The summer heat can come on hard and fast here in Australia, and before you know it the sun is high in the sky and we are left scrabbling for the nearest ice lolly.
But whilst us humans have the advantage of sweating it out, imagine not having that luxury, as well as being covering a layer of fur? Not fun.
As responsible pet parents, it is our job to make sure our canine companions are properly cared for as seasonal temperatures rise. Which is why it’s imperative you know how to keep your dog cool in summer, how to help regulate their body temp and avoid dreaded heatstroke.
Luckily, there are a whole host of things we can do to keep our dogs healthy and happy during the sunnier months. In this blog we will take you through some of our top tips for keeping your dog cool in the heat, ensuring that summer is full of fun and adventure rather than numerous vet trips!
Why is it so important to keep our dogs cool in the summer?
Dogs struggle to dissipate heat, as they are unable to sweat and therefore have to try and cool down by panting, as well as releasing heat through their nose and paw pads.
Particularly in extreme temperatures, dogs can really struggle to cool themselves down, resulting in heat exhaustion and sometimes heat stroke.
It is our responsibility as pet parents to be proactive in learning how to cool down a dog in hotter temperatures to avoid further issues.
Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs
Heat exhaustion is essentially the early stages of heat stroke, and so knowing how to intercept this and recognise dog overheating symptoms can stop things from developing into a more dangerous stage.
Identifying the early and more developed signs of heat stroke in dogs is vital to catch it quickly. Dog heat stroke symptoms include:
- Excessive panting is usually the first symptom to occur, as this is a dog’s best arsenal for cooling themselves down
- Reddening of the gums
- As heat stroke progresses, the dog may become dizzy or disoriented, even causing them to collapse
- Their heart and respiratory rate may increase
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- They may even experience muscle tremors or seizures.
If your dog is displaying significant signs of distress from heat, consult your vet immediately.
7 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Cool In Summer
So, how can we stop your dog from getting poorly in the summer sun?
There are LOADS of things that responsible dog owners can do to keep their pups safe and cool when it gets warmer. Here are 7 top tips for keeping your dog cool in summer:
Wet their coat- What is one of the first things we want to do when we get too hot? …Have a cold shower and sit in front of a fan - and this applies to pups too! One of the best and simplest ways to keep your dog's body temp down is to wet their coat, especially around the head, neck and chest, and place them in front of a fan. This direct attack on body heat is a quick and effective way to cool things down and help out panting pups, and as we’ve mentioned - knowing how to cool a dog down fast is super important in combating heat stroke.
Put ice cubes in their water - In addition to ensuring your dog has constant access to a water source, you can boost the benefits of a quick drink by adding some ice cubes into their water. The water will keep cool, and the ice cubes when melted keep water levels up, and playing with ice cubes is also a super fun and stimulating activity for your dog.
Freeze some treats - Think doggy ice lollies! Consider popping some of their favourite treats in the freezer, or even branching out to make your own puppy popsicles. There are an abundance of frozen dog treat recipes online to choose from which can give dogs a delicious and stimulating activity that also keeps them cool - it’s a win-win!
Check pavement temperatures before taking them for a walk - Knowing how to keep dogs cool outside is paramount, as they will still need walks even when Mother Nature decides to turn the oven on. If you can, try and take your dog for walks in grassier areas to stop their paws from overheating or burning. But if you only have access to concrete areas, be sure to check the temperature of the ground before taking your dog out.
Monitor activity level - Dogs love to run and play, it’s in their nature. However in hotter temperatures they can wear themselves out and cause more harm than good. Whether you are taking your dog out for a walk or keeping them indoors for playtime, be sure to monitor how much activity they are doing, as well as offering them the opportunity for regular rest and the chance to cool down.
A top tip for keeping your dog cool indoors is to make sure they have their own private place to keep cool, preferably on hardwood floors, in a well-ventilated area with access to water, away from direct sunlight and maybe even with a fan to sit in front of. You can also consider investing in a cooling mat, with specialised technology that is often activated by your dog’s weight.
Only go outside in the early morning or at night - The time of day that you take your dog out makes a huge difference. Outside temperatures tend to be at their lowest in the morning and at night, and so taking your dog for their daily walk around these times can help reduce the risk of too much sun and heat exposure.
Extra hydration methods- Proper hydration is number one when it comes to surviving the sun. You can increase your dog’s water intake through offering them water-dense foods such as watermelon and other fruits, as well as soaking their food in extra water or gravy.
BONUS TIP- We all know the risk that hot cars pose to dogs, and in extreme temperatures the dangers soar to new heights. Knowing how to keep a dog cool in a car is something all pet parents should learn - things like letting the air conditioning cool the car down before your dog gets in, keeping sunshades on the windows, and opening windows for proper ventilation will help your dog keep cool on their four-wheeled adventures.
NEVER leave your dog in the car during hot temperatures; if you are going somewhere that isn’t dog-friendly, your pup will always be safer just keep in a cool place at home.
In order to keep your canine companion happy and healthy during the warmer weather, it’s really a case of being attentive to your dog’s body signals and making sure you have proactive measures in place to keep them cool.
So, keep an eye on the sky, track daily temperatures and make sure to limit the amount of time your dog spends outdoors in the direct heat.
Additionally, consider throwing in some tasty frozen treats for extra stimulation - especially useful if you’re not taking them on such long walks.Lastly, don’t forget that good health begins in the gut too. So to help ensure that pep remains in your pup’s steps, check out our complete nutrient blend Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22, created specifically to provide missing micronutrients, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and to support general gut health.