Keeping Dogs Cool in Summer

When summer heats up and we are excited to get out and enjoy the weather, we love taking our dogs along with us! As the temps rise, we have the following tips to help keep your pups cool in the heat.

If you are walking with your dog- try to walk either early in the day or later in the day to avoid the highest temps of the midday. Always carry plenty of water for your dog and a travel bowl. There are also cooling vests that your dog can wear. These vests get dunked in water, and since dogs can’t sweat on most of their body, the water acts as sweat and evaporates off your dog, keeping them cooler. Keep in mind that humidity will not be the best place for the cooling vests. 

Don’t shave double coated dogs. Dogs like German shepherds and golden retrievers actually stay cooler with that undercoat that helps to insulate them from the heat. One place we do recommend to shave is the fur off paw pads and sometimes clipping their belly fur shorter. Dogs can only sweat through their feet- shaving paw pads allows them to evaporate that sweat quicker and keep them cool.

If your dog does happen to get hot, it is important to know the signs of doggie heat stroke. The symptoms of heat stroke in a dog involve panting, drooling, agitation, bright red tongue, very red or pale gums, increased heart rate, trouble breathing, and vomiting. Be on the lookout for these signs and contact a veterinarian if you are concerned. It is also a great idea to have a doggie first aid kit along in your car and easily accessible in case of accidents while out and about. There are many pre-made dog first aid kits that you can buy, but great items to make sure you have and know how to use are emergency vet numbers, gauze, tape, tweezers, gloves, towel, antibiotic ointment, allergy medicine, to name a few. 

Summer is a great time to get out with your dog, and now that you know how to keep them cool the heat won’t slow you down! However, dogs do need to get conditioned to be able to tolerate heat. Some breeds, especially those with shortened faces common in the bully breeds (think boxers, boston terriers, bulldogs, and some pitbull-type dogs), are at an additional disadvantage because they are physiologically less able to cool down.  So, if your dog hasn’t been out walking in the heat, start with shorter walks, walk in the shade, or head out at the cooler times of the day. Also, try to avoid sidewalks and pavement and head out into nature instead. Grass and shaded trails are going to be a lot easier on their paws than a hot sidewalk.

Explorers: If your dog is new to summertime adventures, be sure to start out small and during a cooler part of the day. 

Growers: Your dog has built up some conditioning so they can handle more strenuous exercise even when it is a bit warmer. Try a longer walk or an adventure to a nature park! 

Challengers: Get ready for an adventure! Head out for a hike, go for a swim, and get those steps in!