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Summer is a season of fun and adventure, but for our fur babies, it can also be a time of sweltering heat and discomfort. As the sun blazes and temperatures soar, it's essential to be your dog's cool, caring companion.
In this guide, we've rounded up the top tips to help you keep dogs comfortable, safe, and tail-waggingly happy throughout the scorching summer months. From refreshing treats to shady retreats, let's explore the ultimate strategies for a summer filled with cool dog vibes.
Dogs have limited ability to regulate body temperature makes them vulnerable to heat-related issues, including the risk of heatstroke. With only a few sweat glands in their paw pads and thick fur that can trap heat, dogs can overheat rapidly, leading to dehydration, burned paw pads, and heat stress.
As they tend to be more active in the warmer months and spend a lot of time at beaches, providing them with shade, plenty of water, and other means of pet cooling in hot weather is crucial to ensure their well-being and safety amidst the summer heat.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, happens when the body temperature rises due to environmental factors rather than illness, and it can happen even in temperatures as low as 21°C and above. At this state, the body’s heat-release system could no longer keep up with the internal temperature.
Dogs also experience heatstroke, especially during summer. But unlike humans, they can’t directly tell you if they’re feeling ill or too hot. So, it’s up to us to notice the following dog heatstroke signs:
Once your dog exhibits these heatstroke signs, immediately reduce their body temperature through the following pet cooldown tips:
Prevention is better than cure.
Before your dog starts panting, convulsing, and experiencing heatstroke from all the heat, here are top tips for keeping dogs cool and safe in summer:
Starting our list with the most important ingredient in keeping pets cool at home—water!
Hot weather and physical activities can cause fluid loss through panting and paw pad sweating, often leading to dehydration. Thus, ensuring dogs have access to fresh water is crucial during summer, as they require water for temperature regulation, digestion, and overall health.
If it’s too hot to go to the beach, summer fun and cool can still be within your reach!
Water activities like playing with sprinklers and hoses and swimming in paddling pools are safe and fun alternatives for your dog to escape the heat. Since dogs dissipate heat through their paw pads, these activities are quick means to cool them down.
Dogs exposed to hot weather are susceptible to heatstroke, a severe and potentially fatal condition. Hence, it's advisable to schedule your walk before or after the peak sun hours, typically between noon and 2 p.m.
But even if you set your walk at cooler times of the day, always include plenty of water in your MAMA dog bag to keep your fur baby hydrated.
Leaving your dog in a parked car is like putting them inside an oven.
According to research by the Arizona State University and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, dashboards of cars parked under the sun can reach about 70°C after an hour. At this temperature, dogs would likely suffer from burns and hyperthermia.
So, if you plan to travel with your dog during summer, make sure dog seat belts are securely fastened, but never, even for a moment, leave your dog in a hot car.
Apart from keeping fur babies fashionable, some dog accessories help in keeping dogs cool and safe in summer. For instance, a dog harness is better for brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds as it doesn’t impede your dog’s breathing and panting.
You can also use bandanas and hair bows to keep your fur baby’s hair out of sight and well-organised, allowing more air to reach the skin. Cooling mats or vests also help regulate your dog’s body temperature.
Regular grooming helps your dog stay comfortable in the heat. While it's important to trim excess fur, avoid shaving double-coated dogs completely, as their hair serves as insulation from both cold and sun.
During hot months, protecting your dog's paws from hot pavements is vital, as these can cause burns and discomfort. Opt for grass or cooler paths when possible, or use dog booties as a protective barrier. These precautions ensure your dog's paws stay safe and comfortable during walks.
Dog-friendly ice treats provide a refreshing respite from the heat and a fun and tasty way for dogs to stay hydrated. Here are some treats you might want to make or buy:
If you notice any signs of discomfort in your dog due to the heat, use a rectal thermometer and a lubricant to see if your dog’s temperature is still within the normal range of 38.3 to 39.2°C.
It’s usually fun to see dogs run around and chase anything interesting. But during extremely hot and humid weather or days with temperatures above 20°C, it’s best to encourage fur babies to rest, especially overweight dogs and dog breeds with thick fur or flat-face, as they're 16 times more likely to experience heatstrokes.
If they really can't remain calm, have dogs use puzzle feeders or play mind games that do not require much movement.
Keeping dogs cool and safe in summer is essential for their well-being and happiness. By following these top tips, you can keep your fur baby safe, comfortable, and ready to enjoy the sunny season to the fullest. Your thoughtful care will make all the difference in keeping your dog cool and content during the year's hottest days.