Summer is one of the happiest times of the year. Kids are out of school, the sun is shining, and the beach is calling. The biggest hurdle that comes with the summer is the heat. With the sun beating down on you and your pup, the heat can really get to you, so it’s important to stay cool.
How do you stay cool when the sun feels like it’s going to melt you? More importantly, how do you keep your four-legged friend cool? Have no fear; we’re here to help you learn how to keep your pup cool and relaxed during the summer months.
How Do Dogs Keep Cool?
Unfortunately, dogs aren’t like people when it comes to keeping cool during the summer. Humans have the ability to sweat, which keeps us cool. When we sweat, the sweat evaporates off of the body, keeping our skin cool. It’s a pretty neat way of expelling heat. Our canine companions, however, don’t have that option. They do have ways of regulating their body temperature, though.
Dogs Do Sweat, But Not Like Us
Dogs have the ability to sweat through their paws, but that’s the only place that they can sweat from. Their paw pads are a good way of understanding what they’re feeling, in terms of temperature, though. If their paws are hot, it’s likely that they’re probably feeling the heat all over, too.
Panting Keeps Dogs Cool
Have you ever seen your dog breathing heavily after a long walk or after some intense play? This heavy breathing, called panting, is a dog’s only real way of maintaining their body temperature on their own. They breathe heavily, bringing in air that’s cooler than their body temperature to cool down the rest of their bodies. This works, but not as efficiently as sweating works for humans.
It’s also important to realize that not all dogs have an easy time panting, either. Dogs with short snouts tend to have respiratory issues, and this can make panting difficult. When panting becomes difficult, the pup has a harder time cooling off their body. Understanding how to keep these pups cooled off is incredibly important to their health since they have a harder time doing it themselves.
On really hot days, you’ll often find your canine companion spending their time outside in the shade. This urge to sit in shaded areas is a way for your pup to maintain a cooler temperature overall without panting. Laying in the shade, being relatively relaxed, is a way for them to stay cool.
The temperature you feel sitting in the shade can be anywhere from ten to 15 degrees cooler than in the sun. There’s a reason the hottest days of the year are called the dog days of summer, and why it’s best not to be in the sun on those days!
How You Can Help Keep Your Dog Cool
When the heat starts getting to you, you can be certain that it’s getting to your dog. They’ve got that thick coat of fur, after all, and no way to keep themselves as cool as we do.
Here are a few ways of keeping them cool during the warmest days of the year:
Dog Cooling Vests
The title of our article and one of our favorite ways of keeping a pup feeling fine are dog cooling vests. Dog cooling vests are the best way to make sure a dog’s body temperature stays where it needs to be. These accessories work in an interesting way, very similar to sweating.
Typically, a dog cooling vest is made up of several layers that are lightweight and breathable. The layer that touches your pup’s skin stays dry, so chafing and matting can be avoided. The layer on top of that, though, is absorbent and soaks up water when placed in it.
Then, the outer layer is breathable and allows the water to evaporate rapidly. The result? A cool vest that keeps your pup’s overall temperature lower.
When you’re looking for a cooling vest for your four-legged friend, be sure to find one that is lightweight, breathable, and machine washable. Keeping these doggie vests clean is important, as they’re constantly covered in water and worn by your pet. The last thing you’d want is a grungy, mildewy cooling vest.
Set Up a Shaded Area Outside
If you’ve got a yard and your dog spends any time out there with you, make sure that you set up a dedicated shaded spot for them to sit under. As discussed previously, one of the ways that dogs cool themselves down is by seeking shade, so make sure some is available.
You can very easily accomplish shaded spots by setting up small tents or awnings. The fixtures don’t have to be permanent since they’re really just for the season.
Get a Kiddie Pool
Your pup will thank you for getting them a kiddie pool! On particularly hot days, set up a kiddie pool with cool water and have some fun with your four-legged friend in the water. Be aware of how much water they consume, though. You don’t want them to drink too much, as it can cause some stomach problems for them.
In addition to a shallow kiddie pool, you could also consider setting up a sprinkler. Yard sprinklers give your dog a physical and mental challenge and can provide a ton of enrichment during the hot summer days.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Water, Add Ice
Contrary to popular belief and old rumors that have swirled around the internet, ice is not bad for your pups. Some rumors on the internet have perpetuated the false belief that ice can be deadly for dogs, but that’s entirely untrue. In fact, ice in moderation and in your dog’s water is a fantastic way to cool your pup down.
Just like with a person, don’t provide ice to a dog that’s too hot. If you suspect that your pup is overheating, be sure to contact a vet right away. Additionally, don’t give ice cubes to dogs that are avid chompers. It can be hard enough to damage their teeth.
Keep Their Coats Summer Ready
If you’ve got a dog that normally has a long coat, be sure to keep it trimmed and brushed. A trimmed coat can help your dog immensely in terms of keeping cooler in the summer. This can only be done for dogs with single coats, however. Trimming a dog with a double coat isn’t recommended. Be careful not to shave too closely, as this puts them at risk for sunburns and overheating.
For dogs with double coats, like Huskies and Corgis, regular brushing is important, and it can help remove the winter coat that they’ve got. This improves airflow to their skin and keeps them cooler overall.
Keeping your dog cool during the summer is important. Whether you’re lounging around in the backyard or hitting the hiking trails in your area, consider getting a nice cooling vest for your pup! And, of course, always keep your four-legged friend hydrated.
Enjoy the summer with your canine companion!