Taking Care of Your Dog in the Hot Weather
As we swelter through the summer months, it’s important to remember that our faithful companions need to keep cool just as much as we do, sometimes even more so. As we are often in control of their environment, the responsibility falls to us to make sure our pets don’t overheat. This blog will focus on dogs, but most of these tactics will work for all of our pets that spend time outside.
There are some very commonsense things we can do to monitor and care for our pups, and some techniques you may have not considered. Hopefully, you’ll find some helpful tips to make it through the heat!
An obvious first step to keep your doggo cool, but some things to keep in mind: Shade moves throughout the day, so make certain your pet can still find shade when needed. A tarp or screen can create a more permanent shaded area, and a thermometer placed in the shade can tell you how truly hot it is and whether it’s a good time to get your buddy inside.
Access to cool, clean water is essential in the hot weather. Dogs should be drinking as much as an ounce of water per pound of their body weight each day, and that’s without the excessive heat. So your beautiful 70 lb. black lab needs around a 2-liter bottle worth of water daily, if not a good deal more. Ice in their water bowl is a nice touch. If you’re out and about, always carry water with you.
3) MOVING AIR
On the real “dog days” of summer (pun intended), there’s no breeze. So make one! A big box fan will go a long way to making the air move, which is important to help your pup cool by evaporation. But since dogs don’t sweat much, you can help by wetting down your buddy first…
4) KEEP ‘EM WET
There are so many ways to give your dog much needed moisture: Hose ‘em down, a wet towel, a water mister, even a dip in the pool. Just remember that cool water is great, but ice cold water might be a shock to your pup’s system.
5) PROTECT THEIR PAWS
Concrete and asphalt can be a great deal hotter than the air. A good rule of thumb: Place your hand flat on the ground. If you can’t take the heat without discomfort, neither can your pet. Some dogs will accept wearing booties if need be, but if not, best to avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces. Wait until later in the day, or find a grassy area for your dog to enjoy.
6) LOOK OUT FOR HEATSTROKE
If you’re pup is showing any of these signs of distress in the heat, they may have heatstroke, which is a serious medical emergency:
- Excessive panting
- Excessively tired / weakness
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid heartbeat
You’ll want to cool your dog down immediately. Move them to a shaded or air conditioned area, and put cool wet towels on your pet. No ice, though, as you don’t want to shock their system. When they are able, give them cool water to drink. A trip to the vet immediately thereafter to check their vitals is highly recommended.
Hope these tips were enlightening. Enjoy the summer!