Leaving your furry friend in a hot environment with poor ventilation is the immediate cause of heatstroke. Heatstroke is life-threatening and can cause seizures, collapse, coma, and death. Consequently, most canine parents are left wondering, “What are the best ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather?”
The best ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather include hydrating it, prioritising cool and shaded areas, going for walks during cooler hours, and using cooling mats or beds. These tactics are especially important for dogs with thick or long fur and the elderly with respiratory issues.
In the rest of this article, I'll discuss the signs of overheating in dogs. I'll also discuss the best ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather for maximum safety and comfort. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Signs of Overheating in Dogs
Unlike humans, dogs have fewer sweat glands confined to the nose and foot pads.
Moreover, our canine friends have higher body temperatures and less ability to cool down. These factors predispose them to severe health problems if not cooled adequately in hot weather.
That said, dogs regulate their body temperatures through panting. However, this approach is highly inefficient, especially in hot weather. Therefore, it's your responsibility to look out for the signs of overheating in your furry friend and take the necessary measures.
The common signs of overheating in dogs include the following:
- Excessive panting: Dogs can't regulate their body temperatures by sweating. Therefore, they pant to circulate cool air through their bodies when it gets hot. Although it's normal for dogs to pant, heavy panting (hyperventilation) may be a sign your dog is coping with a chronic health problem or is overheated.
- Drooling: When your pup's body temperature rises, it may start salivating more than usual to cool down. You may notice the dog getting wetter, with drool around the mouth and chin.
- Increased heart rate: A rapid heart rate may mean your furry friend is overheating. Normal heart rates vary with the dog's age. Puppies (less than 1 year old) should have between 120 and 160 beats per minute, small dogs 100 to 140 beats per minute, and medium to large dogs 60 to 100 beats per minute. Therefore, if your canine's heart rate is higher than normal in hot weather, take the necessary actions to cool it.
- Vomiting: Heatstroke can cause vomiting due to pressure on the stomach from excessive panting and dehydration.
- Lethargy: An overheated dog may appear more tired than usual and be less responsive to commands.
- Difficulty breathing: Breathing challenges are particularly evident in flat-faced dog breeds like French bulldogs and pugs when it gets hot. You may notice the dog's mouth wide open and desperately attempting to pant.
- Seizures: Seizures are the worst-case scenario of heatstroke. Therefore, you should seek immediate veterinary care if you notice your pup having seizure episodes.
The 5 Best Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
Now that you know the telltale signs of overheating in dogs, let's discuss the best ways to keep your pup cool and safe during summer.
1. Keep It Hydrated
Just like humans need water to stay hydrated and healthy, our four-legged friends also require plenty of fluids in hot weather.
While our bodies are 60% water, a dog's body is 80% water. As a result, dogs need more water than us for survival.
That said, a dog needs an ounce (0.03 litres) of water for every pound of weight daily. This means a 10-pound dog needs 10 ounces (0.3 litres) of water daily. But your pup may require more than that during hot weather, depending on activity levels and size. Therefore, always have fresh and clean water available for your furry friend to stay hydrated throughout the day.
A good rule of thumb is to ensure the dog receives small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Some tips for hydrating the dog include:
- Keep plenty of fresh water in its bowl
- Take your pup with you when running errands and stop to offer it some water when necessary
- Let your pup take frequent breaks during walks, hikes, or physical activities to cool down and drink some water.
2. Provide Shade and Ventilation
Dogs need sufficient shade in hot weather.
Due to their fur coats, dogs are at a higher risk of overheating in hot weather. Unfortunately, they lack internal cooling mechanisms like sweating, which humans have. Thus, providing shade and ventilation for your furry friend is one of the best ways to keep it cool in hot weather.
While shade prevents excessive panting that leads to dehydration, sufficient ventilation helps the dog cool down naturally. You can open doors and windows for a fresh breeze.
Alternatively, you can fabricate a cooling shade for your furry friend using a tarp or similar material in your backyard or balcony.
Remember to monitor the temperature since some shaded spots may get too hot in summer.
3. Provide Plenty of Cold Treats
Cold treats are an excellent way to cool your pup while keeping it hydrated.
You can give your dog a delicious homemade frozen treat made with some of its favourite ingredients, like pureed pumpkin, yoghurt, or banana.
Alternatively, you can purchase store-bought ice cream and frozen treats specially formulated for dogs. Just make sure to avoid hazardous human food.
Consider carrying some of these treats to cool your pup on the go.
The Sweetie Dog Treat Bag comes in handy since it has a collapsible travel Dog Bowl with a carabiner and a FREE Clicker.
4. Only Go for Walks in Cooler Hours
One of the best ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather is by avoiding direct sun as much as possible. However, this can be challenging, especially for exercising dogs that need regular walks.
A good way around this challenge is to shift your pup's outdoor activities to cooler hours.
Early morning and late night walks are ideal as these times have a much lower temperature than mid-day.
Additionally, if you must take your pup out in the middle of the day, ensure it takes frequent breaks every few minutes or when necessary to hydrate.
Expert Advice: Remember to avoid hot pavements as much as possible because they can burn the dog’s paws. A general rule is to never walk the dog on a pavement that is too hot for your hand.
5. Use Cooling Mats or Beds
Cooling mats and beds are designed to keep your pup cool under hot weather conditions.
The Dog Cooling Pad uses a pressure-activated gel to absorb heat and keep the pup at an optimal body temperature.
It's lightweight, washable, and comes in various sizes for different dog breeds. You can also use it on furniture or in the car during summer road trips.
When it gets too hot, all you have to do is open the mat for your dog to lie on and get cooled.
As for cooling beds, they're designed with a mesh that lets air circulate underneath the pup's body, cooling it.
As the scorching summer heat bears down on us, it’s essential to safeguard our furry friends because they are highly susceptible to heatstroke.
From providing refreshing water sources and creating shade havens to using cooling aids, there are an array of ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather.
Choose one or a combination of tactics that will work well for your beloved four-legged friend.Remember, a cool dog in the sweltering heat is a content dog. Its radiant smile will be the ultimate reward for your unwavering care and devotion