10 ways to keep your dog cool in hot weather
1. Do not shave their coat on a hot day
We all might feel better when our hair is shorter but with a dog’s fur, the air can circulate in slightly longer hair, which actually helps lower body temperature. However, to contradict this, the hair on the underside of the dog, where their organs are should be kept short. Shaving a dog’s coat on a hot day can cause sun stroke, sun burn and also future skin conditions due to scarring and irritation.
2. Do not pour water on top of a dog to cool it down
How many people will spray water over a dog to ‘help it cool’?? This actually weighs the coat down and can stop heat aerating from the skin, especially around vital organs, which produce a large amount of heat. Spraying water over the top of a dog can be a game, but must be monitored very very carefully to avoid over-chilling and causing more issues.
3. Use a cool towel/flannel if you wish but only until the dog stops showing signs of dehydration
A towel that is cool can gently lower the temperature. Using something that cools too quickly can put the dog into shock. This is really important when looking after your elderly or young pooch!
4. Know the signs of dehydration.
This is so important. As a furry four legged member of your family, knowing what to look for can help you look after your canine friend and prevent heat stroke occurring. The diagram from dogvacay is very useful for quick checks.
5. Sun cream!!!
It isn’t just us that need to slap on the factor 30 and watch our exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Make sure that no matter how long your dog’s hair, sun cream is applied. This is obviously true for short haired dogs.
6. Paws, pads and tongue
Your dog sweats mainly through their pads and tongue, as this is where the majority of the dog’s sweat glands are based. Cooling down these areas is the quickest way of lowering your dog’s temperature in a safe way.
7. Adding ice to drinking water
Your dog will try and regulate it’s own temperature in a number of ways (including shedding so be prepared), but with water, lowering the temperature of their drinking water will help cool them internally. Make sure the dog isn’t ingesting ice cubes though, as this can be a choking hazard and can also cause the dog discomfort.
8. Exercise appropriately!
It’s very easy to think that your hyperactive 8 month old Lab will just behave and know it’s own limits but sometimes it doesn’t. Extra care and attention needs to be had to make sure that they don’t overheat or overextend themselves.
9. Cooling mats
Dogs will naturally cool themselves down by looking for shade and also laying down. They do this to cool down their organs, as this tends to generate the most heat on their body. Not only that but the skin in this area is thinnest and allows a lot of heat to escape. A cooling mat is a great way of lowering a dog’s temperature in a way that they will regulate without too much input from yourself. Using a cooling jacket requires more monitoring and it can be easier to over-cool the dog, so if using, use with caution.
10. Avoid the mid-day sun
This may seem like an obvious point, but there is a clear reason for it beyond getting burnt on the skin. Dogs can also burn their pads in the mid-day sun. As mentioned before this is where some of the main sweat glands are on a dog, so their function can be affected by burnt pads. Rather than take a risk, keep your dog safe and avoid the heat when it is at its hottest.