10 Quick Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool as the Summer Heats Up!
It’s summer time in Florida and that means it’s starting to heat up! Personally I like to stay indoors where the air conditioning can keep me a nice chilly 72 degrees. I avoid the sun like a vampire and the beach is something better seen through pictures and t.v. shows. I realize I’m in the minority however and most Floridians worship the sun, beach, and all things warm, so here are 10 quick tips to keep your dog cool as the summer heats up!
1. Know The Needs of Your Breed(s)!
If your fur baby has a cute smushy face they probably can’t be out in the heat very long! In fact these 8 breeds have a very low tolerance for heat and can be at risk for heat stroke. Due to their short noses and compressed upper respiratory systems these breeds are inefficient panters, which means that they’re unable to cool themselves as effectively as other dog breeds:
- Bulldog (English or American)
- Shih Tzu
- Boston Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2. Never Leave Them In The Car!
Cars in Florida are basically ovens, they magnify the heat. A car with a window cracked in 80 degree weather can reach temperatures of over 110-120 degrees in less than 30 minutes. If you can’t bring your fur baby into wherever you’re going with you, keep your dog cool at home with the A.C. on.
3. Check the Pavement – Save Your Fur Baby’s Feet!
We never really think about how hot the Florida streets and sidewalks get because us humans wear these funny things on our feet called shoes! On a 90 Degree day the asphalt can reach temperatures of over 150 degrees!!! So here is how you can check: Place the palm of your hand against the pavement, if you can’t comfortably do this for 7 seconds then your dog can’t either. So what can you do? Go for walks in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t as hot, or avoid the asphalt and stay in the grass!
4. Keep Them Hydrated!
Healthy dogs should be consuming 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. So a 64lb Dalmation should be consuming approximately a ½ gallon of water per day. Staying hydrated in the hot Florida sun is a great way to keep your dog cool and cannot be overstated! If your dog won’t drink you can try giving them an ice cube to lick in your hand or adding ice to their water bowl!
5. Bring a Collapsible Water Bowl With You!
If you plan on walking more than a block or two with your pup during the hottest part of the day bring a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of ice cold water! You can find them at almost every pet store these days and most of them come equipped with a carabiner clip so that you can hook it to your belt loop or backpack.
6. Set Up a Kiddie Pool!
Another great way to keep your dog cool as the summer is in full swing is with a kiddie pool! You can find plastic kiddie pools at many local stores like Wal-Mart, Target, or even Ace Hardware for $10-$20. These pools are quick to fill and shallow enough for most dogs to wade in without being completely submerged. This is a great way to have some summer fun keep your dog cool when the sun heats up. Make sure to dump the water each day so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitos and store it somewhere that the wind won’t carry it away during one of our Florida thunderstorms.
7. Make Some Tasty (Dog Friendly) Frozen Treats!
Fur babies love desert too! They just can’t always have the same deserts that WE eat. Here is a tasty treat that you can make for your pup to cool them off as the summer heats up: Peanut Butter Banana & Honey Pupsicles!
8. Proper Summer Grooming Routines
Knowing your breeds’ coat type is very important to getting the correct trim for the summer! Some breeds are long haired and are perfectly fine being cut short for summer but others are “double coated” which means they have an undercoat that insulates them from the heat or the cold and cutting this can ruin it for a very long time. A double coated dog’s undercoat actually protects it from the damaging UV Rays of the sun! So what can you do for a double coated dog in the summer? Brushing helps tremendously! I have found a rubber brush like the “KONG Zoom Groom” brush to be great for getting through the top coat and gently massaging the dead undercoat follicles out.
9. Watch For Warning Signs of Heat Stroke
Did you know there are varying levels of panting? Well most dogs begin panting with a slightly open mouthed light pant, but as their body temperature increases you will notice them move to a fully open mouthed pant with fat swollen tongues. When you notice this type of panting make sure to get them into the shade or inside in the A.C. if possible. Excessive drooling is also an early warning sign that will alert you to get them indoors as soon as possible. If you notice your pup being lethargic, increased heart rate, or vomiting these are signs of extreme heat distress.
10. Find Fun Creative Ways To Keep Your Pup Cool
If you are going through every Floridians nightmare (Air Conditioning went out! AHHHH!), or you just can’t take your pup inside, you can still find creative ways to keep your dog cool! Always find the shadiest spot possible. Water is key! Soak a towel and lay it out for them to lay on, dogs love cool spots for their bellies. You can also try putting a fan behind a tray of ice which will blow cool air as the ice melts and evaporates!
Using any of these techniques will keep your dog cool, safe and comfortable during the hot dog days of summer!