Dogs do not sweat the way humans do. They sweat through the pads of their feet and cool off by inhaling and exhaling air while panting to keep internal heat down. Because their body cooling systems are less efficient, it is important to be aware of where your dog is on very hot days and to help your dog deal with the extreme temperatures.
You may be able to handle a run in the middle of the day in the blazing sun with no problem, but your dog cannot cool off as easily as you can. With limited sweat glands, high energy exercise in the hottest part of the day can be stressful and dangerous for your dog, even if they seem eager to join in the activities. Walk or run in the morning or evening instead of during the highest temperatures of the day.
If you are away from home and out in the hottest weather with your dog, be sure to bring a container of water for your dog. Allow your dog a rest period and find shaded areas to help your dog cool down.
Keep bowls of fresh cool water accessible at all times. If your dog spends a lot of time out in your yard, make sure there is a water bowl outside as well as inside. It is important that they stay hydrated at all times, but especially during extreme heat conditions. The cool water will help them deal with the heat. Like us, dogs are more likely to drink increased amounts of water during the heat. Check the water bowl periodically to make sure it is full.
Bathing and Water Play
Not all dogs are fans of the water. Some are not great swimmers, but something as simple as spraying the hose to help keep your dog cool may give them some relief from the heat. If you go swimming and your dog enjoys the water, encourage them to join in the water play to help them keep cool.
Allow your dog to stay where there is ventilation to help keep cool. Inside if there is no air conditioning, put a floor fan down in an area where your dog can rest in the breeze of the fan to cool off.
Shade or Cool Resting Area
Whether outside in the heat or inside a stuffy house, your dog needs a place to rest that allows them to stay cooler. On hot days you may see your dog splayed across a tile floor or in the shade of a tree outside. Don’t leave a dog outside in the heat with no place to find relief from the hot sun.
Cars and Closed Spaces
Do not leave your dog in a hot car. Not only is it illegal in many areas, the temperature inside a car during the heat can soar to unbearable heights for human or dog. Even on days that do not seem overly hot, the inside of a closed car in the sun can reach levels way above the outside air temperatures.
It is also a good idea to keep your dog out of tight closed spaces with little or no ventilation during the heat.
A responsible pet owner and loving human companion will help their dog keep cool in the heat. That little bit of extra love and attention will make the discomfort of extreme heat much more bearable for your loved four legged companion.
Top photo by OakleyOriginals
Middle photo by tsuacctnt
Bottom photo by ActiveSteve
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch