The Importance of Keeping Your Dog Cool this Summer
When we think of summer we think of things like going to the beach or the park. We’re out and about enjoying the weather and all of those fun summer activities.
The same goes for our canine companions. They’ve been kept in all winter too and have sweet dreams of splashing around in the water and chasing balls through a field. It’s a fun time for all.
Despite this, we always end up looking for a way to beat that summer heat!
Too long in the sun can make us feel sick and exhausted. It’s important we keep cool and don’t overexert ourselves.
The same can be said for your dog. They get hot and exhausted too, but can’t tell you. They may not even realise how hot they are. That’s why it’s your job to look out for them and tell them when they’ve had enough play time.
So, let’s take a look at what you need to watch out for, why keeping cool is important, and what you can do to help keep your dog playing hard this summer.
Why is Keeping Cool so Important?
Just like you, being too hot isn’t comfortable for your canine companion. They seek out shade and a cool drink on those sweltering days too!
Not only is it uncomfortable, but heat exhaustion can make them sick. We’ve all had the experience of getting too hot and then feeling ill whether it was during exercise, a sporting event, or some other outdoor activity.
Not only that, but if heat exhaustion goes left untreated, it can lead to a medical emergency known as heat stroke.
That’s right. Your dog can also get heat stroke.
No one wants their best friend to be sick and have to stop playing or worse. And those emergency vet visits are costly.
Older dogs and dogs with medical conditions are also more susceptible, so it’s especially important to keep an eye on your order canine friends or those with health problems.
Thankfully, heat exhaustion is pretty easy to spot and it’s even easier to prevent!
We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to spot it and prevent it.
The Signs of Overheating and Heat Exhaustion
The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs aren’t as different from humans as you might think! We’ll take a look at some of the more common symptoms below along with what might put your dog at extra risk.
1. Excessive Panting
Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so they rely very heavily on their breathing to help cool them. Just like you they breathe more heavily when hot, but they don’t have sweat to rely on to help keep them cool!
If you notice your dog breathing more heavily or rapidly than usual, this could be a sign that they’re struggling to keep cool. The extra cool air they’re intaking isn’t enough to keep them cool.
It’s especially important to watch for heat exhaustion in flat faced breeds, because they cannot pant as efficiently as their longed nosed cousins. These dogs tend to succumb to the hot weather much more quickly.
Just like you, your dog needs to intake more water on those hot days! When they aren’t drinking enough, they can become dehydrated. Especially in hot weather when we all lose water more quickly.
Signs to look out for with this symptom include: more drool than usual, drool that is thicker and more viscous, lack of urine production, and discoloured gums.
3. Rapid Pulse
This is another one that is very similar to humans. Rapid pulse is a sign of the body straining to cool down. You can check your dogs pulse by placing a hand on their chest near their front elbow joint.
Just keep in mind that a normal heart rate varies with breed and size, so you’ll need to know your dog pretty well in order to check this. Though, when in doubt, play it safe! Get your dog to a cool area to relax and get them some water.
4. Dizziness and Lethargy
Have you ever gotten too warm and then gotten dizzy? Or tired? Your dog may have this problem too! They can’t tell you though, so you’ll have to watch them closely.
You’ll want to watch for trouble walking properly, clumsy movements, and lack of enthusiasm while playing. It’s definitely time for a break if they’ve gotten this tired.
In more extreme cases, the body may lose the ability to cool itself off. Your dog’s nose will feel hot and dry in this case. Anything over 39.5°C (103° F) is a fever.
It’s important to get your dog out of the heat and cooled off immediately if they start to run a fever. Left unchecked this can lead to heat stroke which is a medical emergency! It’s not just something that humans suffer from.
6. Muscle Tremors
Heat exhaustion can really do a number on us and our companions. If you notice that your dog is trembling despite how hot it is out, this could be a sign that they are in need of a break and a cool drink.
Your dog isn’t going to know to tell you that they need a break. They might very well run around past their limit. Especially puppies who are full of energy and always ready to go, go, go.
But, if you’re letting them run around on a hot day and they start to vomit, there’s a good chance it’s time to come in and cool off for a little while.
Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer!
1. Find a Shaded Area
It’s normally a lot cooler in the shade than in the sun, so if your pooch is starting to get a little too warm, get him to some shade! It’ll give them a chance to cool down and take a rest.
Even better, when you’re going out to the park, look for a shaded area you can use as your home base. It’ll keep you cool while sitting, your ice in your cooler won’t melt as fast, and you won’t have to go looking for a comfortable spot to sit later.
2. Go for a Walk Earlier in the Day
It can be tough to get up and moving in the wee hours of the morning, but it’s well worth it. If you and your dog can get up and moving before the heat sets in, your walk will be much more comfortable.
You’ll be able to walk longer with less risk than trying to walk in the afternoon sun!
If early in the morning doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. You can head out a little bit after sunset when some of the heat from the day has had a chance to dissipate.
The important thing here is to pick a time of day when its cool to get your walk on.
3. Water, Water, Water!
It’s important to stay hydrated. So, first and foremost, make sure your dog has a nice cool water supply to stop and drink from while out playing, but there are other ways to utilise water as well.
Take a tea towel, dampen it with cold water, and drape it around your dog’s neck. It’ll have the same effect that it does on a person! The cloth will provide some evaporative cooling as well as draw heat from the veins in the neck.
Going to the beach or somewhere with a lake? Let your dog go for a swim. Playing in the water is an amazon and fun way to keep cool.
If you don’t have access to a large body of water, purchase a plastic kiddie pool for your backyard and fill it up for them to splash in.
4. Frozen Treats
Nothing beats the heat like like ice cream, a slushy, or some other frozen confection. And while you’re dog may not be able to enjoy your chocolate ice cream with you, there are enjoyable treats for them as well.
Put some ice cubes in their water to cool it down! They’ll thank you for it and may even enjoy crunchy on the ice once it’s melted some.
You can also try freezing some of their favourite fruits such as bananas, blueberries, or strawberries for something a little different.
Speaking of fruit, who doesn’t love a good smoothie? We know we do and we wouldn’t want your canine companion to miss out. That’s why we’ve created four delicious smoothie recipes just for them.
These smoothies can be blended up and enjoyed as is, but for an extra special treat we suggest using them to fill a Fenrir Hammer or Egg! They’ll keep your dog entertained for hours and help keep them from getting too hot.
We’ve got two delicious smoothies packed full of fruit, a great and tasty one to sneak in some veggies, and for our dogs who aren’t a fan of sweets, there’s even a savoury option!
1 Cup Of Plain Yogurt
½ Cup Of Frozen Blackberries Or Raspberries
½ Cup Of Frozen Mango Chunks
1 Cup Of Frozen Strawberries
1 Cup Plain Greek Yoghourt
1 Sliced Banana
1 Tablespoon Of Honey
½ Sliced Apple (Remove The Core)
½ Cup Spinach
1 Small Bunch Of Parsley
2 Level Tsp Flax-Seed Oil
4. Roast Dinner
1 Cup Of Mixed Peas And Carrots
½ Cup Of Frozen Butternut Squash
½ Cup Of Kibble
½ Cup Of Cold Water