5 Essential Tips to Beat the Heat With Your Pet Dog
Summertime's here. You're probably more than ready to share sunny days outdoors with your furry best friend. At the same time, remember that dogs can suffer from dehydration and heatstroke even faster than people.
When it comes to summertime heat, care for your dog like a small child or elderly person. Younger and older people may get dehydrated and overheated quickly. They don't always feel aware enough of mild symptoms to communicate discomfort before the issue grows severe and sometimes even life-threatening.
Five tips to help you and your pet dog stay cool
The way dogs primarily regulate their body temperature through panting, not sweating, makes them generally more susceptible to hyperthermia, or heatstroke, than people. According to the SPCA, some breeds or individual dogs may feel overheated faster than others, just as some people appear able to endure high temperatures that would swiftly drive others into the shade. Flat-nosed, double-coated, overweight, or older dogs may struggle more with warm temperatures than other dogs.
Tip 1: Stay hydrated
Dogs and people should have constant access to a supply of cool water. Drink before you feel thirsty to help cool your body and avoid dehydration. Naturally, you should also ensure your pet has frequent access to water. You can buy a collapsible dog bowl or a special attachment for a water bottle to make it easier for Fluffy and Fido to enjoy a refreshing drink.
Tip 2: Plan trips outside during cooler periods of the day
Schedule walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Try to stay inside or keep the ventures outside short during peak sunshine and heat. If your schedule includes an outdoor activity in the hottest part of the day, consider investing in some portable shade to bring along. For instance, manufacturers make special sun shelters for dogs.
Tip 3: Bring along frozen treats
Frozen treats don't just feel refreshing on a warm day. The chill can also help reduce body temperature. Bring a small cooler with ice or homemade popsicles to share with your pet. Also, frozen watermelon, apples, and blueberries can offer welcome relief. Note that your dog can safely enjoy many kinds of popsicles, especially when they’re homemade. Be wary of store bought popsicles, as some may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that humans tolerate but dogs cannot.
Tip 4: Know how to spot heat exhaustion in dogs
Dogs can't express discomfort or distress in words. It's up to you, as a pet parent, to pay attention to early signs of heat exhaustion. At first, your dog might pant or drool excessively and behave lethargically. That means you should get your pet out of the heat fast. More severe symptoms could include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of urine, or muscle tremors.
Tip 5: Make a plan to cool off during outdoor exercise
If you want to train your dog outside in the heat, make it easy for both of you to cool off. For instance, you could run the sprinkler over the track or enjoy running on a breezy beach.
Also, if the surface of the sidewalk or other terrain feels too warm to touch with your hand, it's too hot for your dog's tender paws. Some companies also make special dog booties to help protect their feet from the heat. You might also pair those booties with a special cooling hat for dogs.