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8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool this Summer

        
          

Although winter seems to have only ended a few short weeks ago, the dog-days of summer are already here.  As the weather warms up, it is imperative to keep your dog’s core body temperature cool.  Every year, thousands of dogs are hospitalized due to complications from heat stroke, which occurs at alarming rates in canines due to their inability to cool themselves.  Listed here are ways to keep your dog cool this summer.

Kiddie/Dog Pool

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep your dog cool in the summer is to invest in an inexpensive kiddie or dog pool to keep in your backyard.  By filling the kiddie pool with cool water and placing it in the shade, your dog will always have a cool spot to retreat if overheating.  While it is never recommended to leave your dog in your yard unattended, this method is especially useful for outdoor dogs that do not have access to indoor air conditioning.

Grooming

Depending on your dog’s natural coat, a summer cut may help your dog be more comfortable during the summer.  Bear in mind that not all dogs are candidates for a shave.  For instance, certain breeds with double coats may have a more difficult time cooling themselves if their fur is shaved close to their skin.  However, dogs that have hair instead of fur (i.e. Poodle, Maltese, Bichon Frise, etc.) can all benefit from a short cut that allows more cooling air flow near the skin.

Pup-sicles

Keeping your dog cool in the summer is as simple as making dog-friendly popsicles for your pup to enjoy on warm days.  There are many recipes that can be found online for cold dog treats.  One pup-sicle recipe that dogs are sure to love is simple to prepare and made from peanut butter and banana.

To begin, determine what type of container you will use to freeze the mixture.  You can spread the ingredients onto a cookie sheet and then cut the frozen concoction into bars.  Alternatively, you can freeze the treat in a KONG or similar toy.  Pet owners can even purchase reusable popsicle molds from any kitchen store.

Next, combine 1 cup of unsweetened, unsalted peanut with half of a ripe, mashed banana in a bowl.  Add water as necessary to improve the consistency for freezing.  Once the desired thickness has been achieved, spoon the mixture into the container of choice.  Freeze the mixture overnight and give to your dog as a cooling treat.

Cooling Vest / Mat

While humans can utilize evaporative cooling via sweat to stay comfortable in the summer, dogs do not have this luxury.  Cooling vests, however, change that limitation.  A cooling vest is a piece of clothing that wraps around your dog’s torso.  The vest is either soaked in water, pre-cooled in the freezer, or contains a gel-like material that cools your dog.  When the vest is worn, your pup’s core body temperature will remain cool.

A second solution is a cooling mat for your dog to lounge on.  The mat has similar properties as a cooling vest, but instead of being worn your dog can lounge on the cold surface either indoors or out.  You can make a DIY cooling mat for your yard by providing your dog with a wet towel or ice pack to lounge on.

Isopropyl Alcohol Rub

This next tip should only be used in case of an emergency when your dog needs to be cooled as quickly as possible.  Isopropyl alcohol evaporates much more quickly than water, leaving behind a cooling sensation.  If your dog has overheated, you can dip a cotton ball or washcloth in isopropyl alcohol and rub down your dog’s paws with the liquid.  Be careful not to overdo this, though, as alcohol can be extremely drying.

Increase Wet Food Intake

Although dry dog food is convenient, it can also be very dehydrating for dogs, especially in the summer.  One way to increase your dog’s hydration and help your pet naturally stay cool is to feed hydrating foods.  For instance, canned dog food has a significantly higher moisture content than dry dog food.  You can also add small amounts of canned green beans, pumpkin, and plain yogurt to your dog’s dry food to fight dehydration during the summer.

Ensure a Healthy Weight

If your dog is like 53% of household pets in America, chances are that he or she could stand to shed a few pounds.  When dogs are overweight they have a significantly more difficult time cooling themselves efficiently.  Help your dog lose weight by monitoring portion sizes, cutting down on treats (or replacing calorie-laden treats with low-calorie alternatives, such as canned green beans), and increasing exercise.  If your dog struggles to exercise safely on warm days due to his or her weight, consider hydrotherapy.  Underwater exercise has been shown to improve weight loss, increase metabolism, and reduce pressure placed on dogs’ joints. Check out article on other benefits of maintaining a healthy weight for your dog.

Proper Ventilation

Perhaps the most important tip for keeping your dog cool this summer is to always ensure your dog has access to proper ventilation.  Never leave your dog in the car on a warm day (generally recognized as 70o F and above), even if the windows are ajar.  Even on a 70o day with windows left slightly open, the interior of the car can reach 89o F within 10 minutes.

Additionally, be mindful of the areas in your home your dog has access to when you are away.  If your dog is crated, do not leave your dog’s crate in direct sunlight.  If your home is without air conditioning, give your dog access to a fan and plenty of fresh water so that your pet can self-regulate his or her temperature.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, when keeping your pet cool in the summer it is important to remember that dogs are unable dissipate heat from their bodies as easily as humans.  Assisting in the evaporative cooling process, keeping your dog’s core body temperature at a safe level, and avoiding dangerous situations are all crucial components of keeping your dog cool this summer.

 

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Anna Weber

Anna Weber

As a life-long dog owner and animal lover I have dedicated my adult life to rescuing and fostering dogs, particularly seniors and behaviorally at-risk animals.I believe that nearly every animal can be rehabilitated with love, kindness, training, and proper exercise.
Anna Weber

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  1. Puppy Lover says:

    All good ideas Anna. I also make treat cubes.

    Get some dog toys and place them in a large plastic ice cream bucket then freeze.

    Our boy loves to work on it on hot days working his way to the toys.

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