Dogs are vulnerable to heat and can suffer heatstroke in extreme temperatures. Just like humans install air conditioners to keep cool during the summer, pets also need protection from the summer sun. For humans, sweating, drinking water, wearing shorts, and tank tops can do the trick. But for our furry friends, things are quite different. Kimberly May, a veterinarian with the American Veterinary Medical Association, says that contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats don’t sweat through their paws. “Any secretions from their paws, nose, tongue or mouth are not for sweating; they are for protection and moisture and are insufficient to cool the blood.” Dogs, therefore, need our help to cool their bodies down when the weather is too hot. So what can you do to keep your pet comfortable and cool in the hot summer weather?
Outside Your House Provide Shade
It’s common to find your cat in a nice cool shaded area in your backyard. Dogs also need an area where they can escape the harsh weather condition. A shade will provide a safe haven when the dog wants to cool down. Pay even closer attention if your dog is black because it will heat faster than a white dog. You can plant a shady tree to provide natural shade that your pets will enjoy. If it’s not possible to plant a tree, you can set up a DIY shade in a matter of minutes. You could also soak a towel in cold water and let your dog lie on it. This will quickly cool them down.
Keep the Water Flowing
The old adage water is life applies to all living creatures. Pet care experts recommend that you use a shallow water bath to keep your pet’s temperature down. A kiddie pool will come in handy in such situations to cool down your dogs if they are more into splashing water around. If you live near a natural water source like a river, you can take a nature walk down to the river and cool off your dog while enjoying the scenery. Similarly, dogs need a constant supply of fresh water to stay hydrated. You can add ice cubes to your dog’s water dish or even make homemade frozen treats for your dog to lick on.
Avoid Hot Ground
If you must walk your dog every day to prevent them from becoming restless, avoid doing it when the ground is too hot. Midday walks are dangerous and can burn the dog’s paws. Since we have our shoes on, it’s difficult to tell how hot the ground is. You can check this fact by placing the palm of your hands on the ground or pavement for a few seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot your pet. The best times for the walks are early mornings and late evenings.
Spray them with Water
Many animals and birds regulate their inner temperatures through their feet. To help keep your dog cool, spray him/her with water around the neck, paws, and legs. You can also wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and run it all over your dog’s body.
Inside the House Leave a Cool Surface for Your Dog
Don’t cover your whole house with carpets and rugs. When the weather is too hot, dogs like lying on a cement, vinyl, wooden or tile floor. Creating cool spots in your house can make a huge difference for your dog.
Keep them Groomed
The majority of dog breeds have thick undercoats that help keep them warm during winter and prevent their skin from absorbing too much heat during the summer. So it’s important to keep their undercoats brushed to prevent their fur from becoming tangled. This will prevent air from being trapped, hence keeping your pet cool.
Don’t Shave Your Double-Coated Furry Friend
It may seem obvious that shaving your dog’s hair will help prevent them from heating up. But it doesn’t work that way. There’s a reason your dog has double coats. For one, the top coat helps to prevent sunburn when it’s hotter. For another, the undercoat helps to keep them warm when the temperatures are down. During summer, dogs naturally shed their undercoat preventing their skin from overheating. When you shave the coats, it may never grow back the same way and this will affect your dog’s natural survival tactics.
Place fans strategically around the house to keep the air flowing. Air conditioning will provide great relief for you and your dogs. However, if you don’t have air conditioning, draw the curtains during the hot hours and open a window that’s not directly facing the sun to promote air movement.
Take Care of Your Pet
As a pet owner, dog health should be a top priority, and learning creative ways to keep your pet cool during the hot summer weather is of paramount importance. The most crucial things to consider are water, sufficient air circulation, and shade. Most importantly, check for signs of discomfort caused by excessive heat to avoid emergency trips to the veterinarian.
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