garden hose or water gun.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and walk your dog during the coolest periods in the day, such as early in the morning and later on in the evening. Remember not to exert your dog in hot weather and consider taking them for a swim if you have access to a local beach or lake.
A good rule of thumb for checking whether it’s too hot for your dog to go for a walk or not is the pavement test. Put your hand palm-down on the pavement. If you can’t keep it there for seven seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
Ice is just frozen water, so it’s perfectly safe to give ice to your dog on a hot day. Plus, dogs love it. To make it more fun, you can make ice out of fruit juice or gravy as a nice treat for them. Just make sure the ice cubes are an appropriate size for your dog to avoid choking and crush them up for puppies and elderly dogs to avoid tooth damage.
If your dog wants to be outside, you can leave them out there so long as they have access to shade, drinking water, and a way to get back indoors if and when they want to.
When your dog is outside alone, remember to check on them every once in a while and keep their outdoor exposure limited in temperatures of around 90°F.
Dogs are naturally less active in the summer because of the heat. They may want to play less, walk less, eat less, sleep more, and drink more. To accommodate this, don’t overfeed or exert your dog in hot temperatures.
If a dog is seriously dehydrated, his eyes may appear sunken and his skin may lose its elasticity. You can test this out by lightly pinching your dog’s skin and seeing how long it takes to bounce back. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, you should give them sips of water and call your vet for advice.
If your dog is panting and drooling excessively or seems confused and uncoordinated after exposure to the heat, he may have heatstroke and you should keep your dog cool & call a vet as soon as possible.
That is how to keep your dog cool in the summer! Summertime is a fun time for everybody and that includes our dogs. Just make sure you take precautions to keep your dog safe in the heat. If you have any other tips you’d like to share – comment them down below!