When the warm weather of summer arrives, we love to venture outside and soak up the rays. Naturally, you want to bring your dog with you during your summer adventures, but you must always keep in mind that dog's do not respond to heat the same way we do. Dogs generally have a difficult time cooling down after being exposed to temperatures above 80°F for an extended period of time. Here are some of the "Do's and Don'ts" of keeping your pooch cool and happy this summer.
Do: Walk/exercise your dog during the cooler hours of the day.
Morning and evening are the best times to walk your dog during the summer months. The hot air, sun's powerful rays and hot asphalt or concrete can all factor into your dog overheating during summer walks. Try to keep your dog on the grass or try walking him on trails whenever possible during the summer.
Don't: Overexert your dog this summer.
Dogs often don't know their limits, especially if chasing their favorite toy is involved. They may push themselves to far, therefore it is up to you to watch for signs of overheating. If you notice your dog seeking out shady spots and lying down, it is their way of telling you it's too hot to keep playing. Other signs of a dog that is too hot include excessive panting, back that is warm to the touch, fatigue, dizziness, thick saliva, or diarrhea.
Do: Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water.
Make sure your dog's bowl is clean and has not been sitting out in the sun all day where bacteria can grow in a dirty bowl. Continually fill your dog's bowl with fresh, cool water. The water should not be freezing as this can cool him down too quickly, shocking his system.
Don't: Force your dog to drink.
Never force your dog to drink water, even if he appears dehydrated and doesn't seem to be interested in his bowl of water. Pouring water into your dogs mouth can lead to him sucking it into his lungs and chocking. Instead, if your dog will not drink, try gently wetting his tongue. Use your hand or a cloth to soak his tongue and see how he responds.
Do: Use wet towels to cool your dog down.
The towels should be cool, not freezing cold, so your dog's temperature drops slowly. The best spots to place these towels include your dog's paws, forelimbs, groin, ears and neck. If you do not have towels, you can wet your dogs paws, forelimbs, ears or neck with room temperature water.
Don't: Shave your dog to combat the heat.
If your dog has long hair, a short trim can help cool them down, but a full on shave can lead to additional problems. A dogs fur provides insulation and helps regulate his temperature. A fur coat not only keeps them warm in the winter, but helps to keep them cool in the summer. It also protects him from UV rays. Like us, dogs can get sunburns and skin cancer, so be sure to always keep your dog's fur short and brushed, allowing proper air circulation.
Bonus cooling tip:
You can share your ice cream cone treat
with your dog (as long as it's not chocolate, of course), but we don't recommend giving him too many licks as you may have an unwanted mess to clean up!
If you walk outside with your dog and immediately feel the heat, you can bet he feels it too. While spending time outdoors during the summer months is a great source of exercise and fun for all involved, being aware of your dog's potential for heat exhaustion and how to deal with it is necessary for all dog owners.