What are the hazards for dogs in hot weather?
Dogs don’t have sweat glands like humans to help cool them off. Their cooling system is in their nose, tongue and paw pads
The most obvious risk is heat sickness in the form of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Sunburn can also be a problem especially for dogs with a light color or white coat or a thin coat. Sunburn to the nose can also be a concern. Use a sunscreen for dogs. The third area of concern is damage to the paws. In the hot weather the tarmac, concert and even manhole covers can be extremely hot.
Consider putting boots on your dog or always check the ground temperature before they walk on it.
To learn more about the hazards facing dogs in hot weather and the signs to watch for read “Dog exercise in Hot Weather”
How to keep a dog cool outside
Cool drinking water.
The most obvious thing to do if your dog is outside in the hot weather is to provide lots of cool drinking water. You can even freeze a second or third drinking bowl so it stays cool longer.
Provide a kiddie pool
Fill up an inexpensive kiddie pool for your dog to wade around in to cool off.
Leave a sprinkler on for them
You can leave a sprinkler on for your dog to run under and play or even soak them with a hose. Lots of dogs love to chase the water from the hose. This dog water sprinkler allows your dog to play this game without you. This device attaches to your hose and has a paw pedal so they can turn the water on. Ideal for when the weather is hot keeping them cooler and providing access to fresh flowing water to keep them hydrated.
Take them for a swim
You can take your dog to the beach or lake to play and swim. Remember that swimming is a strenuous activity and it is still possible for your dog to overheat or even get heatstroke from overexertion.
Provide somewhere to dig
Often dogs will dig a shallow pit to lay in to keep cool. Provide an area or even a sandbox for them to dig in. If using a sand pit ensure it is in a shady area and you can even wet the sand down first.
Ensure there is plenty of shade
Make sure there a plenty of well shaded and cool area for your dog to lay in. If you don’t have natural shade such as trees or a covered area you can use a gazebo or similar. You can even get a raised dog bed with its own cover. Check out the Quik Shade pet bed and cover at Amazon
Use a cooling aid.
Freeze a Kong toy with beef or chicken stock inside to give them a treat and keep them cool at the same time. If using stock, dilute a lot as many stocks can be high in sodium. For more on Kong toys see “How to use a Kong toy for dogs”
Put a white T-shirt on your dog
If you have a black or dark colored dog put a white shirt on them. This stops there dark coloring attracting so much of the heat of the sun.
Use a Misting System
A misting system vaporizes mist instantaneously and lowers air temperature by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the entire surroundings breezier and more comfortable for your dog. This is a low cost and effective way to keep your dog cool outside. Of the misting systems for dogs that I researched my recommendation for a kennel area is –
Perfect if you’re looking for a portable misting system that installs in less than 10 minutes and cools the outdoor surrounding area just as quickly. Comes with 18 feet of ¼-inch diameter pre-assembled, ready-to-use highly-flexible pipe. This makes cooling your dog easy anyplace outdoors.
After mounting the hose, simply connect the system to an outdoor tap and you’re done. The kit includes a hose washer, six brass anti-corrosive misting nozzles, and six alligator clips to connect to a fence, umbrella, sun shelter, or any similar structure.
How to keep a dog cool in a kennel
Use a fan
Attach a fan to your dog’s kennel, run or crate.
Use a cooling mat
Place a cooling mat inside your dog’s kennel
Use a Misting System
A misting system vaporizes mist instantaneously and lowers air temperature by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the entire surroundings breezier and more comfortable for your dog. This is a low cost and effective way to keep your dog cool outside. Of the misting systems for dogs that I researched my recommendation for an outdoor area is –
You get up to 50 feet of mist line. This can cool a much bigger area than what most misting systems cover at about the same price.
This is one of the best misting cooling systems for dogs because it produces an ultra-fine mist that cools the surrounding air before it evaporates. This significantly lowers the temperature by about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Installation is hassle-free as no tools or adhesives needed. It comes with a durable 2-way Y shut-off metal hose connector, 10 nozzles, fittings, mounting brackets, and an easy-to-understand user manual. It is best suited to larger areas rather than a small kennel area.
How to keep your dog cool inside the house
Keeping your dog cool inside is simple if you have air conditioning. However, if you don’t, here are some tips to help.
Provide cool drinking water
Ensure your dog has plenty of cool water to stay hydrated. You can put ice cubes in the bowl to keep it cool longer. Alternatively, you can use a dog drinking fountain which will keep the water cool and fresher encouraging them to drink more.
Use an electric fan
Provide an electric fan to help circulate the air in the house. You can even put a container full of ice cubes in front of the fan to create cool air.
Keep your dog downstairs
If you live in a two story house keep your dog downstairs. As warm air rises the lower level of the house will be cooler
Provide a cooling mat
Have a cooling matt available for your dog to lay on.
Close the blinds
Keep curtains and window shades closed during the hottest part of the day. One of the best ways to keep the house cool is by keeping the hot sun out of the house to begin with.
A Final tip
Groom your dog
For non-shedding breeds, you can have them clipped shorter. Avoid shaving them too short. This can diminish their ability to stay cooler and can make them more susceptible to sunburn. A dogs fur acts to insulate them from the cold, but also from the heat.
Many people will clip of a double coated breed such as Collies or Shepherds, but in fact, this does not make them cooler as the picture demonstrates. The dog in the picture had the rear end clipped and the front left with the natural double coat. Just ensure they are well brushed with most of the undercoat removed. As you can see, the natural coat kept the dog cooler. For more on this, read the article “Should I clip my double coated dog“. You can clip under the belly where they trap a lot of heat to help make them cooler.
I hope you have found these tips useful. To learn more about your dog’s care in the hot weather read “Dog exercise in Hot Weather”
This article explains the hazards facing dogs in the hot weather including sunburn, heat stress and heat stroke, and burning their paws on the hot ground. It also gives ideas on how to provide the much-needed exercise and mental stimulation even if the weather is hot.