As the middle of summer approaches and temperatures get hot, you want to keep your dog cool. We spend a good portion of the summer months outdoors enjoying the weather and the sun, and our dogs enjoy it just as much as we do! Dogs will enthusiastically take on any summer adventure if it means being able to spend time with their humans. Dogs have much fewer ways to cool down than their two-legged family members, and this can easily result in overexertion and overheating, leading to heatstroke.

Heatstroke in dogs can happen fast and can become dangerous quickly. According to the American Kennel Club: “Early signs of heatstroke include heavy panting and rapid breathing, excessive drooling, dry mucous membranes, bright red gums and tongue, skin hot to the touch, and a higher heart rate. Affected dogs become hyperactive and may have difficulty maintaining balance.” If you believe your dog is suffering from heatstroke, get them to their veterinary provider or the nearest animal hospital immediately.

As with almost any canine medical issue, the best treatment for heatstroke is prevention. Here are a few ways you can help your dog beat the heat this summer.

Dog enjoying sun, Summer Safety

Avoid It When Possible

In the summer, temperatures tend to peak just before noon and into mid-afternoon. During this time, pavement and asphalt can conduct heat and be downright painful for your dog to walk on. Try scheduling your daily walks or visits to the park early in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening, avoiding peak temperatures and allowing your dog to exercise comfortably. You can also consider walking in shaded areas or areas with paths that are primarily dirt or grass.

Dog Walking On grass, Summer Safety

Consistent Grooming

Many owners think that shaving dogs is a good way to combat summer temperatures, but this isn’t always the case. Longer hair and double coats typically serve as both insulation in the winter and a natural cooling system in the summer. You’ll want to regularly brush and bathe your dog throughout the warmer months to prevent potential infection or matting. Here are some basic summer grooming tips that will help you keep your dog cool! If you are considering a haircut, it’s best to get advice from a grooming professional regarding your dog’s coat.

Dog Being Brushed and Groomed, Summer Safety

Limit Time In The Sun

If you plan on spending time outdoors during the day, make sure to keep play sessions short. You’ll also want to provide plenty of shade and avoid allowing your dog to spend too much time in the direct sun. Dogs with shorter hair or thin coats are highly susceptible to UV damage. If you own a dog with shorter hair, consider dog-friendly sunscreen.

Dog Laying In Sun, Summer Safety

Water Breaks

An important part of summertime is keeping your dog hydrated. Keeping your dog hydrated helps them regulate their body temperature, keep their energy levels up, and promotes quicker recovery. Make sure you provide easy access to water or schedule water breaks during extended activities outdoors. Here’s how to determine how much water your dog needs, and here are 5 easy ways to keep your dog hydrated.

Dog Drinking Water, Summer Safety

Summertime Hacks

Here are some easy summertime hacks to help keep your pup cool!

Dog in pool cooling off, Summer Safety

Frozen Fruits And Vegetables

Freeze your pup’s favorite fruits and vegetables into ice cubes with an ice tray, providing both a fun way to cool off and a special treat!

Cooling Towels

An easy way to help cool your dog down is to provide a towel that has been soaked in cool water to lay on. Cooling down your dog’s stomach is the fastest way to help them regulate body temperature. Also, consider a bandana dipped in cool water!

Kiddie Pools Or Sprinklers

Consider a kiddie pool or a sprinkler in your yard for an easy way to cool down and refresh your pup. You can also drop fruits like apple slices and blueberries in the pool and let your dog bob for treats! Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables dogs can and can’t eat.

Heat Check

Before you take your dog out for a walk, check to make sure the pavement or asphalt outside isn’t too hot. Place the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds; if you cannot do this comfortably, then it is probably too hot for your dog to walk on. This same rule applies to sand at beaches.

Don’t Forget Your Boots!

If your dog can tolerate wearing them, booties are a great way to combat hot sidewalks and pavement. If your dog is not a fan of booties, consider natural dog wax. Both booties and natural dog wax can help your dog’s paws avoid cracks and dryness.

If you have any questions about these dog summer safety tips, we encourage you to reach out to your veterinarian for more information.