Summer is a fun time of year for humans and dogs alike. Many dogs love to play outdoors despite the heat. Summer safety is no joke, and it's up to you to make sure your dog stays cool and comfortable.
Remember that dogs cannot cool themselves by sweating like humans. They might sweat a small amount through their pads, but the main way a dog cools off is by panting. Unfortunately, panting is not enough when it is extremely hot and humid.
Some homes do not have air-conditioning, so alternative cooling methods must be used. If your dog does not wish to stay indoors with the air-conditioner, or if you do not have air-conditioning, you can still keep your dog cool as temperatures rise.
Here are some ways to help your dog cool off in the heat of summer.
Fresh, Cool Water
It is essential that you keep fresh, cool water available to your dog at all times. In hot weather, this is even more crucial. Make sure you keep the water dish in a shady location and change the water frequently. To constantly keep fresh water available outdoors, consider installing a watering system that hooks up to a faucet. These systems are designed to provide water as needed and are usually triggered by motion or a specific action.
In addition to cool, fresh water, you can try feeding your dog some delicious homemade chilled treats.
Shelter from the Sun
Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but she ultimately needs a cool, shady spot to relax. Prolonged sun exposure not only leads to heat exhaustion, it can also cause sunburn. Yes, dogs can get sunburned too.
While sunscreen is available for dogs, it is not ideal. The best thing is to offer shelter. Shade from trees is nice, but not perfect. An actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated. Alternatively, you might put up an open-air tent or canopy. The addition of a fan will help further cool things down. If possible, put the shelter in a shady area to keep it extra-cool. Of course, the ideal shelter is your home. If possible, install a doggie door to allow indoor access.
Dog Pools for Cooling
If your dog loves water, then a large tub or kiddie pool (molded plastic, not inflatable) might be a great addition to your yard. You can find tubs or pools at most home stores. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Just make sure you supervise your dog at all times. Keep the pool in a shady spot and change the water frequently. Do not leave the pool full when not in use, as it may attract mosquitos. Instead of a pool, you might also try running a sprinkler to see if your dog likes it, but most dogs prefer a pool to a sprinkler.
Cooling Dog Beds
As mentioned before, your dog needs a cool, shady place to relax. While a dog bed is nice and soft, it might also be too warm. this is why many people notice their dogs prefer to lie on tile or concrete floors when it's hot out. A cooling dog bed can offer the comfort and softness of a typical dog bed with the coolness your dog craves. Cooling dog beds often use a gel-like material or water to keep the bed feeling cool. These beds are especially great for senior dogs as an alternative for hard floors.
More Cool Gear for Hot Dogs
There are several other products out there designed to cool off your dog. Some work better than others, and often it just depends on the dog. If you decide to try out one of these products, just remember that nothing can substitute fresh water and shade. No dog should go for long without plenty of both.
Remember that dogs cool themselves primarily by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating. No matter what you do to keep your dog cool, the best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on her. When in doubt, get her to a cooler area. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of heat stroke.