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Surviving the Summer Heat: Keeping Your Dog Cool and Safe

How to Help Your Dog Survive the Summer Heat

When it comes to helping your dog survive the summer heat, there are several key steps you can take. Here’s a quick overview of what we’re going to cover:

  • When it’s too hot to go for a walk
  • How to tell if your dog is too hot
  • Ideas for how to keep dogs cool outside
  • Answers to frequently asked questions related to summer heat and dogs

What Is the Temperature That Is Too Hot to Walk a Dog?

According to the American Kennel Club, a good rule of thumb is that if the thermometer reads 85°F or higher with no chance of cooling down, odds are the pavement will be too hot for a dog. At the same time, the temperature that is too hot to walk a dog can vary depending on various factors, including the breed of the dog, humidity levels, and individual health conditions.

As a general guideline, it's a good idea to avoid walks during the hottest parts of the day, particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is especially true if the thermostat reads 90°F or higher during those hours! Then again, even at lower temperatures, it's important to consider other factors like pavement heat.

Check the pavement with your hand - if it's too hot for you to keep your hand on it for more than a few seconds, it's likely too hot for your dog's paws.

How to Know If Your Dog Is Too Hot

Knowing if your dog is too hot is crucial to prevent overheating or heatstroke. Look out for the following signs that indicate your dog may be struggling with the heat:

  • Excessive panting: Dogs regulate their body temperature through panting, but if it becomes excessive or more rapid than usual, it could be a sign of overheating.
  • Excessive drooling: Increased drooling beyond the normal amount may indicate your dog is too hot and trying to cool down.
  • Lethargy/weakness: If your dog appears unusually tired, weak, or is having difficulty standing or walking, it could be a sign of heat exhaustion.
  • Bright red tongue and gums: Check your dog's tongue and gums. If they appear bright red or even purple, it may indicate overheating.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea: Heat stress can sometimes cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Disorientation or confusion: Heatstroke can affect your dog's mental state, causing disorientation, confusion, or even seizures.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to act promptly. Move your dog to a cooler, shaded area, offer cool (not cold!) water for them to drink, and dampen their body with cool (again, not ice-cold) water. Remember, prevention is key, so be vigilant and take steps to keep your dog cool and comfortable in hot weather.

Tips to Cool Your Dog Down

A cool dog is a happy dog. If you want to cool your dog down and keep them cool all summer long, here are a few things you can do:

Give them shade

If your dog gets too hot, they need a shaded area to retreat to. This can be under a tree, a canopy, or a well-ventilated shelter. Shaded areas are important to protect them from direct sunlight and help lower their body temperature.

Offer plenty of fresh water

Want to know how to keep dogs cool in the summer? Hydration is key! Keep your dog well-hydrated by providing a constant supply of cool, clean water. Consider using a pet fountain or adding ice cubes to the water bowl to help keep it cooler for longer.

Use cooling mats or towels

Invest in a cooling mat designed for pets or use damp towels for your dog to lie on. These help dissipate heat from their body and provide a cooling effect.

Set up a kiddie pool or sprinkler

If your dog enjoys water, set up a shallow kiddie pool or turn on a sprinkler in a safe area. This allows them to cool off by playing or wading in the water.

Avoid hot pavement and intense heat

When walking your dog, stick to grassy areas or walk them during cooler times of the day to prevent their paws from burning on hot pavement. You may also want to avoid intense physical activities or stick to indoor activities that are less strenuous to prevent overheating.

Frozen treats and toys

Freeze dog-friendly treats or toys in water and offer them to your dog. It provides a refreshing and engaging way for them to cool down while enjoying a tasty treat.

Commonly Asked Questions

To close things out, here are some of the most frequently asked questions we see:

How long should I let my dog lay in the sun?

It's important to exercise caution when allowing your dog to be in the sun. While some dogs enjoy sunbathing, it's best to limit their exposure, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Monitor your dog closely and give them plenty of access to shade and water. If your dog shows signs of discomfort or overheating, such as excessive panting or seeking shade, it's time to move them to a cooler area.

Do dogs cry when they are too hot?

Dogs may not cry in the same way humans do when they are too hot. However, they can exhibit signs of distress or discomfort. Excessive panting, restlessness, or exhibiting signs of physical discomfort are just a few signs to keep an eye out for.

Can heat stress a dog out?

Yes! Heat can stress a dog out and even lead to serious health issues such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Dogs are more susceptible to heat-related problems due to their limited ability to cool themselves. High temperatures and humidity can overwhelm their cooling mechanisms, leading to stress on their bodies. That’s why it's so important to take precautions to prevent heat stress by providing shade, water, and avoiding excessive physical exertion in hot weather.

If you suspect your dog is experiencing heat stress, heatstroke, or any other heat related illness seek veterinary attention immediately.

How can I tell if my dog is overheating or suffering from heatstroke?

Signs of overheating in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, bright red gums or tongue, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, and even seizures.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to heat-related issues?

Yep! Brachycephalic breeds (i.e. Bulldogs, Pugs) with shortened snouts have difficulty regulating their body temperature and are more prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Dogs with thick coats, elderly dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions are also generally more susceptible to heat-related issues.

Can I leave my dog in the car for a short period during summer?

No! Leaving a dog in a car, even for a short period, can be extremely dangerous during summer. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, even with windows cracked, leading to heatstroke and potentially fatal consequences for the dog. It's always safer to leave your dog at home or find dog-friendly establishments where they can accompany you.

What are some outdoor activities or exercises that are safe for dogs in hot weather?

Any outdoor activities during hot weather should be done with caution. You can opt for activities like early morning or late evening walks when temperatures are cooler. Swimming or playing in shallow, cool water can also be a great way for dogs to stay active and cool. Read our post “Tips for if (or When) Your Dog Swims in Chlorine Pools” for some helpful ideas for fun and safe pool days.

Are there any specific precautions I should take when taking my dog to the beach?

Yes! When taking your dog to the beach, ensure their safety by providing constant supervision. Some dogs may need a life jacket, especially if they are not strong swimmers. Rinse off your dog after swimming to remove saltwater from their coat, as it can irritate their skin. And, bring fresh water for them to drink, as drinking saltwater can lead to dehydration. Read our post “How to Plan the Best Dog Beach Trip” for more tips and ideas.

If your pet gets anxious around a lot of people, or just wants a space to retreat to while out enjoying some fun in the sun, you could also bring your Enventur Travel Kennel along with you! Not only does it provide shade, but it’s also a well-ventilated shelter that is perfect for your pups while they hang out outdoors!

Keep Your Pup Cool for the Summer

By following the essential tips provided, such as avoiding walks during the hottest times of the day, recognizing signs of overheating or dehydration, and taking breed-specific considerations into account, you can help your furry friend stay cool and safe. Remember, proper hydration, shade, and monitoring your dog's behavior are key to ensuring they have a comfortable and enjoyable summer season. Keep these guidelines in mind and enjoy the summer months with your beloved canine companion. We also recommend reading our post How to Have Safe Summer Adventures With Your Pup.

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