Summertime can be full of fun, sun, and playtime with your pup. We love to take our dogs with us on outdoor adventures, but sometimes forget the dangers of the heat. Dogs stay much warmer than humans. Keeping them cool is vital to their safety, and making sure the good times can continue all summer long!
Dogs and Heat-Related Medical Issues
Injured Paw Pads
Burned paw pads are an all-too-common issue that is often overlooked. Hot concrete not only raises your dog’s body temperature, but it can also lead to blistered, cracked, and very painful paw pads. Some dogs may even suffer lasting injuries that cause them to limp and cry.
Always check the temperature of the concrete before you walk your dog. Even when the sun has gone behind the clouds or started to set, concrete may be hot. Dark asphalt can retain heat well into the evening time. Use your bare hand and hold it on the ground. If the temperature is uncomfortable with your hand, it is too hot for your dog’s feet.
Booties designed for walking in the snow can also keep your dog’s paw pads protected in the heat. It is best to minimize their exposure altogether, but if it is absolutely necessary, this tool may come in handy.
There are many signs your dog is dehydrated. Dry nose, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and dry gums are all easy to spot symptoms. More serious issues can occur if you do not address dehydration quickly. Vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy are issues than can worsen your dog’s dehydration.
Heat exhaustion is a very real and very serious concern for dog owners. Many dogs have a coat meant to keep them warm in cooler temperatures. Also, their close proximity to the ground means their bodies are exposed to the heat of the concrete. This increases their body temperature much faster than humans’.
Overweight dogs are at an even higher risk of heat exhaustion. The extra fat on their bodies inhibits their ability to control their body temperature.
Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs can include excessive panting, fatigue, lack of appetite, and vomiting. More serious symptoms can occur, including heatstroke and even death. Keeping your dog cool and hydrated can prevent these symptoms and save your dog’s life.
Signs of heatstroke are very similar to exhaustion but the effects can be fatal. Watch for high body temperature, increased heart rate, excessive salivation, muscle tremors, and difficulty walking. If your dog has any concerning symptoms contact your vet immediately!
Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer
Cooling dog beds come in many variations. Gel cooled beds are especially effective at keeping your dog’s body temperature regulated in the warmer months.
For outdoor fun in the sun, a dog pool is a great option. You can fill it with nice, cold hose water to give your pup a place to cool off when you’re out in the yard. Make sure to keep the water fresh so it doesn’t get too warm sitting outside.
If you are going to take your dog out in the heat, be sure to keep them hydrated. Water bottles specially designed for your dog often have a bowl or cup attached to make it easier to transport and use on the go.
Try to take your dog on walks in the early morning or evenings. If you do need to take them out during the day, try to pick a place or route that is shaded all day long. Dirt trails are usually cooler than concrete, and walks in the woods will be much more comfortable for both of you. For training, you can utilize a local pet store. Some hardware stores also allow leashed dogs.
Good Hot-Weather Dog Breeds
Chihuahuas originated in Mexico, where the climate is particularly hot. Their thing coat and average snout make them very tolerable to heat. However, their short legs do keep them close to the ground, and they are not immune to the dangers of hot asphalt.
Dalmatians also have a long snout and short coat. Their height also works to their advantage. These dogs are built for extreme levels of exercise, and they are well-equipped to regulate their body temperatures during high levels of activity.
Basenjis are native to Africa, which is home to some of the hottest climates in the world. Their long noses, big ears, and short coats make them an excellent hot weather dog.
The Pharaoh hound also originates from Africa They were originally bred to hunt in the deserts of Egypt, making them instinctively at home in dry, hot weather. Their extremely short coats keep them nice and cool in hot climates, and the heat will not slow them down.
The Saluki’s long lean body and extremely light coat make them great warm weather dogs. They come from the Middle East originally and genetically are well equipped to deal with hot weather. They do tend to overdo it if allowed, so don’t let them play too long or hard in the heat.
Greyhounds have minimal body fat and very short fur. They do not have any undercoat to insulate them. They do well in warm weather but do not let them run too wild. Their lack of fat and fur also inhibits their ability to regulate body temperature if conditions get too extreme.
Whippets, like greyhounds, have very short fur and minimal body fat. They have long noses that help them circulate air and keep themselves cool. Just keep an eye on them when the heat reaches extreme levels.
During the hot weather months, keeping your dog cool should be a top priority. Utilizing tools like cooling dog beds and cool pools will keep them comfortable. Having a way to keep them hydrated on the go is also important. If you need water while you’re out and about, so do they!
If you live in a place with extreme heat, it is best to pick a dog breed with a short coat, lean physique, and long snout. Remember, many pups do not want to slow down, even if their bodies need to. Avoiding exercise and training in the hot parts of the day is the best approach. It is our job as their guardians to be sure we give them what they need!
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Meet The Author
Nicole is a professional dog trainer who has been in the business for about 5 years. She has two dogs of her own. Milli is a ten-year-old Beagle with plenty of sass to go around, and Axel is her three-year-old Pit bull who has more energy than anyone knows what to do with. Both of her dogs are rescues who came to her with their own set of issues. Working with troubled dogs is where her passion for dog training started. She has grown to learn that teaching people how to communicate with their fur babies allows them to enjoy happy and stress-free lives together.
Working through a multitude of different dog problems has allowed Nicole to become very knowledgeable of the best products out there: collars, leashes, toys, treats, beds, crates, and even hiking, camping, and boating gear for pups with a more “extreme” lifestyle. Nicole is always learning and growing, so she can find what is best for her dogs and yours!