Summer is coming - What to do to keep your dogs comfortable and cool

When temperatures rise in the summer, your dog can really feel the heat. Keeping your dog cool is vital for its well being, as heat stroke in dogs is a life-threatening condition. Warning signs include panting excessively, moving sluggishly, acting woozy, and losing consciousness. If you observe any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately.

1 Keep a filled water bowl near your dog at all times. While this may be obvious, it is an especially important step.

  • If your dog finishes the bowl quickly, get a bigger bowl or get a few bowls.

  • If you live with others, set up a schedule to ensure that someone is remembering to check and refill the bowl throughout the day.

2 Give your dog somewhere to get wet. Set up a small wading pool or similar container of water for your dog to jump into and keep his cool in the yard. The dog might also like to run under the sprinkler.

  • Be certain any pool you provide is not so deep that your dog could drown. The dog should be able to stand on the bottom of the pool with their head above the water.

3 Bring water along on walks. When you take your dog out on a hot day, bring water for both you and you canine companion. If your dog is panting or seems sluggish, stop in a shady area to offer your dog water.

  • If the dog won’t drink, you can pour the water over its body.

4 Keep the dog indoors. Let your dog spend the hottest part of the day in the coolest part of the house. If you have air conditioning in your house, leave it on during the day while your dog is alone.

  • There is no ideal temperature that applies for all dogs, but most begin to show signs of overheating between 81 and 85 degrees. Use a fan or A/C where possible.

  • This is especially important when the weather is humid. The moisture in the air makes it harder for dogs to cool themselves by panting.

  • If your basement is cool and comfortable, having your dog spend time down there is also a good idea.

  • Avoid midday walks. Take your dog for its walk early in the morning and at night when the air is cooler. If it is especially hot and/or humid, it may be better to skip the walk entirely.Choose shady, cool places to go for walks. You will both benefit from a cooler walking area. The presence of sea or river breezes can make an area a good choice for walking, if you live near such a place.

  • Manage your dog’s activity by putting it on a leash. This can help you prevent your dog from over-exerting itself in the heat.

  • Avoid letting your dog's paws touch hot pavement. Pavement can get very hot in the summer and walking on it can burn your dog's paws. Let your dog roam on grass if it's possible, and keep exposure to pavements at a minimum. To test whether the pavement is safe for your dog to walk on, lay the flat of your palm on the ground. If it burns, keep your dog off the pavement or put a pair of booties on his paws.

  • If you cannot hold your hand on the pavement for at least 15 seconds, do not take your dog out for that walk until the sidewalk has cooled.

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