How To Keep Dogs Cooled Off In The Summer

As summer months are ushered in, many dog owners are making plans for themselves and their furry companions -- road trips, camping, and dog-friendly beaches commonly sit atop people's summer dog bucket lists. And while summer adventures involve a lot of excitement, running, and exploring for your dog, they also come with the danger of summer temperatures. Below, we’ll explore why it’s crucial to make sure you’re keeping your dog cool throughout the summer, as well as tips to practice safe summer play! 

Dog eating food outside

Why It’s So Important To Keep Dogs Cool

Like humans, dogs can develop health complications if outside in the heat for too long. If a dog’s body temperature gets high and they aren’t able to cool themselves off, a heat stroke or other concerns might arise and could be fatal for your dog. Below are two of the most common issues to look out for. 

 

Signs Of A Heat Stroke In Dogs  

  1. Panting

  2. Rapid pulse

  3. Excessive salivation

  4. Eyes glazed over

  5. Loss of consciousness or staggering 

  6. Vomiting

  7. Diarrhea 

  8. Fatigue 

While all dogs are susceptible to a heat stroke, puppies, senior dogs, and those with preexisting health conditions are most at risk. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, bring them indoors and call your veterinarian. To begin cooling your dog off, place a damp towel on or under their neck, hind legs, and paw pads and offer water, but don’t force them to drink and don’t submerge them in ice water. Cooling your dog off too quickly might put their body into shock.  

Signs Of Dehydration In Dogs

  1. Lethargy

  2. Sunken eyes

  3. Dry mouth 

Dehydration can be difficult to identify in dogs, especially because lethargy, sunken eyes, and a dry mouth are common symptoms of other illnesses. If you suspect that your dog may be dehydrated, try gently pinching a fold of skin at the top of their neck to test elasticity. Skin that is slow to fall back into place is an indicator that your dog may be dehydrated. 

Always have water available for your dog, and encourage them to take a few sips every 20-30 minutes if out and about on a hot day. If you suspect that your dog may be dehydrated, offer cool water and call your veterinarian. 

How To Prevent Dogs From Overheating 

Ensure Your Dog Has Shade

If your yard doesn’t offer much shade, hang a tarp or sheet to create opportunities for your dog to rest out of the sun. Unfortunately, it’s a misconception that dog houses provide everything dogs need to stay cool while outdoors. Dog houses may provide shade, but they don’t allow for any air flow needed to keep temperatures low. 

Turn The Sprinklers On Or Fill Up A Kiddie Pool 

If your dog isn’t too scared, provide some form of water activity for them. They’ll have a blast and stay cool at the same time -- it’s a win-win! For dogs weary of water, spraying the grass with a hose or splashing water on their chest and feet will help keep them cool without causing alarm. 

Put Out Plenty Of Water 

ppfc dog  bowl

Always ensure your dog has clean water to drink. Keep a fresh bowl for them indoors, in the backyard, and have some at the ready while out adventuring. For hikes, walks, or road trips, try Portland Pet Food Company’s Earth-Friendly collapsible travel dog bowl, made with 100% recycled materials! 

Limit Exercise During The Day’s Hottest Hours 

Look at the weather forecast and plan your walks around cooler parts of the day, such as in the morning or evening. If your dog must be outside during warmer temperatures, try to focus their energy on low-exertion activities, such as filling a Kong dog toy with their favorite PPFC meal topper! Fill it up, stick it in the freezer, and give it to your dog outside for a time consuming, delicious, cooling activity. Think of it as a doggy popsicle -- but healthier!

Other Considerations For Dog Safety During The Summer 

Invest In Dog Booties 

Have you ever walked on a sandy beach and had the bottoms of your feet burned? So has your dog! If a surface feels hot to the touch on your skin, it’s going to feel hot on your dog’s paw pads. Bring a set of dog booties to protect your dog’s feet in any situation -- we like getting our booties from PNW-based Ruffware!

Never Leave Your Dog In The Car 

Even with cracked windows and in a shady spot, temperatures inside a car can rise rapidly to unsafe temperatures. If you must step away from your car during a road trip, leave the air conditioning on for your dog. If you notice that they are panting more than usual, your dog may be experiencing anxiety from the travel, which naturally raises body temperatures. In that case, offer your dog some water, try to help them relax, and make sure they have cool air available.

Going on a road trip? Check out our guide on all-things dogs and national parks/forests. 

Do Not Shave Your Dog 

No matter how tempting it may be, shaving your dog’s fur may leave them more vulnerable to hot weather than before. Dog fur can serve as insulation or like doggy sunblock for their skin! 

At Portland Pet Food Company, we care about the health and wellbeing of all dogs, whether that means keeping them cool in the summer or making the healthiest food possible. We want your dog to thrive! Our human-grade dog meal pouches are perfect for road trips and adventuring, thanks to their shelf-stable packaging. Plus, the fresh ingredients are full of vitamins and minerals to keep your dog strong after a day’s adventure! 

Haven’t tried our meals yet? Order your first variety pack using code TRYPPFC for 40% off. Once you know your dog loves it, which we know they will, sign up for our subscription and get 10% off EVERY order! Your dog’s health will thank you.