Dogs can be susceptible to heat stroke, so it is vital to understand how to keep them cool when the weather heats up. In this article, we discuss easy ways to keep your canine companion safe through the hot summer days.
A dog suffering from heat stress may have a decreased appetite, metabolic stress, leaky gut or endotoxemia, and in-sideout Dog Formula is designed to help with these issues.
To prevent heat stress, provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water for your dog, placing multiple containers of water around your yard or dog space.
Give your dog access to a cool, shaded area to prevent overheating
Never leave your dog inside a parked car, even with windows cracked. It can heat up very quickly and be dangerous to their health
Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest times of the day. Early morning and evening hours are best for dog walks and other physical activities.
Consider investing in dog cooling accessories, such as vests, blankets and cooling mats.
Give your dog quality food and supplements, like in-sideout Dog Formula, to help it maintain healthy body weight.
The Risks of Heat Stress for Dogs
Heat stress in dogs is a serious threat. Heat stress can lead to severe health problems if not addressed swiftly. A dog with heat stress may experience metabolic stress, endotoxemia, leaky gut and a lowered appetite.
Fortunately, in-sideout Dog Formula includes ingredients designed to support these problems, aiding in dog digestion, constipation, and gut health and cultivating a stronger immune system.
Of course, we don't want your dog to ever get to the point of distress, which is why we provide some tips to help prevent your dog from overheating during the summer months.
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How to Cool Down a Dog in Hot Weather
Keeping your pup safe and comfortable in the summer heat is necessary but challenging.
Following these tips on how to cool your dog down in hot weather can help keep your dog healthy and happy all season long.
Give the Dog Cool Water During Walks
Like people, dogs need plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially in the summertime. Make sure your pup always has clean, cool water available. If you take them out for a walk, plan ahead and know places where they can have a drink and a rest.
It's also a good idea to carry an extra bottle of chilled water with you just in case you need it. However, avoid giving your dog a lot of very cold water to drink if it's thirsty, as the dog's temperature should be lowered slowly, not all at once.
Mist or Rub the Dog with Cool Water
Another way to cool dogs off is to mist them with a spray bottle filled with cold water or rub them down with a wet towel. A damp towel or spritz can help bring their temperature down.
Do not use cold water from the refrigerator or water with ice in it to douse the dog in – cool water or room-temperature water works better to lower the dog's temperature safely.
Supply an Ice Pack
A quick method to cool your dog is with ice or an ice pack. Ice packs are easily obtained and can help reduce canine body temperature, even in the summer heat.
While an ice pack can keep a pet cool, it shouldn't be strapped to the animal in a way that forces contact. Ice packs should instead be made readily available in a shady spot out of the hot sun.
Keep Your Dog Cool with Air Conditioning
There's really nothing like a cool, air-conditioned room on a hot summer day to keep your dog cool. If you can provide your dog with this luxury, it will go a long way in keeping them relaxed and safe.
However, if you can't provide an air-conditioned space 24/7, allowing your dog a cool area to hang out in during the hottest parts of the day also works well.
Use Sun Protection
Sunscreen and dog-safe bug repellent can help protect your pup from harmful UV rays and summer pests.
Request advice on dog sun care from your vet or check your local pet shop for dog-safe sunscreen and pest relief products.
Always use products specifically designed for animals for their safety. Human products are generally not made for use on dogs, and the dog may have an adverse reaction.
Use House Fans to Circulate Air
A stuffy house or outbuilding can be brutal in the summer heat, especially if you don't have air conditioning. Using fans for air circulation can make the temperature more comfortable, whether you're outdoors or inside your home.
Keeping a constant airflow going reduces the overheating threat to you and your dog.
Exercise Early or Late in the Day
If you're taking your pup outside for exercise, try to do it in the early morning or late evening when the air is cooler, and the surfaces aren't sizzling.
The middle of the day is the hottest part of the day, and exercising in the hottest part of the day can be dangerous for your dog's health. Most dogs like to go for early morning walks, so lean into that while dealing with warmer weather and get their exercise in before the sun heats everything up.
Make sure your dog is well-hydrated before and after exercise, too.
Avoid Hot Surfaces
Stay away from hot surfaces like asphalt or concrete when walking your dog. Hot surfaces can affect your dog's paws and body temperature quickly on a hot day and should be avoided when possible. Direct contact with overheated surfaces can even burn a dog's paw pads.
If you can't avoid exercising on asphalt or other surfaces that hold heat for a long time, protect the dog's feet with dog booties.
Also, when visiting a dog park or going for a walk, go in the late evening after the ground has had time to cool down or in the early morning before it's had time to heat up.
Supply Water for Playtime
While we may feel sluggish on hot days, our canine companions still need exercise. Working water into your dog's playtime can make the experience more bearable for you both.
Plug in the sprinkler system, use the garden hose or set up a small dog pool in the yard for playtime. Water is a lot of fun for dogs on warm days; they'll find relief and enjoyment in the cool water. They'll also burn a lot of energy safely.
