It’s almost the middle of summer here in Southern Arizona, and it is getting hot. Yesterday the high was 100º F, which is far too hot to be wearing a fur coat. I can cool myself off by stripping down to shorts and a tank top, but my furry friend doesn’t have that luxury. In this article, I’m going to share with you my favorite tricks for keeping my pooch cool during the summer.
Get Them Wet
Anyone who’s ever been in wet clothes knows that even on a hot day the slightest breeze can chill you to the core. It’s basic thermodynamics: as the water evaporates off your body, it takes plenty of your body heat with it. As human beings, we don’t have to dump a bucket of water over heads to achieve this effect, we just have to sweat; but since dogs can’t sweat, they need a little assistance from us.
If your dog likes to swim, and you have a pool, let them go for a dip, then put them in a shady place where they can catch a cool breeze. I actually don’t have a swimming pool, so I just gently pour water over my dog until her fur is soaked. Within a few minutes, I can tell she’s a lot cooler. She looks more relaxed and doesn’t pant as heavily. This is hands down my favorite method.
Give Them Plenty of Ice Water
Giving your dog plenty of water on a hot day is a no brainer, but don’t forget the ice cubes! When you’re hot, you reach for the coldest drink in the fridge because no one wants to drink hot water on a hot day, and neither does your dog. Don’t give them too much water, though. One ounce of water per pound of bodyweight is the ideal amount per day; however, it’s okay to give them a little more than that on hot days.
A word of warning: You may have heard that it’s actually better to drink hot liquid on a hot day rather than cold liquid. This is true for humans, but not for dogs. It works for humans because the hot liquid makes us sweat more, which in turn cools us down. Since dogs can’t sweat, hot liquid is just going to make them hotter, so don’t try that with your pup.
Crank the AC
Whether you’re just lounging around the house or going for a ride in the car, don’t forget to blast the AC. You might be tempted to save a little money on electricity because you can tolerate being in a room that’s 90º F, but your dog can’t. You have to remember, your body temperature hovers around 98.6º F, but your dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 102.5. However hot you feel at a given moment, your dog feels even hotter.
Limit Walks and Playtime to the Early Morning and Evening
I try to give my dog as much exercise as possible in the early hours of the morning so she’s not tempted to run around during the middle of the day. It’s simply too hot outside during the afternoon, and she could easily cause herself to overheat. Similarly, when the Sun starts to set, I’ll take her back outside for a second round of playtime.
Give Your Dog a Haircut
I don’t cut my dog’s hair because she already has very short hair and sheds a lot, but if your dog has a long, thick coat of fur, you should give it a trim during the summer. My mom used to do this for our sheepdog every summer. However, you should never shave your dog because canines can easily get sunburnt. Experts recommend leaving at least one inch of fur to protect them from the Sun.
Keep Them Out of the Dog House
If your dog has a dog house, they may be tempted to go in it to get out of the sunlight, but this is a bad idea. Most dog houses don’t have any kind of ventilation, so they’re basically just ovens. Instead, if your dog likes being outside, keep them in a shady place with plenty of air flow. My dog likes to go under the crawlspace of house where it’s nice and cool because the air can move freely.
Learn the Symptoms of Heatstroke and Dehydration
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, you need to act fast. Get them out of the heat and give them plenty of water as fast as you can.
- Abnormally heavy panting
- Dry nose and mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Vomiting and diarrhea