How to Keep Dogs Cool in the Heat

Written by on July 22, 2012 No Comments

I’ve seen a few boneheads recently–people walking their dogs in the heat of the day; people walking their dogs on black pavement; people leaving their dogs in the car while they run into the store.  So for the boneheads out there, here are some tips for keeping your dogs healthy and happy during the heat waves.

1.  Leave your dog at home when you go to the store.  If you want to find out why, sit in your own car for 10 minutes with the window cracked a couple inches when it’s 93 degrees outside.  You’ll soon discover that it’s way too hot to keep dogs in a car even with the window cracked for even a few minutes.

Leaving Dusty while I run to the store.

2.  If you don’t have air conditioning, keep some fans going.  Also, if you can afford to, get one of those kiddy pools.  You don’t have to bring it inside like we did a few years back; your dog will like it outside, too.

Dusty in a small pool inside the house. Circa 2001.

3.  Get your fuzzy dogs de-fuzzied.

Dusty a day after getting trimmed. He really was happier than he looks here.

4.  Walk you dog first thing in the morning or last thing at night when it’s coolest.  Not only is the air cooler, the pavement is also.  If you’ve never felt the heat on pavement, put your hand on some parking lot black top next time it’s over 80 degrees in the middle of the day to feel what’s it’s like on your pal’s fuzzy feet.

5. In Michigan lately, some evenings are still over 85 degrees an hour before sun down.  Consider dumping some water on your dog’s back to cool her off for the short jaunt.

Dumping a wee bit of water on Little Dipper before our evening walk.

6.  Keep the walks shorter than usual.  Even a cooled dog doesn’t stay cool for long.

7.  Keep plenty of fresh water in your dog’s bowl.  My two little dogs are going through two bowls of water a day lately. 

8.  If you can, take your dog to a clean body of water to cool off.  Dusty and Dipper used to love a wee dip in Lake Michigan.

Little Dipper and Dusty in Lake Michigan.

 9.  Even if your dogs are used to sleeping in your bed, it’s best to keep them cool at night in the summer.  In our case, Dusty’s ability to make the whole bed move when he was panting sent him off the bed and onto the bathroom floor.  We all slept better as a result.
10.  Finally, if you do let your dog hang out outside, don’t leave them out for very long.  Dipper would stay out for hours if we let her, but she’s 13 and a half now and it’s better for her to be inside.  Also, keep your eyes out for ticks–I brought one into the house recently from my backyard.  It’s possible your dogs may pick one up, too.

Little Dipper hanging in the sun for a bit.

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