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Keeping Dogs Cool During the Summer

Depending on which part of the country you are located, temperatures can soar during the summer. Additionally, there are certain dogs that are more susceptible to heat:

  • Dogs that are ill
  • Dogs that are overweight
  • Dogs with dark coats
  • Dogs with long coats
  • Dogs with short noses such as pugs or bulldogs
  • Geriatric dogs
  • Puppies

Heat dangers can happen quickly indoors and out.  Here are some do's and don'ts to make sure your dogs are safe in the heat.

Do's for Inside Your House

  • Keep your dog inside during the summer, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Turn on your air conditioner.
  • Open windows, close drapes, turn on a fan.
  • Use a cooling vest, mat or bed.
  • Brush him to get rid of mats and tangles which trap heat and moisture.
  • Wet a towel with cold water, put it on the floor and let him lay on it.
  • Freeze a large soda bottle and wrap it in a towel for him to lay next to.
  • Moisten his ears, groin and pads with a cool cloth.
  • Give him access to a room with a tile floor.
  • Do's for Outside in Your Yard
  • Set up an umbrella next to a kid's pool with ice cubes. Drain it when it's not being used so it doesn't serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Let him have a digging pit in the shade so he can dig and get to cooler earth.
  • Let him play in the sprinklers.  If he drinks the water, take frequent breaks because he can get water intoxication which occurs when he drinks too much water and affects the electrolytes and causes his cells to swell.  Symptoms begin with staggering and loss of coordination, lethargy, vomiting and bloating.  If you see your dog exhibiting these symptoms, get him to a vet pronto.

Do's on Walks

  • Limit his exercise, especially when it's humid.
  • Walk your dog either in the early morning or at night.
  • Make sure he has water even if it's a short walk.  Carry water with you in a collapsible bowl.
  • Walk on the grass rather than the pavement.
  • Mist him with a water bottle.
  • Get doggie booties to insulate his paws if the ground is hot.
  • Do's Both Inside and Outside
  • Replace some of his kibble with canned food because it has a higher water content.
  • If he's crated, use a wire crate instead of plastic.
  • Make sure he has water.
  • Fill up an extra water dish.
  • Put ice cubes in his water.
  • Use a gravity dispenser water dish.
  • Give him frozen treats such as doggie ice cream or frozen melon without the seeds.

Don't

  • Leave your dog in a parked car.
  • Leave your dog outside for long periods of time.  If he must be outside, make sure there is shade during the entire day.
  • Put his water bowl in the shade and make sure it's full.
  • If you see any of these signs of heatstroke and/or dehydration, take him to a veterinarian fast.
  • Heavy panting
  • Heavy drooling
  • Trouble breathing

Summer's a tough time for dogs because they can't foresee the consequences of their actions.  It's up to us to keep them safe.  Have fun and be safe!

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