Before letting your dog jump in, check the water's temperature to ensure it's not too cold or too warm. And if you don't like the smell of a wet dog in the house, dry the animal thoroughly with a bath towel before allowing it indoors again.
Use Dog Cooling Vests and Mats
A cooling vest or a cooling mat is a great product for keeping dogs cool.
Cooling mats and vests work similarly. The vest or mat is typically filled with cooling gel that cools the dog for a few hours at a time. This is excellent for getting through those brutal afternoon hours.
Alternatively, instead of a cooling gel, some mats or vests are designed for the owner to fill with cold water, kind of like the opposite of a hot water bottle. And others can be doused regularly with water, which evaporates into the environment.
A wide range of cooling products exist to keep your dog comfortable in the heat, so you have a lot of options. Some dogs may be averse to wearing a vest and prefer a cooling mat, or vice versa. It's up to you to find the cooling product that works for you and your canine companion.
Give Your Dog a Delicious Frozen Treat
Frozen dog treats are easy to make and are effective at keeping a pup cool.
Simply mix some pureed fruit in a bowl, pour it into ice cube trays and then freeze the cubes overnight. Not only will frozen treats provide your dog with much-needed fluids during hot days, but they'll also love snacking on the delicious frozen treats.
A word of warning, however. Be careful when feeding ice cubes to pets. While dogs usually enjoy munching on ice cubes, they can potentially break or damage their teeth when chewing on them. It's also possible for dogs to choke on ice cubes, which is why supervision is necessary when supplying frozen dog treats.
Brush Your Dog's Coat
Grooming your pup's coat is an excellent cooling technique for summertime. Brushing removes any matted fur that may be trapping heat, allowing air to circulate freely. Good air circulation lowers your dog's body temperature.
Regular brushing also prevents uncomfortable tangling, resulting in a happier pup overall.
Provide Plenty of Opportunities for Hydration
Your dog needs more water than usual on a hot summer's day. Offer your dog several opportunities throughout the day to drink, and supply more than one water bowl. It's helpful to place several water bowls throughout the house or yard, so a cool drink is always available.
If they don't seem interested in drinking, try mixing a bit of dog-safe, low-sodium chicken broth or tuna juice with their water to make it more appealing.
Additionally, canned food is typically preferable to dry food in warm weather because it has more moisture and helps the dog stay hydrated.
How Do Dogs Lower Their Body Temperature?
Unlike humans, dogs don't sweat. They lack sweat glands on the surface of their skin and depend on other methods to cool off.
Panting, moving to a cooler environment, resting in the shade or dunking themselves in water are some strategies dogs use to keep cool.
In fact, panting is integral to dog cooling. When a dog pants, it takes rapid breaths and exhales warm air, exchanging it for cooler air on the inhale. As it does so, moisture evaporates from the mouth and tongue, helping regulate its body temperature.
Proper panting can prevent the dog from overheating and is an important part of a dog's natural cooling mechanism.
Symptoms of an Overheated Dog
Dog owners should keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke in dogs on every hot day. Since dogs pant to keep cool, excessive panting is a top sign to look for when wondering if your dog is overheating.
Other common symptoms of overheating include:
Heat can seriously threaten your dog's well-being and even be deadly, so make sure you are taking the necessary precautions for protection.
If you notice any signs of overheating in your pup, move them to a cooler area immediately and contact a veterinarian.
What to Do with an Overheated Dog
Heat exhaustion can quickly become a life-threatening emergency if not treated promptly.
If your pup is showing signs of overheating, the following steps should be taken:
Move your dog to a cool and shaded area immediately.
Offer them cold water or an electrolyte solution, like Pedialyte.
Use cold compresses or a wet towel to reduce their body temperature.
Encourage airflow with fans or air conditioning.
Consult a veterinarian.
Don't take overheating lightly - if you're concerned about your pet's health, contact a vet immediately.
With the proper care and prevention, you can keep your pup safe this summer and enjoy the sunshine.
Preventing Heat Stroke
Prevention is critical when it comes to dog health and overheating. Taking suitable preventative measures against heat stroke can save your dog's life.
Below are some tips to help you prevent heat problems on a hot summer's day.
Never Leave a Dog in a Hot Car
Leaving a dog in a hot car can be especially dangerous. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can quickly rise to unsafe levels.
If you're going to be away from home and can't take your dog with you, it's best to leave them in a cool place indoors or find someone who can watch them.
Make Sure Dogs Stay Out of the Direct Sun
On sunny days, temperatures can quickly hit hazardous levels for dogs. Make sure your pup has a cool, shady spot to relax in. Whether inside the house or in the backyard, your dog needs adequate shade to get a break from the sun's heat.
Dog owners that don't have shade trees or shaded areas for their pets to lounge or play in may want to invest in pop-up canopies. Pop-up canopies can make warmer weather more pleasant for your pet and other members of your household who like to spend time outdoors.
Move Play Indoors
Dogs love to play outside in the summer, but when it's too hot, it's best to move, play and exercise indoors. This will allow your pup to burn off energy without the risk of overheating or the threat of burns to the dog's paws.
