Your dogs don't regulate their body temperature the same way your human family members do. When the temperature starts to climb in the summer, use these 5 helpful tips to keep your dog cool and comfortable.
1. Bring Dogs Indoors
Even if your dog would prefer to play outside all day, limit his or her exposure to the elements during the summer. Heatstroke occurs in a dog when his or her temperature reaches 109 degrees Fahrenheit, which can occur quickly during the hottest days of the year.
Monitor your dog while he or she is playing outside. Bring him or her in if you notice signs of overheating or heatstroke, such as:
- Excessive panting
- Lethargy or weak muscles
- Difficulty walking
- Elevated heart rate
2. Create Access to Water Outside
Even if your dog stays inside most of the day, he or she will still need to go outdoors to toilet and play. To keep your dogs cool, provide them with an outside water source, such as a bowl or dish.
Consider investing in a pet water fountain, which allows your dog to access water that hasn't been sitting out in the sun and isn't exposed to insects or mold. If you have a sprinkler system, set it up so your dog can run through the spray and cool off (not to mention snag a few sips).
3. Run the Air Conditioning System
Don't turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house to run errands or go to work. Your dogs need A/C just as much as you do, and depriving them of cool air during the summer could have long-lasting consequences.
If you keep your dogs in an enclosed area of your home, consider turning on a ceiling or box fan, as well. The "breeze" will help your dogs cool themselves while they await your return.
4. Offer Cool Treats
If your dog starts to overheat, help him or her with the cool-down process by providing an icy treat. Simple pet popsicles, for example, help bring down your dog's internal temperature when the mercury skyrockets.
You might also drop a few ice cubes in your dog's water dish to cool down his or her beverage of choice. Remember that dogs can eat certain fruits, as well, so pop an apple or strawberry in the fridge for a couple hours, then share it with your pooch.
5. Avoid Humidity
Dogs are particularly sensitive to humidity because they rely on evaporation to cool their bodies. When humidity levels soar, make sure they have constant access to water as well as a cool place to rest.
If your dog shows signs of overheating, fill a plastic bag with cool water, then drape the bag over his or her abdomen. Don't use an ice pack, as you don't want to cause a sudden decrease in your furry friend's internal temperature.
6. Separate Dogs by Physical Condition
Certain risk factors make some dogs more susceptible to heat sickness. These include:
- Advanced age
- Illness or injury
To prevent heat-related issues in your home during the summer, separate dogs with risk factors from their healthier brothers and sisters. For example, if you've just brought home a new puppy, separate him or her from your older dog when it gets hot.
This way, your physically fit dog won't attempt to play with your other animal and potentially cause trauma. This is particularly important when you take your dogs outside during the heat of the day.
Make sure your air conditioning system is ready for summer—both for your sake and for that of your four-legged family members. If your air conditioner needs servicing, it is best to do this before the temperatures get too hot.Share