We wait all year for summer, long days relaxing outdoors, sipping iced tea, and soaking up the sunshine. But our canine companions can’t cool themselves down as easily as we can. They can’t drink iced tea (or any beverage with caffeine), and unlike humans, the few sweat glands they do have are on the bottom of their paws.
However, with some planning ahead, you and your pooch can both beat the heat and stay active this summer. Here are a few tips for helping your dog stay chill during the worst of the hot weather.
- Always offer access to plenty of drinking water: Be sure to provide plenty of clean and cool water for your pup to drink throughout the day. Keep water bowls filled with fresh and cool water both inside and outside. Be sure to keep your pups water bowl in a shaded area throughout the entire day if it is outside as well.
- Provide shade: Portable sunshades and outdoor canopies, patio umbrellas, and pop-up canopies are a reliable way to create your own shade whether mother nature provides it or not. There are even some pet products on the market that combine the shade of a canopy with a cooling misting system.
- Switch up your outdoor play or exercise time: Switch your schedule around so that your dog is not outside during the hottest part of the day. This might mean getting up earlier to exercise, walk, run, or play in the yard. If that doesn’t work, maybe switch up your late afternoon routine so that you and your pup can get some activity in during the early evening. As you plan your day, keep in mind that early to mid-afternoon is the time of day when the sun is the strongest. That is the time to avoid being outside, especially with your dog.
- Keep your home cool: Just as you should never leave your dog alone in the car, and the same goes for your home. If you don’t have AC and you know your pup is home, do everything you can to keep your house as cool as possible. Install a window air conditioner and leave it on. Another option is to leave the windows open to allow the air to circulate and leave a fan on. Close the drapes or blinds early in the morning to prevent direct sunlight from heating up the inside of your home. You may also want to purchase a cooling vest for your pup to wear. He’ll be very thankful for it during those 90 degree days!
- Consider getting Fido his own cooling mat: Ever notice that your dog looks for a cool, tile floor to lie down on when he wants to beat the heat. Why not get him his own cooling mat that he can use indoors or outside. It’s easier than taking the tile floor with you!
- Stay inside during extreme heat: If you’ve got air-conditioning in your home and your dogs can hang out with you, a heatwave is a great time to snuggle up and binge watch yours or your dog’s favorite show.
Hydration and shade
It’s okay if you’re not into high-tech misting canopies and cooling vests. You don’t have to get the high tech merchandise to help keep your dog cool. Here are some easy ways to make sure your pup is hydrated during the dog days of summer:
- Offer an ice pack or wet towel to your dog to lie down on.
- Add a small number of ice cubes to the water dish before giving it to your pup.
- Fill a wading pool with shallow, cool water.
- Create a cool shady area by stringing up a tarp, cloth, or using a shade screen.
- Always bring a collapsible water dish on walks or outings. Many even come with carabiners, making them easy to attach to bags, backpacks, or almost anything.
- Make sure your dog is getting plenty of hydration by replacing part of his regular diet with canned food.
- Avoid walking on hot pavement. If you must, always touch the pavement first. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads.
Know the signs of dehydration and heatstroke in dogs
The above tips can help prevent overheating and heatstroke in your dog too. Knowing the signs to look for is also critical.
Common signs of dehydration in dogs are:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
You can test your dog’s hydration by pinching a fold of skin at the top of the neck. If it is slow to snap back in to place, your dog needs fluids.
Common signs of heatstroke in dogs are:
- Excessive panting
- Inability to move
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice any of the above signs, get your dog out of the heat and into a cool area immediately. Since some signs of heatstroke may not appear immediately, observe your dog after your outdoor activities. Prompt treatment by a veterinarian can treat and reverse the effects of heat-related illnesses in pets.
If your pet does suffer a heat-related illness, you can make sure that he or she is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance. PetFirst is proud to offer Routine Care Coverage, which helps with everyday costs related to vet check-ups and other proactive health visits.
Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. PetFirst is here for every canine and cat. From a small cold to big health problems alike. Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits2.
Consider following these simple cooling tips and you and your canine companion will be able to enjoy the summer to its fullest while staying healthy and safe!
1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.
2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.