Top 5 ways to keep my dog cool this Summer
Did you know that only 50% of dogs diagnosed with heatstroke survive to tell the tale?
It is much harder to cool down a dog than it is for us humans to cool down – they only sweat through their paw pads, have a big fluffy coat to carry around, and those with short noses can’t pant as effectively to cool themselves down. Dogs in the UK are not used to such warm, heatwave temperatures, and it can take weeks for them to adjust!
We have got some top tips to keep them cool this Summer so keep reading
1. Avoid the heat!
If walkies are essential – go at dawn, or at night when the temperature is cooler. If the temperature is above 20 degrees centigrade, we would advise avoid walking altogether. You must also take the humidity into consideration which can be too high even at night. Give it a nice easy pace and stick to the shade. Remember to check the temperature of the pavement with your hand – if you think it is hot, those little paws definitely will, and it can give them some nasty burns! Walking near water such as a river or sea is a good idea if your dog likes to have a swim.
There are lots of games you can play at home to keep their brains working – 15 minutes of brain stimulation activities is equal to 30 minutes of walkies! There are games you can buy where the dog has to get treats out, or you can make your own from newspaper, toilet rolls etc. We love to play “hide and seek” with treats – I put the dog in another room and tell them to wait, then hide treats around another room for them to come and find! They love it! All dogs are different so experiment and find what your dog loves to do.
Finally, and I’m sure this is obvious, but don’t leave them alone in a car for even a moment! Some modern cars like Teslas have air conditioning that can be on when you are not in the car (“Dog Mode”), but unless you have this feature, dogs can overheat very quickly in a car.
2. Cooling Treats
Doggy Ice Cream!! They love it, will keep them calm and quiet for 10 minutes, and will cool and help to hydrate your dog. Frozzys and Billy & Margot are two of the most popular brands you can find. Frozzys is made with goat’s milk, whereas Billy & Margot is made with a puree which also makes it vegan.
Frozen carrots, a frozen Kong full of treats etc. will do a similar job. Keeps them occupied and nice and relaxed with a nice cool treat.
If you are worried that they aren’t drinking enough, putting something yummy in their water often helps. I find a little bit of goat milk (you can buy small cartons of puppy milk which are handy) poured into the water bowl works a treat – my dog gobbles up the whole lot!
3. Cooling Products
Cooling Coats/Jackets and bandanas. Cooling coats and bandanas work by evaporation – the water takes the heat from the dog and cools them as it evaporates. They essentially help to cool dogs off faster. There are many types and different price points when it comes to these things, but essentially, they all do the same thing.
Please note that they should not be relied upon to keep a dog cool and heat avoidance is always best first and foremost!
Cooling mats are great (if you can get your dog to lie on it!). They are lovely and cold and use pressure-activated gel to help your pup chill out. If they don’t lie on it, it serves as a lovely cold pillow for us humans to cool off on (confirmed from personal experience!).
If your dog stays in a crate when you go out, it might be worth investing in a crate fan. They hook onto the side of the crate and allow cool air to flow around them.
4. Cool toys and games
There are lots of toys you can soak in water to help hydrate your dog. “All for Paws” do a great range. Paddling pools and sprinklers are also available and great fun for your dog. Make sure these are in the shade and the dog isn’t over-exerting themselves though!
5. Haircut (or not!)
As a grooming salon, we know a lot about a dog’s coat and whether it should be short for the Summer.
Hypoallergenic or woolly breeds such as poodles would benefit from a short haircut to keep them cool. If they have light-coloured fur (for example a Bichon Frise), you need to be careful they don’t then suffer from sunburn if taken too short.
Many other coats are designed to help keep a dog cool in the Summer (as well as warm in the Winter). Double coated dogs have a ‘guard coat’ which will protect them from the heat. If you shave it off, the undercoat will not be able to regulate the body’s temperature as well, and the dog will be at risk of overheating. This will be true of breeds such as Border Collies, Chows, German Shepherds and more. A good de-shed will be best for these breeds. This involves the undercoat being removed which will make them hotter (if left). The topcoat is then ready to do its job! You can book in with a groomer for a really good de-shed treatment or use your own Grooming Rake at home.
If you are worried that your dog may have gotten too hot, find a cool place for them and consult your vet for further guidance. Look out for the signs of heatstroke:
- Panting heavily
- Wobbling and having trouble standing up
- Bright red gums.
Dogs with flat faces such as Pugs, French Bulldogs and so on will struggle more with the heat as they won’t be able to pant as effectively to cool themselves down.
If you’re enroute to a vet, begin the cooling process immediately as this improves the dog’s prognosis significantly – give them plenty of water, a cool area, and pour some cool water over them (not cold).
Good luck and stay cool!