Beat the Heat: Creative Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer

August 09, 2023 in Dog

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor fun in the sun, from barbeques to swimming, to lying in a hammock and enjoying the breeze. But while we're enjoying the sun, it's important to remember that our pets might also need cooling off.

Beat the Heat: Creative Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer

Dogs especially need attention when it comes to staying cool. They're covered in fur and often active outside in the heat, making them susceptible to overheating or heatstroke.

But hot weather doesn't mean your pup has to stay indoors all day. There are many creative approaches to keeping your pet cool and comfortable all summer.

How do dogs cool down?

While it might not seem like it, dogs have ways to cool themselves down. First, panting is the easiest and most effective way for a dog to regulate his body temperature. Panting cools a dog's mouth, nose, and tongue, which cools its circulating blood and keeps its body temperature normal.

You might also wonder do dogs sweat, and the answer is yes - though not like humans. Because they're covered in fur, dogs don't have sweat glands on their bodies. Instead, they have them in their paw pads. And while they do sweat through these glands, a dog's sweating doesn't cool her body as much as panting does.

What are signs of overheating?

Even with these cooling methods, a dog can overheat in warm weather. That's why looking for creative solutions to keep your dog cool during those long, hot summer days is a good idea.

Watch your dog carefully for any signs of overheating. These might include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive panting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Warm to the touch
  • Gray, purple, or blue gums/mouth

If your dog displays any of these symptoms, getting help is crucial. Contact emergency vet services as soon as you can.

How to keep dog cool in summer?

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your dog is just like you; he needs adequate hydration to stay cool and comfortable. Provide multiple water stations for your dog around the home, which can encourage more drinking. Urge him to drink water before and after going outside and put water in his food for a little hydration boost.
  • Keep exercising to a minimum on hot days. We know it can be tough to tell your dog "no" to running outside when he has the energy to burn. But when it's really hot outside, allowing your dog to sprint or play hard is not wise. Instead, if he needs to get outside, opt for a short walk early in the morning or late in the evening once the temperature has gone down.
  • Use a kiddie pool for quick relief. Who doesn't love a trip to the pool in the summer? Many dogs love a refreshing dip when they're feeling warm, and a kiddie pool can be a great option for dogs of all sizes. If possible, keep the pool in the shade for added heat relief.
  • Create a cool space. You can purchase many dog-specific cooling items, but sometimes it's as simple as a wet towel. You can easily create a cool space for your dog by putting a cool - not ice-cold - towel in their crate or bed. This will help them cool off safely while lying down. Use a misting spray bottle to cool water on their paws or chest. You can also wipe their face with a cool towel occasionally.
  • Keep air flowing with a fan. Airflow is key for cooling off. If you have a ceiling fan, your dog will appreciate the movement while they relax in their crate or bed. Even a simple rotating fan can do wonders for airflow and comfort.

Start with the basics if you're wondering how to cool down dogs. Water, staying indoors, and a cool towel are often the most effective means of keeping a dog comfortable when the temps soar.

Questions about your dog's health in the summer - or any time of year? Contact us at Forever Vets. We'd love to be part of your dog's health journey.