It’s summertime!! We love heading outdoors in the warm weather and taking our canine friends with us. But we need to make sure that we keep our pups (and ourselves) cool to prevent exhaustion, dehydration, and heatstroke. Here are our five best tips for keeping your dog healthy even when it’s roasting outside.
Watch when you exercise
When you exercise matters for both you and your dog. Weather apps can now give you an hour-by-hour breakdown of the temperature throughout the day. According to pupford.com, any temp over 80 degrees creates the potential heatstroke in your furry friend. And when it gets to 85 degrees, it’s not a good time for prolonged outdoor activity. On hot days, get outdoors in the early morning hours or when it cools down in the evening. Keep an eye on the humidity as well. If it’s too high, your pup may not be able to pant enough to cool themselves off.
When you do go out, do a feel test to make sure your pup’s paws won’t get burnt. If you put your hand on the ground and it’s too hot after 5 to 7 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws too. Better to wait until later or use doggie booties to protect her skin.
Take breaks and stay hydrated
Dogs can tire out or dehydrate quickly in the heat. It’s important when you’re exercising them to take lots of breaks, preferably in the shade. If you’re out walking your dog, www.preventivevet.com suggests taking a break every 15-20 minutes. If you’re doing something more active, take breaks more frequently. And make sure you take enough water for both you and your dog.
There are several ways to tell if your dog may be dehydrated including excessive panting, sticky gums, and lethargy. You can also do a skin test. Pull gently up on your pup’s skin on the back of his neck. If it snaps back immediately, your dog is sufficiently hydrated. If it stays tented, your dog needs more water. Don’t let Fido drink too quickly as it can cause bloating. You can put a couple of ice cubes in his water to help cool it down and slow his drinking.
Get in the water
Water play is a great way for dogs to cool down on hot days. It can be something as simple as turning on the sprinklers in the backyard. If you’re swimming in a pool or heading to a lake, Lazy Dog Loungers® take water cooling to a new level. Our rafts are stable enough for dogs to get on and off by themselves, as well as durable and puncture-resistant. They’re semi-submersible so dogs can remain cool while floating on the water, and each one has an easy tie-off loop to keep your canine friend close. Lazy Dog Loungers® will make your time in the water easy and fun for both you and your dog.
Set Up Outdoor Shade
When water is not an option, make sure your dog has plenty of options for shade. It can be as simple as sitting him under a big tree. If there are no trees in sight, patio umbrellas and pop-up canopies provide a good solution. To pamper your pet, consider a portable “pup tent”. There is a wide selection of tents made just for our furry friends, and some come with elevated cooling beds to circulate air under your dog to help keep him cool. One thing to note: dog houses are not good places for your dogs to cool off. Due to lack of airflow, your dog can easily overheat if he stays inside too long.
Prep your dog’s coat for summer
Make sure you groom your dog appropriately for the summer. Mats and tangles in your dog’s fur can make them hotter. Talk to your vet about appropriate options for grooming your dog's fur to different lengths. According to pets.webmd.com, “The extra fur that keeps them warm in winter may also keep them cool in summer.” Also, shaving their fur too short can leave them without sun protection.
And finally, If you’re ever unsure about your pet’s behavior or health, contact your vet immediately.
We hope we’ve given you the info you need to have a healthy, happy summer with your dog. Remember, have fun and stay cool!