Unlike us humans, dogs mostly get rid of their body’s heat by panting. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the pads of their feet; however, this only minimally disputes the heat.
But when panting is no longer efficient enough, dogs’ body temperatures rise and this can be fatal. This occurs more during the summer months, so continue reading this post to know how to keep dogs cool in warm and hot weather.
How to keep dogs cool – What is a heat stroke?
This is a life threatening condition that occurs when the body’s temperature suddenly rises. It usually occurs when dogs are carelessly left in parked cars or if the dog exercises and plays outside the house on a hot day.
Many dogs, unfortunately, die every year because of heat strokes that could have been easily prevented. It doesn’t even have to be so hot for your dog to get a heatstroke. Since they can’t sweat like us, their major way to get rid of sweat is by panting.
How to keep dogs cool – Signs of heat stroke
Signs you should be aware of:
Be aware if any sudden increase in temperature happens. Why? Because this could easily cause your dog to get a heat stroke even if the weather isn’t that hot. The sudden increase in temperature is a good of a reason alone for that to happen.
Sign number 1: Heavy panting
If your dog has their mouth fully open as they pant, especially if their swollen tongues were out while they’re just resting, then this should be your first red flag.
Sign number 2: Excessively Drooling
Drooling excessively means they’re trying to cool down, which is a good sign cause it means that their bodies are trying to lower the body temperature. However, you should still step in and help your dog cool down. I will explain how later in this blog post.
Sign number three: Dry red gums.
Blood vessels in the body dilate in order to encourage blood to come to the surface to lose as much heat as possible. This is most visible on your dog’s gums; the gums will turn red.
The dryness is mostly due to dehydration. If your dog isn’t drinking enough water, and they’re panting a lot, dehydration is inevitable. Also, the saliva thickens up and is characterised by having a stringy texture and look.
Sign number 4 : Vomiting and diarrhea
Now we’ve entered the dangerous territory because if your dog is vomiting and pooping dark and tar like diarrhea, they this means that the lining of their intestines has started getting damaged.
Sign number 5 Change in mental state
If your dog starts twitching and going into a seizure, or even their walk is a bit wobbly, and they develop a vacant look in their eyes twitching and are unable to respond to any commands they’re in a very fatal stage of heatstroke.
Start cooling them right away. It is important to start with the cooling process before you take them to the vet. Use a cold wet towel and wrap them in it and put them in front of a fan.
Now that we know how dangerous and life threatening heat strokes are, let’s talk about five different ways to prevent them because prevention is better than cure. Keeping keeping dogs cool in summer should be a priority.
However, I will also tell you how to intervene if your dog enters a dangerous state.
How to keep dogs cool in summer outside
How to cool down a dog
1) How to keep dogs cool: Keep them hydrated
You can make sure that your dog is getting enough water by giving them multiple drinking spots. Keep multiple bowls full of water in different places inside your house and in your garden.
2) How to keep dogs cool: Turn on the sprinklers
If your dog is playing in your backyard during the summer, then turn on the sprinklers. When dogs get wet, the cool water on their bodies will soon evaporate, taking some of the dogs’ heat with it and cooling them down.
3) How to keep dogs cool: Use a Fan
Just like how we turn on the air conditioning or fans to help us cool down to escape the summer’s heat, your dog will also highly appreciate and enjoy basking in the cool air.
If you have to put your dog in a crate from whatever reason, for example walking to a nearby vet, then consider getting them an attachable crate fan.
4) How to keep dogs cool: Cool mats and ice packs
I wouldn’t recommend you take your dog for a walk when it is really hot outside. Stick to taking them out to exercise when it is coolest throughout the day. That is usually when it is early in the morning or early in the evening.
But what if you something urgent happened, and you have to take your dog out with you? Well, how about you dress them up properly? If you’re asking yourself what does a dog wear when it’s hot outside, know that the answer is cooling vests!
Yes, these do really exist! The cooling vest has pockets on the inside, were multiple icepacks could be placed and secured around different parts of your dog’s body.
Dogs and heat are just no bueno, so make sure you put them in their cooling vests before taking them outside of the house in the summer months. If you’re interested in getting your dog a cooling vest, then why not try our Dog Cooling Vest? Click here to check them out.
For inside when they’re inside the house, consider getting cooling pads for your dog, or get a mat and put it in the shade in the backyard, and pour cold water on it. When your dog lays down on it, they’ll cool down a bit
5) How to keep dogs cool: Frozen treats
We all scream for ice cream, but what would dogs bark in anticipation for if they a freezer of their own? If you guessed frozen treats, then you’re absolutely correct.
I am going to share with you two different recipes, and you can choose and tryout what you like.
The first one is making delicious, ice blocks that are so yummy and cooling for your dog!
You’ll need the following:
- A handful of your dog’s favorite treats
- Beef or chicken broth. If you’re feeling lazy, you can use low fat chicken stock.
- Warm Water
- A Container that has a cover
You’ll fill the container halfway through with some warm broth ( or crumble a low fat chicken stock and add warm water halfway through). Then you’ll add a handful of your dog’s favorite treats and let the mixture cool down before you add it in the freezer.
Leave it in the freezer overnight, and you can grab it whenever you want to serve it your puppy. To serve it, take the container out of the freezer and put the closed container under the warm water for a while.
Finally but not least, open the container, and release the mega ice cube on a plate and serve it to your dog.
The second recipe is great for those who own kongs. You’ll need:
- Kong toys
- Your dog’s favorite treats
- Warm water
You’ll start by adding your dog’s favorite treats in a bowl and barely covering them with some warm water. While the treats soak, cut a piece of a carrot or a cucumber so that its diameter is smaller (cut it vertically) than the kong’s hole.
You’ll then stuff the kong with the soaked biscuits, then add the carrot stick. Put this in a cup where the opening holding the carrot is facing upwards and stick it in your freezer and leave it overnight.
When you take it out and give to your dog, they will chew on the frozen carrot stick, which will keep them entertained and cool until they reach their cool and moist treats. This is a great way to ensure that your dog is staying cool and not overheating when you’re outside the house.
How to keep dogs cool
What if you found your dog in a critical state due to their severe heat stroke? Before you take them to the vet, wrap them towels that are soaked in cold water and put them infront of a fan for ten minutes.
Before you go out to the vet, put them in their cool vest and turn on the fan attached to their crates.
If your dog isn’t crate trained, then check out my How to Crate Train A Dog | The Ultimate Guide blog post!
That’s it for today’s post. You should now know what to do during the summer to prevent your dog from getting a heatstroke. You’re now able to spot the signs and also be able to intervene before the heatstroke puts your precious dog in an emergency and fatal state.
If you have any questions about cooling down your dog and preventing heat strokes, then feel free to leave them in the comments down below.