As much as we welcome the sun and fun at Peppy Pooch, it’s important for us to remember that the high temperatures can have a major effect on our dog’s health. Canines can easily get overheated because the only ways they release heat is by panting and through a limited number of sweat glands between their toes. Here are some useful tips to help keep your pets cool in the heat.
Dogs’ fur coats and lack of sweat glands mean that they overheat more quickly than humans. If you have to travel with your dog in the car, keep a spray bottle filled with water close by to spray your pet’s fur in order to retain a low body temperature. Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle. On a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can climb up to 115 degrees within an hour. Even with the windows down, a dog can easily overheat if left in these conditions.
Take fresh water for your dog when you go out. Always have a portable bowl and water bottle ready so that your pup can drink up even when you’re both on the go.
Remember, your pup’s paws can be as sensitive as the soles of your feet so avoid walking on hot surfaces like asphalt. If the asphalt’s too hot for you to walk on, chances are it’s too hot for your pup too. On a walk, try to alternate between asphalt, sidewalk, and grass so that your dog’s delicate paws don’t get overheated. If your dog is particularly sensitive, cover his paws with pet booties so he can stroll comfortably.
Supply lots of fresh, clean water. Some dogs get a bit finicky with their water if there’s an odd scent in the bowl or if it’s been warming up in the sun for a while. Keeping a fresh, clean supply of H2O in your dog’s dish will ensure that your pup drinks more often and stays hydrated. Try this neat trick to maintain a constant supply of fresh water:
Take a large plastic bottle with a lid and fill partially with fresh water. Use two elastic bands to attach it upside down to a chair or table leg just above your pet’s bowl. When you then unscrew the lid the water will fill the bowl rapidly but as soon as the water reaches the tip of the bottle it stops.
As your pet drinks, water will naturally fill the space of air left behind so that the bowl always remains full. Add ice cubes to the water in the morning to keep it cooler for longer.
Generally speaking, if it’s hotter than 85 degrees, leave your dog at home. Going to the beach and sitting out all day in the sun is something we humans enjoy, but it can leave pooches severely dehydrated. Even if you feel like the heat is bearable, remember, when dogs are exposed to moderately high temperatures over an extended period of time, their bodies might be unable to cool down.
Don’t overexercise pets. Dogs don’t always know their own limits. If you can tell your dog is breathing more rapidly or having some trouble chasing after a ball, slow things down and allow him to cool off. Outdoor activities are great but, instead of playing in the blazing afternoon sun, try tossing a ball around as the sun is setting. Your dog’s tongue also helps to regulate their body temperature. Keep tennis balls in the freezer ready for games of catch. Whenever they catch the ball in their mouth, they’ll be cooled down from the inside out.
Get him a cooling vest. If it’s really warm, a cooling vest with cold packs built into the sides will make sure your dog stays comfortable and cool even on a long hike.
Apply sunscreen to your dog’s fur and skin. Despite their furry coats, dogs can still be exposed to and damaged by UV rays. Coating their fur and skin in doggy UV protectant sunblock will help prevent burns and keep them healthy. This is particularly important if your dog has white ears.
Let your dog stand in a cool pool. Aside from panting, dogs cool down through the sweat glands in their paws. Having them stand in a cool pool of water or giving them a quick foot soak can help lower their body temperature. It can also be helpful to put some cold water on your dog’s chest. Never use ice to help your dog cool down, as it may lower their temperature too quickly and constrict blood flow, which will actually inhibit the body from cooling.
Cooling mats are a great way to provide some help with cooling off while your dog relaxes. Peppy Pooch cooling mats are pressure activated and start to work as soon as your dog lays down. As soon as your dog gets up off the mat, it will start to recharge itself ready for the next use.
Walk during cooler times of the day. Simple adjustments to your dog’s daily routine can help keep them from being outside during the hottest hours. Switch walking times to early mornings and evenings; that way your pup still gets the exercise he needs with less risk of overheating. Although often our pets’ appetites wane in the hotter weather as they are less active and don’t use as much energy. Tempt their appetite by freezing your pet’s food with water in ice cube trays to make pet-friendly, hydrating treats.
Provide proper outdoor shelter. Does your dog like to spend his days in the yard? Whether it’s an awning that he can lie down under or a tree he can rest beneath, make sure your dog has a place to get out of direct sunlight.
We hope you enjoy the rest of the summer as much as we will here at Peppy Pooch, and we hope these tips help you and your pooch keep cool.