Tips for Keeping Dogs Comfortable in Summer Heat

Tips for Keeping Dogs Comfortable in Summer Heat

The summer heat can have a profound affect on all dogs. However certain breeds, due to the size of their nose, type of coat or shape of their mouth, can feel those rays of sunshine even more. Here is a look at some of the dog breeds most affected by the summer heat, along with some tips to help keep your dog cool as the temps rise.

The Muzzle Puzzle

The shape of your dog’s muzzle can determine how they are affected by the summer heat. Breeds such as Pugs, Boxers and Shih Tzus feature muzzles with short noses and a flattened mouth which makes breathing a bit more difficult, especially in the summer.

A dog with a short nose also has a smaller breathing airway, making it more difficult to allow the intake of air to cool them down. The accompanying flattened mouth leaves them with less of an ability to pant, which helps control body temperature.

Two Coats – One Dog

Popular breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs have what is called a double coat, which is a dense undercoat of woolly hairs with a protective layer of longer hairs on top.

The layer of fur closest to their skin helps protect these breeds from extreme temperatures, however, they will still be more susceptible to heat-related issues more than others. The hot air gets trapped in their thick layers of fur and the extra heat forces their body to work harder in order to get cooled off.

Warning Signs

If your dog, no matter the breed, is suffering from heat-related issues, they will show obvious signs such as excessive panting, increased heart rate, thicker than normal drool and pale gums.

If these symptoms are ignored, they can lead to other problems for your dog including muscle tremors, seizures or even unconsciousness.

Keep Them Cool

Ensure your pup always has easy access to clean, fresh water and areas of shade, a fan or even a damp towel on the floor to help cool them off. Your dog is smart enough to know when they need to cool off; just ensure you have options available to them in order for them to easily find relief.

A cheap option to help keep your dog cool is a children’s wading pool. Fill it with just enough water to cover their paws so they can stand in it to cool off. Dogs tend to sweat through their paws so this option is an easy way for them to chill. Just make sure to dump out the water when they are done to avoid germs and hazards for small children.

Pups in Cars

Your dog may enjoy riding in the car with you in the summer, especially when you crack open the window so they can stick their head out to take in all the sights and smells. However, never leave your dog in a parked car.

Temperatures inside an unattended vehicle can jump 20 or 40 degrees within minutes, leaving your dog at risk of a serious illness and possibly even death. Leaving a window open, giving them access to water or parking in the shade is NOT enough to protect your pup from the heat. Even if the day doesn’t feel particularly hot to you, the heat of the car can cause heat stroke, brain damage or worse.

During the summer months, it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to your dog’s comfort and ensure they beat the heat and enjoy the season!

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  1. I use the baby pool idea every summer and it works like a charm. I found that by doubling up the pools they last longer. My dogs’ nails were poking through and I was replacing the pool every year before I figured out that trick.

    I also had to train my dogs to lay down in the pool, which took a little time, but was worth it. At first, I had to lead my dogs to the pool and have them lay down for treats, but now they seem to “get it” and do it on their own.

    On really hot days I dump a bunch of ice cubes in the pool. One of my dogs goes nuts for that and “bobs for cubes” as a game which gets him excited about cooling off.

    Thanks for the tips! Heat stroke can be deadly and this is really important information.