6 Tips on How to Keep Dogs Cool in Summer

dog panting outside

There’s so much to enjoy in the summertime! Unfortunately, many people don't let their dogs in on the fun because they're worried about the extreme heat and more. Good news! Your four-legged friend can enjoy the great outdoors if you follow these six key tips for keeping dogs cool and safe.

1. Keep your dog hydrated

Keeping dogs cool in summer requires keeping plenty of water on hand. One of the easiest ways to keep your dog cool and hydrated is to carry a portable, collapsible water bowl and bottles of cold water. Make sure your dog drinks water every hour. If he starts panting excessively, get him into the shade and offer more water right away.

2. Get your dog wet

One way to keep your dog cool during outdoor gatherings is to allow him to swim or do other water play activities. Always check out the gathering venue ahead of time to determine what water options are available for your dog. It's also a good idea to bring a few old towels along to dry your dog after he plays.

3. Keep your dog out of the midday heat

Avoid exercising with your dog on those hotter days, and if you must, at least avoid the midday hours or anytime it seems too hot for yourself. When going for a walk, avoid hot asphalt that can burn your pet’s paws, keep running to a minimum, and bring plenty of cold water to keep your dog cool.

4. Keep your dog out of a parked car

With all the tragic stories in the news, this should go without saying — but you should never ever leave your dog in a parked car, not even for a moment. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131°F-172°F when it’s 80°F-100°F outside.” Even with the windows cracked, temperatures rise quickly – hot enough to cause irreversible organ damage or even death.

5. Keep your dog out of the dog house

Dog houses aren’t safe in hot weather, because they block air flow and trap the heat inside. If your pet is outside, be sure to keep him or her in the shade when possible, with plenty of water on hand. You can add ice to their water bowl if it’s especially hot to help keep your dog cool when he’s outside.

6. Know the signs of heatstroke in dogs and what to do

Heatstroke is a serious hazard for dogs on hot days, especially those who are very young or old, or not in good health. Watch for the following signs of heatstroke in your dog:

  • Excessive panting and salivating
  • Obvious discomfort
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

If you see any of these signs in your dog, move him or her into a cooler environment right away and call your veterinarian. You can use ice packs and give your pet some cool water to alleviate the condition until you get to the veterinarian’s office.

Many of the complications from heatstroke do not begin to appear until several days after the incident — but prompt veterinary care can potentially prevent or treat some of these complications.

So, when you and your four-legged best friend head out this summer, remember these important tips for keeping dogs cool outside. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for yourself!

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