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July 24, 2019 4 min read

How to keep your dog cool in the summer

Summer can be a fun time for both humans and dogs, but no one likes excessive heat and dogs are no exception. While many dogs love to play outdoors despite the heat, our dogs can often struggle in the heat and it can be dangerous for them. Dogs mainly use panting to stay cool, and they don’t sweat through all of their skin, only their paw pads. And because dogs can’t cool down as easily as we can, it is our responsibility to make sure that our dog stays cool and comfortable during the summer months.

Below are some ways to keep our dog cool and help them enjoy the hottest days of the year.

1. Provide lots of fresh cool water
This one’s pretty obvious, right? Make sure you put ice cubes in your pet’s water bowl, and keep their water bowls in the shade. You can also freeze containers of water so when you put them outside, they will stay cold for a longer time.

2. Provide a wading pool
An inexpensive kiddie pool can work great. Just fill it with water so you dog can have a place to splash and play or just flop down and cool off. You can also put a couple of his favorite floating dog toys in the pool for fun. Make sure you check the temperature of the water coming out of the hose before filling the pool because sometimes the water can be hot if the hose has been sitting outside in the sun.

3. Put the sprinkler on!
Many dogs enjoy snapping and playing with the water coming out of the sprinkler. It’s also a fun way for them to get some exercise while water helps keep them cool.

4. Take your dog to the beach or lake
Don’t forget that dogs may want to play and play even in the hot sun, and they can overexert themselves or get heatstroke even if playing in the water. Also remember that not all dogs are natural swimmers, you can use a life jacket especially made for dogs need a little extra help or confidence in the water.

5.  Don’t leave your dog in a parked car.
Don’t ever leave your dog unattended in a parked car. Even if you think you will only be gone a short while, temperatures can rise quickly, a short while may be too long, so don’t risk it.

6.Choose an early morning or late in the evening’s walks.
Choose a cooler time to exercise your dog. It’s best to go in theearly morning or late evening when it's usually the coolest and better for your dog. Getting up early may not be that appealing to some of us but beautiful morning light, cooler temperatures, and the quiet are a lovely time to enjoy some one-on-one time with your dog. Make sure you also test the temperature of the ground on hot days because asphalt and sand in particular can get very hot, and our dogs' paws can feel the heat just as much as we can on our bare feet.

7. Bring your pets inside
Don’t just leave them in sheds or garages because these structures can become very hot inside. If you do need to leave your dog outside, makes sure that they have plenty of cold water and shady spots in which to rest, such as under trees. If you don't have shade trees, you can create shade by putting up an umbrella or by stringing up a tarp.

8. Give them frozen treats
A tasty frozen summer treat is both fun and helpful to keep your dog cool. There are many easy recipes for frozen homemade dog treats and dogs love them.

9. Use cooling aids
During hot days, a little extra help might also be needed to cool our dogs down. You can try a dog cooling mat or a cooling vest, for example. Many of these works by soaking them in cool water, and they can stay cool for a long time before needing to be refreshed. If you don’t have access to any of these, you can soak a towel in a cool water and let your dog lie on it – make sure to check it every so often, and replace it if it gets too hot. In addition, you can also spray your dog's belly and paws with cool water. Dogs will cool down more quickly through their paws and belly. You can also place a pan of ice water in front of a fan to make it even more effective.

Summers are a wonderful time to be outdoors with our canine friends, make sure you watch your dog for signs of heatstroke that can include heavy panting, thick and tacky drool, a glassy-eyed look, dark-red tongue or gums, disorientation, weakness, unresponsiveness or even collapse. If you notice any of these signs, call your vet immediately for advice and be prepared to bring your dog in to see the vet.