Try playing fun games indoors, like fetch or tug-of-war.
Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight to Prevent Overheating
Overweight dogs are more prone to overheating than those of a healthy weight, which is why weight management is key to keeping dogs cool. Dogs at their ideal body weight experience less stress on their body due to heat.
To keep dogs at an appropriate weight, feed them a balanced diet that includes high-quality foods and exercise them regularly.
Supplements like in-sideout Dog Formula may also be needed. in-sideout promotes better overall health by optimising the performance of the immune system and intestines. In addition, supplements like in-fusion ha and infusion msm may be necessary to maintain healthy joints, allowing dogs to stay active and burn off excess fat.
Continue reading for a more thorough discussion of weight management, and more information on diet and supplements.
Methods for Maintaining a Healthy Weight
As mentioned above, maintaining your dog's body weight is a part of good temperature regulation. However, sustaining the right weight is easier said than done in some cases.
Dog owners having trouble with canine weight management may want to try the following methods to help their dogs stay fit and healthy.
Quality Dog Food
Feed your dog high-quality dog food with plenty of proteins and healthy fats. Avoid processed dog foods full of fillers, sugars and unhealthy fats.
Dog parents who aren't sure what to feed their pets should discuss their dog's diet with their vet for specific recommendations.
Nutraceutical Dog Supplements
In addition to the right diet and exercise, supplements may be necessary to help your canine pal stay fit and ward off overheating.
Supplements are usually designed to enhance a dog's overall health or supply targeted support.
Helpful dog supplements include:
in-sideout Dog Formula
This nutraceutical supplement features a blend of natural ingredients that nourish your canine companion's body. in-sideout's pre & probiotics and other components optimise intestinal and immune health and contribute to better overall fitness.
The holistic supplement supports good digestion, encourages the utilisation of nutrients and facilitates healthy skin and fur.
in-fibre is also a great gastrointestinal supplement for dogs who need a boost to their fibre intake to regulate stool.
Exercise should, of course, be a part of every dog's health and weight maintenance plan. Dogs should get plenty of daily exercise to stay fit and trim.
When exercising with your pup in hot weather, take frequent breaks to ensure they don't overheat. This goes double for brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, who are more prone to overheating.
Be sure to provide plenty of cool drinking water during exercise, and don't push your dog past its limits. A dog that is panting and obviously tired should take a breather in extremely hot weather, even if it seems to be having fun.
Joint Supplements: in-fusion ha and infusion msm
Dogs with joint pain may be less willing to exercise, which is where joint supplements come in.
in-fusion ha and infusion msm offer joint and cartilage support, promoting activity and fat burning. Joint support is especially important for older dogs since joints tend to wear with age.
Breeds Not Built for Hot Weather
Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. For example, brachycephalic breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, tend to have short noses and flat faces that limit air intake and make it difficult to pant and cool down.
Other breeds that may overheat more readily include the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever, both of which have a double coat, and large breeds such as Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands.
If you have a dog that tends to overheat, be extra vigilant in the summer months and take extra precautions.
Make sure they get regular breaks during exercise and spend most of their time in the shade or indoors. Never leave dogs prone to overheating in direct sun, especially in hot climates. Their body heat can rise rapidly, and they can become dangerously overheated before you know it.
FAQs About Keeping Your Dog Cool
Summer can be brutal in Australia, and dog owners have a lot of questions about keeping dogs cool.
Here are some of the most common questions and answers.
Can I Use Ice Water to Keep a Dog Cool on a Hot Day?
Yes, you can use ice water to help keep your dog cool on a hot day. Be sure not to give them too much at once, though, and never try to rush the dog's body to cool by bathing it in ice water.
Instead, provide small amounts of cool water to drink throughout the day to help them stay hydrated and comfortable.
Do Dogs Overheat A Lot?
In general, dogs are well-equipped to handle warm temperatures and don't often suffer from overheating. However, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke and should be monitored closely during hot weather.
Additionally, overweight or poorly exercised dogs may also be more prone to overheating.
What Is the Fastest Way to Lower My Dog's Body Temperature?
The fastest way to lower your dog's temperature is to move them out of direct sunlight and provide cool drinking water. You can also use damp cloths or dog cooling vests to help them cool down and return to a more normal body temperature. That said, it's important not to rush the dog's body temperature; try to cool your dog slowly over time.
If the dog is panting heavily or showing other signs of potential heat stroke, immediately reach out to your vet for recommendations. Overheating can be deadly for dogs, so it's a condition that should be taken seriously and addressed with urgency.
Summer Fun with Your Canine Companion
Dogs love the summertime, but furry friends can quickly overheat in hot weather. Running, jumping and having doggy fun in the sun can cause your pup's body temperature to heat up fast, so dog owners should always take proper precautions.
With reasonable long-term and short-term protections, like weight management, cooling products and schedule adjustments, you can make summertime an enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your furry friend.
By Dr. Guangda Xue (Danny), BSc, MRes, PhD
Animal scientist specialised in gut health development and inflammation management