Is your dog lazy in the summer? You’re not alone. Pet parents often find themselves wondering if this behavior is normal, what it means, and how to help their pups cool down in the heat. As summer approaches, our furry friends may become less active and more indifferent towards play, daily walks, and other things that they normally find fun.
Lazy dogs in summer are often more inactive to cope with the heat. Overexertion in hot weather can easily lead to heatstroke, a potentially fatal problem for hundreds of dogs each year. Here, we discuss what is normal for your dog, what heatstroke looks like, and how you can help your furry friend stay cool! Let’s get started.
Are Dogs Lazy In The Summer?
Most dogs spend 12 to 14 hours of their day sleeping. In the summer months, however, you may find that your dog spends more time sleeping or resting, sometimes exceeding its usual amount of time. This behavior is normal – the heat of summer can cause your pooch to become drowsy, irritable, and less willing to exercise. Many pet parents find their pups becoming more active again towards the cooler months of the year. So, in short, inactivity in summer is normal for most dogs.
Causes of Summer Laziness in Dogs
As summer sets in, temperatures rise and your pooch may struggle to cope with the heat. As such, it is not unusual to see a dog laying on a cold kitchen floor as they attempt to cool down. Your pup may drink more water to stay cool, too. This can lead to a “lazy” routine where your dog only gets up to eat, drink, or go to the toilet.
For some, play is out of the question. This is because your dog’s body needs to work hard to reduce its temperature during hotter weather. During exercise, your dog will pant hard to do this, as well as sweat through their pads. This causes dogs to tire more easily as more of their energy is put into cooling down. Your dog might avoid exercise, become less excited about daily walks, or forego play to avoid exerting too much energy. So, if your dog is lazy in summer, don’t panic.
What Should You Do
As a doting pet parent, your role is to keep your pooch as cool as possible. First and foremost, always provide your pup with fresh, cool drinking water. Make sure that you change your dog’s water if it becomes dirty or hot in the sun. Your dog will benefit from having access to several bowls of drinking water throughout your house. Some owners provide a paddling pool in the shade for their pups to splash about in. If you do this, just be sure to regularly replace the water so that it does not become stagnant.
Always provide a refuge away from direct sunlight. This might mean moving your dog’s bed to a shady corner if it is in a place where direct sunlight may hit it. To ensure that their bed stays cool, consider adding cooling pads to it during the hotter days. You can also do this by filling a hot water bottle with cold water. If your dog is lazy in summer, they are sure to appreciate a comfortable place to cool off.
Some owners find that their pups enjoy cooling treats in summer. You can make cooling treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favorite food inside. Or, alternatively, you can stuff a Kong and pop it inside your freezer. Not only does your dog get a tasty treat this way, but they also stay cool whilst they enjoy it!
Your dog still needs exercise during summer to stay healthy. However, you will need to change when and where you walk your pup to keep them safe. Make sure to walk them in the early morning or late evening to avoid the worst of the day’s heat. Before walking, always check that the pavement is not too hot by resting the back of your hand against it. As a general rule, if the ground is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog, too. If the ground outside is too hot for your dog, consider exercising indoors instead. You can keep your pup mentally stimulated by refreshing their basic training or even teach them some new tricks to keep them active!
When Should You Worry
Heatstroke is a serious problem for dogs, especially during the summer. With a mortality rate of roughly 50 to 63%, knowing the signs of heatstroke is vital for any owner. In addition, your dog may be more at risk of heatstroke if they are a predisposed breed. One study identifies these breeds as the Chow Chow, English Bulldog, and French Bulldog. Dogs with a brachycephalic skull shape and heavier weight are generally more at risk, too. Be sure to take extra care if you believe that your pooch is at risk.
The clinical signs of heatstroke in dogs include panting excessively, collapse, stiffness, lethargy, reluctance to move, hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, petechiae, purpura, ataxia, seizures, coma, and death. If your dog shows any of these signs, do not delay treatment. Contact your vet right away and begin gradually cooling your dog. Dogs who are cooled before arriving at the veterinary practice have a lower mortality rate of 19%, compared to dogs who are not cooled, at 49%. Continue to cool your dog as you travel to an emergency vet to give them the best chance of survival. As you do this, make sure that you don’t cause your dog to shiver as this suggests that they are becoming too cold too quickly.
Most importantly, don’t mistake your dog’s reluctance to move for laziness. If your dog is unresponsive, unable to stand, or can’t walk any further without collapsing, seek veterinary advice right away.
Dog Laziness When It's Hot: FAQ
Have any more questions about lazy dogs in summer? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. If in doubt about your dog’s health during summer, always ask your vet for advice.
Much like people, dogs can have lazy days, too. Many owners find that their dogs’ “lazy days” come when their dogs simply need a break from their usual antics. Lazy dogs in summer are not uncommon either. Also, the number of lazy days that your dog has ultimately depends on their personality, activity level, and age. As long as your dog is not showing signs of illness during their days off, times like this are normal and to be expected. You know your pooch best! If you buy a dog who is just a more lazy breed, then be sure to check out our recommended lazy dog names to reflect your pooch properly.
Walking your dog is generally safe at temperatures up to 68F. Beyond this temperature, you must start to consider your dog’s health status, weight, breed, and ability to tolerate higher temperatures. According to Vets Now, temperatures above 89.6F come with a major heatstroke risk, regardless of your dog’s condition, size, or breed.
Never leave your dog in a car on a hot day. According to the AMVA, the temperature inside your car rises by almost 20F within just 10 minutes. By 20 minutes, this temperature jumps up by 30F. Even if the temperature outside is 70F, a parked car can reach 89F within just 10 minutes, and 99F within 20 minutes. These temperatures are a major heatstroke risk for any dog. Don’t risk it – leave your dog at home!
Colder temperature can also affect your dog’s behavior and health, so don’t assume because it is winter that your dog will become more active.
A fan can help to cool your dog down. The moving air from a fan encourages more evaporation from the mouth when your dog pants. It can also improve convective cooling at the ears to some degree. And, depending on the thickness of your dog’s coat, it may also improve convective cooling on the body’s surface. Even if the coat is thick, the air moving through the hairs can displace any warm air that has become trapped between them. Many owners find that their dogs enjoy sitting in front of a fan or AC during the summer to cool down.
The average adult dog should sleep for 12 to 14 hours per day. However, the exact amount varies depending on your dog’s age, breed, and activity levels. For example, larger breeds are known to nap more than smaller breeds. Also, puppies may sleep for 18 to 20 hours per day, compared to the 12 to 14 hours of an adult dog.
Wetting your dog’s coat can help to cool them down, and is an essential part of treating heatstroke because of this. However, you must take care to use only cool water, not cold or ice cold. Using water that is too cold can cause shock in a dog who is experiencing heatstroke. To wet your dog’s coat safely, drench a towel in cool water and drape it over their body.
So, is your dog lazy in summer? Most dogs will become less active as temperatures soar, so you’re not alone. Be sure to provide ways for your pup to keep cool in the heat. Always provide fresh water, shade, and monitor them for signs of heatstroke.