How to keep your dog cool (even on the warmest of days)
Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature like we humans can. And because of this, vets see many cases of heat stroke during the summer months. Lots of these are very serious and some end in tragedy. The worst thing about this is that heat stroke is avoidable if you know how to look after your dog in the warmer weather.
So here are our top 10 tips to keeping dog cool during warmer weather:
- Circulate cool air
At home, open the windows, turn on a box fan or keep the air conditioning at a reasonable temperature. Your dog then has a lovely cool place to relax indoors if it’s hot outside.
In the car, make sure the air conditioning is on or the windows are open. And of course have plenty of water with you and take regular breaks for fresh air. Better still if you don’t need to go on a car journey avoid until a cooler part of the day.
- Offer them a cool mat
At home, lay a cool mat where they like to lay indoors. Good quality cool mats like the one shown below, stay at a temperature that is 5 to 10 degrees lower than your dog’s body temperature and keeps your pet comfortable and refreshed, absorbing the heat from your dogs body. This cool mat does not require refrigeration and can even be used outside if kept out of direct sunlight.
On holiday, in the car, or if you take your dog to work, these cool mats are a great way for you to stop worrying about your dog over heating and wipeable if they get dirty too.
- Leave a bowl of cool water out for your dog to drink from
It’s an obvious one but you should check your dog’s water bowl regularly and fill it up whenever it’s low or gone warm. If you take your dog for a long walk, please remember to pack water and a travel bowl to ensure he doesn’t overheat and suffer dehydration.
- Try giving your dog cool snacks
If you are at home or out in the garden try giving your dog a few ice cubes to lick or freeze one of his favourite chew toys. Our black Labradors love diluted gravy ice cubes, where I make very weak gravy then top it up with cold water and freeze into ice cubes. I never have to worry that she won’t eat them!
- Buy your dog a cool coat or vest
If you know you are going to be outdoors, maybe your dog comes to work with you, or you are away on holiday, then a cool coat is a perfect solution. Cool coats, designed well like this one shown below, can last all day as they can be reactivated with water (even a dip in the sea whilst at the beach works!). They work by evaporation, as it dries it keeps your dog cool.
- Keep dogs out of conservatories and greenhouses
Conservatories, garden rooms and greenhouses get dangerously hot even when it may only feel mild and a little sunny outside. Bear in mind that there are no cooling breezes inside these sun traps and they magnify the heat.
- Never leave dogs in a parked car
Another one we all know but sometimes we think just a couple of minutes is okay. It’s not! The process of sunstroke can start even after a minute. Temperatures inside cars can reach astronomical levels on a warm summer’s day, and it can take just 15 minutes for a dog to start overheating.
- Choose a cool time to walk and exercise your dog
Make sure your dog doesn’t play too hard while in the sun, as despite them looking like they enjoying it they will struggle to cool down afterwards.
During hot spells walk them early in the morning or later in the evening, making sure they take breaks between playing. This is where point 4 and the gravy ice cubes come in handy! Also be careful with swimming. Swimming in a safe place can be fun but overdoing it can cause exhaustion, low blood sugar and ‘swimmer’s tail’ where the tail can be painful or immobile. This can happen particularly if your dog isn’t a regular swimmer.
- Check the temperature of the pavement
On very warm days, there is a risk the pavement may be too hot for your dog’s paws. It’s worth checking the tarmac before you head out for a walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If that is the case stick to grass.
- Ensure there’s a shaded spot
If there are no naturally occurring shaded spots in your garden, or even in your house, create one by placing some cloth or cardboard over an area to keep the sun out. You’ll see your dog move towards that when they become too warm.
- Use a paddling pool
This is a great solution if your dog likes water but remember to test the temperature. It takes a lot longer for water to warm up than it does the surrounding air. When water is too cold it can cause dogs to become hypothermic and you could cause them the opposite problem.
And most of all once you’ve set your dog up to be comfortable and safe in the warmer weather, enjoy it! We don’t get enough 😊