Fact: dogs love summer. For them, it’s a magical season filled with all-day barbecues, hours of playtime in the park, and overnight camping trips under starry skies. But it can also be an extremely dangerous time for dogs, especially with the heat wave that’s blanketed the entire northern hemisphere this week. Plus, dogs are so patient and happy to be alive all the time that it’s not always immediately obvious that your canine buddy is suffering from something as life-threatening as over-heating. As such, it’s crucial to keep in mind the following tips to keep your dog cool in hot weather. And for more on your favorite pup, check out 19 Things Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You.
First, Learn the Signs
It’s easier to tell if your dog is sick than if he’s too hot, so it’s crucial to be aware of some of the signs that he’s sending that show he’s a bit overheated.
The most obvious one is heavy panting, but other signals include dry gums that become pale, drooling, a fast pulse, diarrhea, and vomiting. If the dog is panting very rapidly, and then the breathing slows down, he needs to be given water and taken into a cool place immediately, as he could go into a seizure or coma and subsequently die.
If you want to be extra-safe, you can also invest in a rectal thermometer to check his temperature. A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5º Fahrenheit, so if it’s 103º F, it means he’s getting overheated, and anything above 106º F means he needs to be taken to a vet immediately.
Invest In a Doggie Water Bottle
Keeping him hydrated is an obvious tip that bears emphasizing. And rather than waiting to get to a particular location where you can give him a bowl of water, it’s best to carry some around with you via a portable dog water bottle and offer him some every fifteen minutes while you’re outside in extreme heat.
The doggie water bottle is especially good for dogs who aren’t great at keeping themselves hydrated, as it turns the process of drinking water into a fun game. You can also add ice cubes to the water in his water bowl, but make sure not to give ice cubes to a dog that’s already overheating as it may shock his system. And to find out the scientific reason you love your dog as much as you do, check out Here’s the Age When Cute Puppies Are At Their Cutest.
Make a Paddle Pool
Nothing cools a dog off quite as well as hanging out in some cold water. If you’re outside, let him waddle around in a nearby lake. If you’ve got a house with a backyard, you might want to invest in a little wading pool where he can literally and figuratively chill. At home, you can fill up the bathtub with some cold water and kill two birds with one stone by giving him a bath as well. At minimum, there’s also the option of taking a cold, wet towel and pressing it to his neck, under his armpits, and between his hind legs.
Always Provide Shade
And we don’t mean sunglasses. When it’s super hot and sunny out, the best times to walk the pooch are in the early morning hours and in the evening, when the temperature is at its lowest. If you find yourself outside in the peak hours of sunlight, it’s important to provide shade, whether it be in the form of a tree, a bench, or a picnic table. If you’re in a place where those aren’t available (like the beach), you should invest in an umbrella ($22) or cot canopy ($3) for your BFF. Speaking of shade, check out the disapproving faces in our 50 Corgi Facts That Will Make You Want a Corgi.
Keep Them Slim
Fat dogs may look cute, but obesity causes a range of serious problems for dogs. And, just like humans, heavier dogs are more prone to having a hard time in hot weather. That’s why, in the summer, it’s especially important to make sure your dog is at his ideal weight, and to put him on a diet if not. To find out more about how to perform a body condition test on your dog and help maintain the proper pet nutrition, check out this video with the “hot viral vet” Doctor Eric Mueller.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!