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 sunburns 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.
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.
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.