Summer can be a great time for people and their pets to enjoy the outdoors. Taking a trip to the park or the beach for a day is a great way to pass the time in the summer. However, just like with people, spending too much time in the sun can be dangerous for your dog.
Dogs can’t exactly tell you when they start to feel sick, so it’s important to be prepared and keep an eye on them when spending a lot of time outside. Dogs can’t sweat through their skin like people do, so they have limited options to release heat and keep themselves cool. If your dog starts to pant or drool excessively, or shows signs of feeling weak or agitated, they could be suffering from heatstroke.
Here are some tips to avoid heatstroke and keep your dogs cool in the summer:
- Avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day.
Take your dog on walks in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler outside. You can still let your dog outside in the middle of the day, but if you know your walk is going to take an hour or more, try going when the sun won’t be as harsh. You and your dog will have a much better time outside if you go for a cool morning walk than if you try to suffer through the afternoon heat.
- Keep water and ice easily available during walks or other outdoor activities.
Make sure to keep an eye on your dog when spending a lot of time outside during the summer so that you can tell when they are starting to get too hot or tired. If you’re planning on taking a long walk or being outside all day, have water readily available to keep your dog cool. There are a lot of options for collapsible travel bowls available online. A lot of dogs love ice cubes, and adding a couple to their water bowl is a great way to keep your dog cool.
- Make sure there’s shade.
Wherever you’re taking your dog outside this summer, make sure there’s enough shade for them to take a break from being in the sun when they need to. If your dog spends a lot of time outside in your yard, this might mean putting up a tarp or other structure to shield them from the sun. If you’re taking them to the park for the day, keep an eye out for shady areas to go back to when your dog starts to show signs of being too hot.
- Check the sidewalk.
You can use your hand to check how hot the sidewalk is outside. If you can’t stand to leave your hand on the sidewalk for more than a few seconds, then it is probably too hot for your dog to walk on it. My grandmother used to say, if you can cook an egg on the sidewalk, it’s ok to stay inside. While not necessary to cook eggs on the concrete, just imagine what the hot sidewalk could do to your pup’s paws.
- Never leave your pet in the car during the summer.
Even on cooler summer days, leaving your pet alone in a car can be dangerous. Temperatures can rise very quickly inside of a locked car, even if there’s a breeze and you leave the windows down. If you know you won’t be able to take your dog somewhere with you, it’s safer to just leave them at home.
- Keep your dog well-groomed.
Dogs shed more in the summer, so it’s important to keep their coats well-maintained so that they can effectively regulate their body heat. Brush your dog regularly in the summer to get rid of excess hair and avoid mats and tangles from forming. It is especially important to keep up with your dog’s coat if they are a longhaired dog breed.
- Make refreshing frozen treats for your dog.
You’re not the only one who would enjoy cooling off with a frozen snack during the summer. Dogs can enjoy their own refreshing “pupsicles” when it is too hot outside. This list from Buzzfeed has a variety of frozen treats you can make for your dog with dog-friendly ingredients like peanut butter, pumpkin and chicken broth.
Here’s a recipe for our favorite frozen homemade dog treat:
- 32 oz Plain Yogurt
- 3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (make sure it contains no xylitol, which is toxic to dogs)
- 1 Large Banana, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Honey (optional)
- Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until creamy.
- Fill a silicone mold or an ice cube tray.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours.
- Pop out of molds and serve to your furry best friend. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.
- Get them a kiddie pool
Many dogs enjoy swimming or running through sprinklers. Getting a small pool and filling it up with just enough water for them to sit in is a good way to keep dogs cool. Even dogs that don’t normally like water might enjoy having a kiddie pool to sit in when it’s hot outside, as long as the water isn’t too deep. Plus, getting your dog a kiddie pool is a great summer photo op. Our dogs love it when we dump a bag of ice in the pool. They think it’s fun to chase the cubes and cool off too!
You can still have fun outside with your dog in the summer, just remember to be prepared. The rising temperatures don’t mean that you and your dog have to stay inside all day every day. It’s a lot less stressful to keep your dog cool than it is to have to rush to the nearest vet. Making homemade treats and having a kiddie pool to play in are not only good ways to keep your dog cool in the summer, but they’re also fun summer activities that you and your four-legged best friend can both enjoy.