The fiercest days of summer are often referred to as “dog days”, an expression that dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era. Despite what the term might suggest, dogs aren’t equipped with the same defenses against summer heat as we are. While we release heat through the evaporation of sweat, dogs sweat from only their paws and nose, and primarily manage their temperature by panting. That’s why it’s important to keep our canine companions cool on particularly hot days. Here are our top 6 methods to do just that.
Photo: Pet Health Network
Keep Them Hydrated
It may seem obvious, but making sure your dog remains hydrated is crucial on a hot day. Dogs cool themselves with air circulation by way of panting, which in turn dehydrates them. Be sure they always have cold water to drink throughout the day. Place their water bowl in a shaded area so it doesn’t get too hot. You can even throw a few ice cubes in there for good measure.
Keep Your House Cool
On brutal summer days, roof coverage can be a godsend. The inside of your house provides sanctuary for our four-legged friends to escape the brute force of an unforgiving sun. Air conditioning is always an effective method, but there are other ways of maintaining a chill environment in your home:
- Close your windows during the day and open them at night.
- Block the heat by closing blinds and curtains.
- If you have a ceiling fan, put that baby on full blast.
- Ever laid on a tile floor? Dogs do it all the time and for good reason. Tile floors are essentially cooling pads for the home.
Walk Them in the Morning and Evening
You know when you’re barefoot at the pool and the concrete burns the sole of your feet? Dogs are not impervious to that sensation just because they have paws. In fact, their paws are quite sensitive to hot surfaces and can suffer severe burns if conditions are met. One of the best things about summer is the days are longer. Use that extra daylight during the wee hours of the morning and before sunset when temperatures are cooler to walk your dog. Otherwise, be sure to:
- Stick to grassy terrain for the sake of your hound.
- Provide shade for your dog to relax in.
- Gauge the intensity of heat with your bare foot. If the ground is too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your dog.
Get Them in the Water
There are few things in this world more gratifying than a taking a dip in an accumulated water source. Usually dogs are down with it, too. Whether it be in the ocean, a lake, a kiddie pool or straight from a hose, it’s a great way to cool down on a scorcher. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, you should always keep an eye on them when they’re in the water. Dogs are not particularly built to be swimmers so be prepared to act as lifeguard if necessary. Bonus tip: bring shampoo with you, so you can squeeze in a bath with playtime.
Photo: CENTRO INTEGRAL VETERINARIO
Freeze Things for Them to Enjoy
It’s been proven time and again, whether it’s in our drinks or pressed against our skin, frozen things are awesome. Your taste in frozen foods might differ from your dog, but the sensation is pleasing all the same. Get creative with what you choose to freeze:
- Treat your pup to a peanut butter pop or low-sodium chicken broth frosty.
- If your pantry is barren, most dogs will enjoy a plain ice cube or two as long as you don’t shove them down their throat – don’t do that.
- You can use icepacks or a bag of frozen vegetables to help them unwind.
- Amazon carries a wide selection of cooling pads for dogs.
- Pro-tip for Serious Dog Lovers Only: Get a t-shirt wet and place it in the freezer. Once it’s nice and frosty, put it on your dog. That way, the word “cool” serves as a double entendre.
Let a Groomer Adjust Their Fur Settings
In some cases, it may be necessary to get your dog a trim. However, you must take caution when altering their natural coat. Much like their coat protects them from the cold in winter, it also protects them from the heat. When dogs shed, they leave just enough of their coat to allow a breeze while still protecting their skin from sun rays. If you penetrate this layer of fur, they won’t likely be very happy with you! Leave it to the professionals and get a groomer. 🙂