It is summer and a very intense one already. We guys started struggling from March onwards and its only June *puppy whine*! If we are struggling in the heat then our dogs must be going through hell. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat and they basically end up over-heating internally. Similarly, dogs cool down from the bottom upwards, so if you cool their paws then they cool down! By the time they exhibit symptoms of a heat-stroke, they’re already pretty sick so we have be super vigilant about their environment and how they are behaving.
Each dog reacts to heat differently, for example dogs with a darker coat heat up faster than those with a lighter coat, and overweight dogs will heat up faster than healthier dogs.
There are many things we can do to ensure the safety of our pets in summer, like for those who have the luxury, ensuring that our AC’s are on. It isn’t feasible for everyone all the time, but to the best of our ability, this should be done. In peak Delhi heat, a cooler is just not enough sometimes. Aside from expensive alternatives, there are a couple of things you can do to cool down your dogs this summer that they will be grateful to you for!
So here are the top 7 ways to keep your dog cool this summer:
Make sure that your dog has access to fresh and cool water all the time. You can even carry a little bottle of water with you on walks to make sure that the sun is not drying them out. Watch out for signs of dehydration such as excessive panting, becoming lethargic, sunken eyes, dark urine, and a dry skin and coat.
Get A Proper Bath And Trim
You should give your dog frequent baths to help with the shedding and natural thinning of their coat. In summer, most dogs will shed their heavier coat to a lighter summery one and frequent brushing and semi-frequent bathing will help keep their coat clean and light. You can opt for a summer trim for the long-haired babies but do NOT trim to the skin or even close to the skin as that gets rid of their undercoat which is the only protection they have against the direct sun! More on this in a later blog post but make sure you get a professional to trim their coat or just simply brush them every day.
One brilliant way to cool your dog on extremely hot days is to take a towel (you can choose a size depending on the size of your dog) soak it in water, remove the excess water, and then put it in the freezer for a bit. When the towel gets nice and cold, you can lay it on the floor for them to sit or just give them a twisted towel to chew on (pups will like this). If your dog is very hot, then you can use the ice towel (slightly wet it) and rub their chest and paws to help them cool down.
One fun way to cool down your dog and a fun weekend activity is to fill up a small pool (you get these non-inflatable type pools so they don’t burst with the dogs nails) and just have some fun. Some dogs may take some time getting used to the water but that’s natural, not all dogs love getting wet. Before investing in this, it is advisable to know whether your dog likes water or not, and how they behave in the bath is not the way to know. My boy, Ari, loves water that he finds anywhere that is not the shower. He really hates baths.
Changing The Walk Timings
With summer in full swing it is advisable to limit your dog’s outside time or structure it to avoid the high heat times. For example, take them out earlier in the morning and later in the evening. If they need to go out 3 times a day then you are better off taking them to the balcony or your own private garden during midday. The problem with walking during the afternoon is that the road itself heats up enough to burn their paws. You can try taking your shoes off and stepping on the road to check for yourself, chances are that if it burns you, it burns paws too. Aside from this, dogs with long coats just absorb all the heat and have no way to cool themselves down. Especially dogs like the double coated German Shepherd, Saint Bernards, Huskies, etc. they shouldn’t even be taken out in the sun in summer.
One easy way to ensure that their paws don’t burn is to use doggie boots! You get many different colors and varieties in the market today, and these provide good protection against the hot roads. It does take your dog a bit of getting used to, so you will have to start slow and train them to wear them. The first time they wear the boots, it is quite funny as they cannot understand what is stuck to their foot or how to walk in them. But aside from giggling, do give them a treat and distract them from focusing on that. Slowly condition them into wearing it for longer and longer periods.
You can offer your pets some delicious and healthy chilled treats! Before you begin giving them any treats, do make sure they are not allergic to certain foods or have any stomach sensitivities. Some basic treats that you can do yourself in the kitchen are:
- Frozen Watermelon (de-seeded)
- Frozen Peanut Butter
- Pup-Sickles made of water and some fruits like apples, watermelon, blueberries, bananas, etc.
- Broth Ice Cubes
- Or simply Ice Cubes!
You can take some ideas from my blog post Quick Treats From Your Kitchen