The Heat is On: Seven Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

by janie knetzer

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The heat is coming for many parts of the country, so now’s as good a time as any to offer some suggestions about how to keep your dog cool in the summer.

Dogs can get anything from sunburn to dehydration in the heat, so it’s absolutely essential that you keep your pet cool when the summer begins.

Luckily, there are many, many ways to do this without breaking the bank. Here are just a few suggestions.

cooling tips for dogs

 

1. Have a Constant Supply of Fresh Water

Because pets can dehydrate relatively quickly, it’s important to have a steady supply of clean, fresh water on hand. Dogs with darker coats absorb more heat than those with lighter coats, so their water needs may be higher. Overweight dogs also require more hydration, so keep extra water on hand for them.

2. Exercise Sensibly

The summer months are not the time to get your dog to run heavily and put in extra hours outside. Long periods of exercise can result in heat stroke for dogs, especially those flat-faced breeds that pant less effectively than those with longer faces and snouts.

3. Walk During the Early Morning or Late Night

Make sure you walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, like the late night or early evening, and back off on the intensity of the walk. If you’ve been walking him or her around the block regularly, you may want to cut the distance in half during the hotter months. And bring a bottle of water along with you, just in case.

4. Avoid Pavement

Where possible, avoid taking your dog for walks on pavement. Pavement generally serves as a heat source when it’s been exposed to the sun all day, so your dog’s paws will pay the price. Your dog is also more likely to overheat the closer he or she is to the hot pavement, so try to avoid it when the sun is really baking.

5. Go Swimming

Some dogs really enjoy swimming, so this may be a solid option to help keep your pet cool in the summer. Obviously you need to ensure that your dog actually can swim before you embark on this particular adventure, plus you probably want to avoid taking your pooch for a spin in the public pool. That type of thing is frowned upon, or so I’m told.  :)  However, you can also use a hose with low water pressure to cool him off.

6. Consider Sunscreen

Pet sunscreens have been gaining popularity over the last few years and for good reason. A lot of people erroneously believe that dogs don’t get sunburns because of their fur, but there are plenty of problem areas without fur protection. And even where there is fur, some light-colored breeds are still at risk of sunburn. Check with your holistic veterinarian for some advice on dog sunscreen.

7. NEVER Leave Your Dog Alone in a Hot Car

Finally, it should go without saying that you should NEVER ever leave your dog in a hot car unattended. But because we still see cases, almost on a daily basis, of some idiot dog owner leaving their pet in a hot car with the windows rolled up, it still apparently needs to be said. So don’t. Don’t ever leave your dog in a hot car. Ever. Or I’ll find you.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

brooke May 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Along the lines of water, leaving out multiple dishes of water helps. And, keeping the dishes and the water very clean is important as the water goes off very quickly in the summer. I also add a few ice cubes to the water – my dog really enjoys it.

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Gigi Flores May 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I saw a SUV with a large dark dog in the car, the windows where cracked, I called the police, a police woman arrived and told me, well the windows are cracked, I got upset with her. Than they arrived 2 young girl and boy from a far away distance, they parked in a sunny area and went shopping somewhere else, I told them off, the police woman was not very forceful and I dont think she had a pet, she was not to bright, but you dont have to to be working as a police officer, I had several incidents, like finding dogs walking around without ID, abused, etc. Why dont those people get training also how to handle animal cases???
Just wearing a uniform does not mean anything.

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janie knetzer May 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Hi Gigi:
Good for you! That really burns me up. I agree that police officers should be trained to understand that a cracked window does nothing to cool the temperature inside a car that’s already 80-90 degrees. Maybe she should try sitting in a car with the window cracked, in the sun and see how it works for her!

Good job Gigi; I love to hear from people like yourself who are out there making a difference. :o

Janie

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Gigi May 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Yes, thank you, it would be very good if everyone would do just a little for non speaking animals. I am not afraid what will happen to me, when I go to help a dog or other animal. One day I drove on a mainstreet, the sun at 1.00pm was hot, hot. A Puppy pitbull was tied to a cement light pool. I turned around, went into the parking
went into the driveway, did not go to the parking lot, it was a small store, the door was locked, I went, his dog was on the door, I made the owner open the door and requested to know the owner of the dog. He was very rude, told me he would never do that to his dog.
So he showed me a young guy about 24years, latino, I asked him and told him at the same time, to take the dog out of the sun and if
not able to take him insite to ty him into the shade, he did, and than said, well we in Mexico leave the dogs in the hot sun, I told him, he was not in Mexico. He just smiled and went inside again. I told him, dont let me catch you again. I have seen this guy walking this dog in the hot sun, on the hot pavement, no water, nothing. I have a very
bad temper when it comes to animals. I will always protect an animal over a human. It is hard, but this is the way I am. I hope, other people are getting the courage also, nobody does anything to them on the day light, he have to be very determend.
If everyone just would be a little be aware of the pets, than it would be a happy envirement.

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janie knetzer May 24, 2013 at 3:09 am

Amen Gigi. Good for you and keep up the great work for our defenseless four-legged friends. :o

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Paul May 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I disagree with the statement “the police woman . . . she was not to bright, but you dont have to to be working as a police officer, ”

I’m not a particular fan of the police. They receive a lot of training and are at least as bright as the average citizen, they are understaffed to perform the thankless job of trying to make people obey the laws that their legislators enacted, which means that they have to prioritize everything that they do. Pet safety is “way down that list. Their second limitation is that they can’t do anything unless it’s clear that there’s a law on the books in their locality that’s been violated – after the fact.

If you are passionate about protecting dogs from heatstroke due to uninformed pet owners, carry a copy of your areas animal abuse laws, a copy of an article from a vet magazine on heat stroke in dogs, and mail them with a respectfully-worded cover letter to the mayor and chief of police in your town. Put a copy of them in your glove compartment, so you are likely to have them with you when you next see a case of animal abuse.

If you live in an area with no animal protection laws, contact your state representative and congressman at their local office. Basic animal protection laws are an easy win for most politicians – no one wants to be seen as against protecting pet animals. Having laws on the books can help in the most egregious cases, but the publicity associated with passing a pet protection law can actually do more good than the law itself, by rising public awareness.

BTW, if your vehicle has an operable sunroof, opening it and partially opening the side windows is the most effective way to limit heat buildup in a vehicle. Reflectix panels applied to the rear side windows and solar circulating fans can be very effective when ambient temperatures are below 80 F on a vehicle not parked in direct sunlight. When camping, a tarp over the vehicle, but not in contact with it, can drop the temperature in a ventilated car by 20F during the day.

And when you are traveling to places that don’t welcome pets, please LEAVE THEM AT HOME. A lonely pet is better than a dead one.

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