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Summer is upon us, and everyone is spending as much time outside as possible. Unfortunately, while parts of the country have beautiful weather, other areas are experiencing high temperatures and lots of humidity. And just like you need to stay cool and hydrated, it's just as important to monitor your dog's coolness and hydration!
Of course, dogs love being outside chasing the squirrels, running at the dog park, or walking around your neighborhood; but keeping them hydrated and cool is crucial.
Some dog breeds do better in hot weather than others. Generally, dogs with thin, short coats do best in the summer, like a Beagle. On the other hand, breeds with short noses and thick coats are less comfortable, like a Bulldog.
Although most dogs can tolerate hot days with the right amount of hydration and environment management, some dogs, no matter the breed, need a little extra attention. If your dog is elderly, obese, or diabetic, they will need a little more TLC on those extra hot days.
Although panting is how their body naturally regulates their temperature, you can do things that will help keep them cool on hot summer days.
Here are 10 Tips On Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer:
Your schedule may not always allow it, but try to get their playtime and exercise in before the day gets hot. This might mean setting your alarm a little early to beat the heat, but you and your dog will appreciate it. Avoid playtime and exercise between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on hot, humid days.
While at playtime or during exercise, be sure to take some water with you. Give them a small amount every 15 to 20 minutes so their stomach has time to absorb it and they don't overdrink. Overdrinking can lead to bloating or even water intoxication, where sodium levels in their body are depleted.
Just like your body needs a certain amount of water a day, so does your dog. Water keeps your dog's essential electrolytes plentiful, which allows for their circulation, digestion, and bowel movements to work smoothly. Water also helps your dog's kidneys flush out toxins from their bloodstream and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
The more active they are, or the hotter it is, the more they will need. In hot weather, dogs need 3 to 4 times the usual amount of water. A rule of thumb is 1 ounce of water for each pound they weigh.
Summer days call for a change of diet. Since dogs need more liquid and foods that are easier to digest, changing their food to wet canned food is another change beneficial to them by being another source for them to get water. You can also feed them melons and watermelons (minus the seeds) to treat them on a hot day.
Ice or chicken-broth flavored water is another excellent way to keep them hydrated on a hummer day. If your dog does not want to drink the regular tap water, try adding crushed ice cubes or chicken or beef broth to their water bowl. They might just like that water a little more!
Pets should never be left in a closed car or even in a dog house with no airflow. The lack of airflow can cause your dog to overheat. Instead, set up an area in your yard that provides shade for them any time of the day. You can string up a tarp, cloth, or shade screen if you don't have a tree!
Some dogs love swimming, and of course, some don't. But the ones who do, a quick dip in a puppy pool can cool your dog in no time. And if they don't like the pool, soak a towel with water and lay it across their body. You can also grab the hose and mist them, be sure the hot water from the sun has left the hose before spraying.
Frozen treats are perfect in the summer. Frozen blueberries, bananas, peas, greens beans are easy to treat your dog. Or take it a step further and make homemade frozen fruit or chicken broth pops. We promise they will love it.
When you head out for a walk, check the pavement before making your dog go on it. Place the back of your hand against the pavement for 5 to 7 seconds. If it's too hot for you, then it's too hot for your dog. If you still want to walk your dog, be sure to them some booties to insulate their paws! Or find some grass and walk there.
No matter the temperature, keeping your dog groomed is essential, but maybe a little more so in the summer. Your dog's coat keeps them warm in the winter and can keep them cool in the summer. Plus, it helps protect them from sunburn.
Brush your dog's hair regularly. This thins out their coat to allow for proper airflow. It also keeps their hair from becoming matted. Matted fur can trap heat.
Single-layer coat dogs are more at risk from sunburn with shorter coats. However, shaving their coat will not cause damage to their fur. (Poodles, Labradoodles, Yorkies, etc.)
Double-layer coat dogs should never be shaved unless directed to do so by a veterinarian. Shaving their coat to keep them cool in hot weather can have the opposite effect. (Huskies, Corgis, Labs, etc.)
Keeping your dog cool and hydrated in the summer isn't hard work; it just requires some minor adjustments to your daily routine. But in the end, you will have a happy, healthy dog. And while you are hydrating your dog, it never hurts to watch your hydration levels!