What are the best ways to keep my dog cool in the hot summer months? Dogs are very susceptible to heat stroke, especially here in Phoenix where summer temperatures can be deadly. Dogs naturally hav…
What are the best ways to keep my dog cool in the hot summer months?
Dogs are very susceptible to heat stroke, especially here in Phoenix where summer temperatures can be deadly. Dogs naturally have a higher core body temperature than humans and can overheat much more quickly, so it’s important to pay close attention to your pets when outdoors.
Limit exercise to either dawn or dusk when temperatures are lower, and always make sure they have access to plenty of water and shade. The best exercise this time of the year is swimming (make sure to always watch your dog around water) or try running the sprinklers for your dog to frolic in! Even a plastic kiddie pool is a great place for dogs to soak in and cool off.
Try to avoid taking your dog outside during peak afternoon hours when the sun is the strongest and, of course, NEVER leave your dog in a car at any point in the summer. Even at night, temperatures inside cars can reach upwards 100 degrees.
If you do plan on being outside with your pooch, there are certain precautions you can take to help regulate body temps. Cooling coats are a great solution, like the Ruffwear Jet Stream, as they offer both UV protection and evaporative cooling – simply soak in cool water before putting on your dog! Another easy solution is carrying a spray bottle filled with ice water and continuously misting your dog to cool them down.
If you’re out and about with your dog this summer you’ll also want to pay special attention to their paw pads. Avoid walking directly on hot surfaces like pavement or sidewalks – if it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws! Dogs also release heat through their paw pads (the K-9 version of sweating), so carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and apply to your dog’s pads if he’s showing signs of heat exhaustion or distress. Rubbing alcohol will help evaporate heat from the body quickly.
It’s also important to note that brachycephalic breeds (also known as brachy breeds, those with short snouts like Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Boxers) are especially susceptible to overheating. Because of their shorter air passages, it’s difficult for brachy breeds to pant, a main way your dog cools himself down. In reality, brachy breeds do not farewell in Phoenix’s climate, and if you are looking to add a new four-legged friend to your family I would recommend a breed that can better acclimate to our hot temps. Unfortunately, their recent popularity has skyrocketed in the Valley, as have the number of brachy patients in local vet offices.
If your dog continues to show heat distress even with these precautions, then get them to a nearby veterinarian right away! It is your responsibility to be prepared and pay attention to these signs while you enjoy your bonding time!
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Dr. Julie Mayer
Dr. Julie Mayer, DVM, specializes in integrative veterinary medicine and canine physical rehabilitation, including an underwater treadmill! Conveniently located in central Phoenix.