Keep Your Dog Cool this Summer
The summer months can be both tough and a joy for dogs at the same time. Their regular routine and activities will likely need adjustment in the hotter weather to avoid heat exhaustion, burnt paws, and general discomfort. Of course, summer brings about tons of fun times for you and your best pal so long as care and caution are used! We want to help you have a great summer while keeping safety in mind. Remember to give your dog plenty of rest and recuperation and keep them as cool and comfortable as possible so they don’t overdo it in the heat!
If you have a long-haired or fluffy dog, you may want to consider shearing them for the summer months. All the extra fur that helped them stay warm in winter could possibly contribute to overheating in summer. Check into the temperature in your area and ensure that it will be higher temperatures for the remainder of the summer by the date that you choose to have your dog groomed (letting a professional do the grooming is always the best practice). Grooming them too early in the season could cause them to feel cold until it warms up, and also make sure there is enough time for the hair to grow back by their last grooming once the summer is winding down.
Stick to morning and evening for their longer walks:
Since your dog needs adequate exercise, you don’t want to eliminate their longer walks and playtime altogether due to the heat. Instead, utilize the times of day when the heat isn’t as intense and adjust their routine accordingly, this way their exercise needs are still being met. Early morning and late evening are the best times to escape peak temperatures and hot pavement. Of course, you will still take your dog out for their bathroom breaks during the day, but it’s okay to keep these walks shorter if they are getting their exercise at other times. When you do go out during the day, try to stay off the hot pavement to avoid burnt paws, and keep water on hand for adequate hydration.
Never leave them in the car:
The car heats up at a very fast rate in summer and it’s typically a higher temperature in the car than it is outside, even if you are parked in the shade. Also, if your dog is in the back seat or in a crate in the cargo area, the AC does not reach them as sufficiently, so leaving them in the car unattended should be avoided altogether. Cracked windows will not suffice when the heat outside is at unsafe levels. Unless you will be in the car with your dog the entire trip, simply avoid leaving them there in summer months!
Your dog should have regular access to water all year-round, but especially in the summer heat! Make sure their water bowl stays full in the house, and if they are outside a water source should be handy, especially during walks and outdoor activities. It is the same for dogs as it is for humans in that hydration is extremely important when the weather is hot and humid.
Shade and cooling accessories:
If you take your dog outside for some summer fun like the beach, pool, or outdoor dining, make sure they have access to shade. They should have the option to go indoors if the heat is getting too intense as well. Cooling accessories are also a nice option for your dog to enjoy the outdoors during summer—items like fans, cooling mats, a cooling bandana, or a personal outdoor shelter are all great to have around so they don’t overheat. And, of course, if your dog is a swimmer or enjoys the pool, lake, or beach, they’ll have a blast cooling down in the water!
Dogs love to have fun and enjoy their regular or summer specific activities, but it’s up to you to monitor them and ensure they don’t overdo it. They might be having a blast at the dog park or at the beach on a hot day, but they need adequate rest so that heat exhaustion does not become a concern. Let them cool down in the AC or with a nice fan inside to recuperate and replenish their energy.
Signs of heat exhaustion to be aware of during the summer months might include:
- Excessive panting or hyperventilation
- Reddened gums
- Hot and dry nose
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty urinating
- Uncoordinated movement
- Extreme fatigue
If you think heat exhaustion is a concern, definitely get your dog inside as soon as possible and ensure they have water to drink (not ice-cold water as cooling gradually is safer than all at once) and a cool space to lie down. You can use cool towels (not cold—again, gradual cooling is best) to wet them down and regulate their body temperature. If your dog loses consciousness or becomes severely ill, they should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately.
In addition to these important tips about how to keep your dog cool, they likely won’t turn down a delicious frozen summer treat! So, don’t forget to let them indulge in a dog frosty or homemade frozen peanut butter yogurt popsicles this summer! This is a great and enjoyable time of year for you and your dog to have fun together engaging in outdoor activities. With a little extra care, caution, and monitoring regarding their routines, you’ll be having some memorable dog days of summer before you know it!
Shay Siegel is a young adult author, freelance writer, and editor from Long Island, NY. She has a BA from Tulane University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Always a lover of animals, Shay had several cats growing up. She's now a dog mom to the snuggliest rescue pit bull, Bernie. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and sharing her love and knowledge of animals with others!