We think of summer as the perfect time to be outdoors, and our dogs certainly agree. But the dog days of summer mean intense heat that can affect the well-being of our canine pals, including dehydration and heat stroke. Here's how you—and your pup—can enjoy the summer weather even as temperatures soar.
1. Go for Early Morning Walks
Before going out, take note of the humidity and temperature. This is because weather affects your dog's means of keeping cool: panting. Normally, panting allows dogs to evaporate moisture from their lungs, self-regulate their body temperature, and cool down when they are overheated. On a hot humid day, even panting doesn't help much, says experts at the Humane Society. If possible, avoid mid-day walks (the hottest time of day is typically between noon and 4 p.m.) and instead, opt to take that walk in the early morning hours when the sun is still low in the sky. It will be cooler outside, and your pup will be able to get a healthy burst of energy without getting overheated too quickly.
2. Protect the Paws
Another option: dog boots. When heat rises from the ground, especially on surfaces like sand and asphalt, your dog absorbs this heat through their paws. A pair of protective dog boots can help. Otherwise, avoid walking across long stretches of hot surfaces—alternate your route with patches of grass and unearthed dirt. After a trek outdoors, wet down her paws with room-temperature water (avoid ice, as this will be too harsh on the skin), and let her rest in front of a fan. This is a safe, gradual way of cooling down if she's been showing the initial symptoms of heat stress.
3. Offer Frozen Pet-Friendly Treats
Why should your pet miss out on all the sweetness of summer? Dog cooling treats like our yummy "pup-sicle"—made with banana, yogurt, and organic peanut butter—will incentivize your dog to sit, stay, and relax in the sweltering heat. Try different variations using your pup's favorite (and of course, pet-safe) ingredients or simply serve frozen fruit treats or frozen veggies. You can also freeze dog treats in ice cubes so that your dog can suck on the ice to find a yummy treat inside!
4. Stay in the Shade
When you go to the park or anywhere outdoors, make sure there is plenty of shade available. Find shaded places to sit that will keep you and your dog out of the sun and keep you cooler if it's a particularly hot day. The shade can be a great place to relax and drink more water. And you can serve a few cool doggy treats to seal the deal!
5. Keep Water Accessible
Make sure that your pooch is well-hydrated. Keep fresh water available at all times and better yet, know the signs of dehydration: excessive panting, wobbly feet, a dry nose and mouth, and skin that loses elasticity. To avoid this, carry a bottle of fresh water and a lined collapsible bowl at all times.
6. Choose the Right Haircut
Many dog owners think a new summer haircut is the key to cooling down, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Depending on the breed, an undercoat layer will actually help protect your pup from overheating and sunburn. Trim any excess on your dog's mane, manage any matted clumps to allow air circulation, and avoid shaving too short. Better yet, ask your local groomer for advice.
7. Throw a Puppy Pool Party
Because why not? Consider taking a swim instead of going on a walk for your pup's daily dose of exercise. Invite the other pooches in the neighborhood for a puppy party. Add a few nautical-inspired toys or playing fetch in the water, and it should be a paws-itively good time!
Before you head outside: learn how to clean your pet's bed: