With temperatures getting well into the triple digits during the summer, it’s important for owners to do what they can to keep canines cool. You probably wouldn’t want to wear a winter coat while strolling about Austin, TX in July, but your pooch doesn’t have much of a choice!
Keep your furry friends comfortable and cool this summer with these tips and techniques!
- Walk Your Dog in the Early AM and PM
Summer means considerably higher temps, especially in the late morning and early afternoon. The heat can be tough on your fur-covered pal, so make sure to walk your dog during the coolest times of the day – usually early in the morning or in the evening.
Despite needing to stay inside more to beat the heat, your pooch still needs a solid dose of exercise to be healthy and happy. However, it’s not a bad idea to dial back the exercise routine, or at least adjust it a bit for the hotter months.
Dogs who normally enjoy jogging might be better off with slower-paced strolls (although you might need to commit to longer walks to ensure your dog still gets all his energy out).
Also be aware of where you’re walking – pavement and sand can get very hot in the sun, so you’ll want to make sure you’re on dog-friendly surfaces. If hot surfaces are unavoidable, try Musher’s Wax to add a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and the burning ground, or lace up your dog with some canine booties (although most dogs simply won’t stand for this option – literally)!
- Provide Constant (And We Mean Constant) Access to Water
Dogs need regular access to water to stay hydrated – make sure your dog is always set up with a water bowl full of cool, clean water, both inside and outside.
When going out, make sure to ask for water wherever you go, and bring along portable plastic dog bowls that can be easily filled with H2O for your pooch to lap up.
You may want to consider investing in a dog-friendly water bottle, which can provide your pup with instant hydration while you’re out and about.
- Kiddie Pools Make Great Dog Cool-Down Spots
You don’t need a fancy in-ground pool to provide your pooch with a way to cool down – a simple kiddie pool will get the job done just fine! Just fill up a plastic pool in the backyard and watch your dog splash away.
The My Love Fur Paws team has their own 16 x 36 foot pool set up on their property so that dogs can splash and swim to cool down in the summer heat! They even host pup pool parties and group swim events – make sure to check it out sometime.
Most dogs will be happy as clams in kiddie pools, but owners with more rough-and-tumble dogs or dogs with longer nails may want to invest in a dog-friendly pool made of thicker than usual plastic.
- Opt For a Cooling Dog Bed
Dogs can’t sweat to cool down – instead, they pant. Don’t make your dog work harder cooling down than they have to! Many dogs have fluffy, cozy beds for wintertime, but these beds are often designed to retain heat, making it difficult for your dog to stay cool.
Instead, try purchasing a cooling dog bed. Cooling beds can come in a few different styles – elevated cot dog beds feature a raised design with a mesh hammock which lets air circulate under and around your canine. These beds are especially great for outside use, as they’re easy to clean off and relatively low maintenance.
Other beds feature a more traditional mat design, but use internal cooling gel that is activated when your dog steps on the mat.
Whichever design you prefer, cooling beds can be great for relieving hot dogs!
- Give Your Dog a Haircut!
Dogs with thick, heat-retaining fur may want to consider a new haircut for the summer! Take your dog to the groomer to get their fur shaved down or trimmed tighter for a hairdo that is much cooler.
Even if you don’t plan on cutting your dog’s hair into a shortened style, a trip to the groomer will ensure that your dog’s coat stays free of mats and tangles, which will in turn keep your dog’s skin from getting irritated in the heat and humidity.
- Taking a Dip in the Lake is Fine, But Don’t Forget Your Pup’s Safety Vest!Austin is full of great dog-friendly watering holes that will let your canine cool down. However, even if your dog is a pro swimmer (we’re looking at you Labs), canine life jackets should be seriously considered.While a quick dip at Barking Springs doesn’t pose too much danger, many owners enjoy taking their dogs out on kayaking, paddleboarding, or sailing. In these cases, it’s important to outfit your pooch with a dog PFD (Personal Flotation Device), as a panicked dog might have to swim for a while to find a suitable spot to escape the water.
Snub-nosed dogs are especially susceptible to swimming danger, as they have a difficult time keeping their snouts above water while swimming. Make sure these guys can really enjoy the water by strapping on a life vest that will keep their heads happily above the waterline.
We hope these summer safety tips will help keep your dog cool and safe in the heat!
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine, a dog care resource dedicated to helping owners better care for their four-legged family members