Hello pet parents and dog lovers! It’s getting pretty warm here in Michigan, along with most of the northern hemisphere. It’s very important to make sure that you help your dog stay cool this summer!
An Important Note:
Most veteran dog owners know the basics, but in case this is your first summer with your new furry friend let’s go over some basics! First I feel it’s important to note that dogs’ internal temperature is higher than that of us, sitting around 101-102.5 F. This is important to know, because if you take your dog’s temperature and it’s at 103F they are running a fever. Once they hit 106F it is critical to seek medical attention for them! What I go over in this article will help you to make sure that this scary situation doesn’t happen to your dog.
Ways to Keep Them Cool
Stay Inside with the AC: I start with this because it does seem to be the most simple way to keep cool. If temps are reaching severe temperatures I would advise staying within the reach of air conditioning. However, not everyone has access to AC or some dogs simply do not like being inside for long periods at a time.
Groom/Brush Your Dog Regularly: As a dog groomer, I have to cover this. Single coated dogs (shih Tzu, poodle, Yorkie. Etc.) can be shaved but I do recommend leaving enough fur on to help prevent sunburn. If you do shave these dogs, make sure to find doggie sunblock so their skin is protected. When it comes to double coats (think husky, malamutes, labradors etc.), do NOT shave them! Not only does it ruin their coat, but thes coats are designed to help your dog regulate their body temperature. If you take it away, it makes it harder for them. Most groomers will not shave these breeds, unless recommended by the dogs veterinarian for health issues. For these breeds, make sure to brush them frequently to help them release their undercoat. If you are having trouble, wash them in dog moisturizing shampoo and conditioner (yes, they make conditioner for dogs!) to help loosen that coat to make it easier to brush.
Now that we’ve covered some basics, and we are ready to be outside, here are some ideas to keep them comfy while you enjoy your summer! I’m not an affiliate, so there will be no links to products. Make sure to read all reviews on the products you purchase!
Provide Some Shade:
There are some human and dog products that help. If you have space in your hard, portable canopies and portable sun shades bring comfort to both you and your dog. These can be rather large, and a fun smaller option would be a shaded pet cot. These are typically elevated with a mesh cloth in the middle to help air circulate and keep them cool. A few tips are to place these on cooler surfaces like grass instead of concrete and you can even put a container of ice under it so they feel cool.
Lots of dogs love water, and there are some fun options out there to keep them entertained and cool. There are plenty of small dog pools that are great options! There are also fun toys to put at the end of a hose: spinning sprinklers and also toys where they have to push a pedal to get the water to come out. If your dog isn’t active, there are fans that spray out a cooling mist that they may enjoy more.
Now be careful not to let your dog drink too much water! Too much water consumption at once can make your dog sick, as it can throw off their sodium levels and can also cause bloat.
Along with the misting fans I just mentioned, there are other options if your pooch isn’t very active. Cooling mats are great to place in some shade, and there are cooling blankets as well.
Out on the Go:
If you and your dog enjoy walking and adventuring this next part is for you! These are great portable options to help you carry water and bowls for your pup. Remember what I said earlier; you can accidentally give your dog too much water! Space out their water consumption so they don’t drink too much at once. There are also cooling vests and collars out there, where you get them wet and it helps the dog remain cool. Dogs do not sweat, so these vests act in this way for your dog!
While on the go, make sure to cover up your dog’s paws. Although they are built to withstand being able to walk around on natural elements, they are not made to withstand human made pavements like concrete or especially black top with how hot they get. It may take your dog time to get used to, but a good judgement is if it is too hot for you to walk on it is a good possibility that it may be too hot for your dog. Take time helping your dog get used to shoes little by little, because trying to put them on then go on a long walk or adventure for the first time may not be the best way to help your pup get used to them.
I mentioned this above, but if you are taking your dog out in the sun consider if they may need some doggie sunscreen. Even if your dog may not need it all over, consider the belly area that may not be as much fur, around the muzzle or tips of the ears. Anywhere where the fur may not be able to fully protect the skin. If your dog has white short fur I could use it all over per the directions on the product that you purchase.
Now You Are Ready to Take on the Heat!
I hope this article helps you find the best way to keep your pup cool! My last dog Abigail was a Saint Bernard, so keeping her cool during summer was crucial (But try getting her to come in during the winter…that’s a different story for a different time).
Enjoy your summer and stay cool my friends!