Unlike humans, dogs pant to stay cool and only sweat through their foot pads.
Have cool clean water available. Ceramic and concrete bowls stay cooler longer than metal ones. Have more than one drink bowl available, they might knock them over! You can add chicken stock or juice to the water if your dogs aren’t big drinkers. Adding ice will keep it cool longer. I drop Bosco’s toy in and when he retrieves it he guzzles the water!
Cooling mats, vests, and collars. These are usually full of cooling gel and are squishy. The mats are much more comfy than nice cool tiles, and the vests and collars are great for dogs who don’t want to stay still. Supervise extra close if your dog is a chewer!
Playing in sprinklers. Running through the sprinklers is a great cool way to get some exercise in. Do it while watering in the early hours or the late evening.
Shade and shelter. They should have access to a well ventilated area. Have you noticed that an undercover area can become stifling when there is no airflow and the ground heats up? Invest in a mister on a timer (like the ones they have in cafes) which doesn’t use much water and can decrease the temp significantly. Hang a tarp in a cooler area so a breeze can help, and entice them there with treats. Don’t forget to account for the moving sun.
Don’t dress them up. Putting clothes on them increases their changes of heatstroke, and their well being should be your priority over making them look super cute.
Wading pools. These only need to be deep enough for them to get their feet and belly wet. If someone is around to supervise then fill it up as much as they enjoy! Ensure it is emptied or protected if kids have access, let’s keep everyone safe. If you are sharing your pool make sure the dogs know how to get in AND OUT safely.
Keep dogs groomed. If your dog is the type to need regular trims, summer is perfect to go short-but keep in mind this exposes their skin to the sun. For dogs who shed, brush them daily to get rid of all that extra weight just sitting there. I brush mine daily and swear I could build a new dog every second day!
Avoid walking on hot pavement. Early morning or late evening are the best times for walks, exercise and playtimes to avoid the extreme heat.
Don’t leave dogs in hot cars. Even with the windows down, and even if you’re parked in the shade, and even on a slightly less hot day. Dogs can succumb to heatstroke within minutes. Take them somewhere they can come in but leave them home while you get your milk and bread.
Change their food. Add extra water to their food to avoid dehydration. Puy their Kongs and LickiMats in the freezer, it’s cooler and it will last longer! Make your own frozen treats-I freeze a muffin tin with water and treats. Add a string in to hang the frozen treats!
Know the signs of heat stroke: excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhoea, collapsing, loss of coordination or mental dullness.
You can download this as a PDF here.
Canine Mobility Specialist