Across the spectrum of dog breeds there are vast differences in ability to maintain & regulate body temperature. From the tiny, short haired Chihuahua, perfectly adapted for the hot Mexico desert, to the giant, long haired Bernese Mountain Dog, ideally suited for snowy, alpine regions. In this guide we will cover ways to help keep your dog cool and comfortable in hot weather, no matter the breed!
Alter your walking routine
The safest and coolest times of day to walk your dog during hot weather are early in the morning and later in the evening. Morning is optimum as the pavement and atmosphere have had the whole night to cool, but if that isn’t feasible with your daily routine, the late evening is just fine. If you want to be extra safe, hold the back of your hand against the pavement for 7 seconds, if you can’t do so comfortably, it’s still too hot for your dog to walk on.
Increase air circulation
If you come from a country which doesn’t have air conditioning in the home as standard, a great way to help cool your pet is by opening windows and creating as much airflow as possible, lowering the atmospheric temperature inside your home. Do not leave your dog indoors with no fresh air access. On a similar note, don’t rely on a fan to cool your dog as they regulate their temperature differently to humans, and an overall cooling of the atmosphere around them is much more effective.
Keep an eye on humidity
Dogs regulate their temperature differently than humans. When a dog is panting, it is trying to replace hot vapour in the lungs with cool air in order to lower their temperature. If the humidity in your home is high, it can hamper your dog’s ability to replace the hot vapour and, in turn, will render them unable to cool down. If you live in a particularly humid environment with a dog, it is highly recommended that you invest in a dehumidifier to help them regulate their temperature correctly.
Keep them hydrated
As dogs pant away the hot vapour and replace it with cool air they dehydrate, just as a human would while sweating. It is imperative that your dog has access to an ample supply of fresh water at all times, the cooler the better. Some dogs have a natural preference for moving water, an instinctual hangover from their wild days. If this is something you struggle with, there are excellent & generally well priced dog water fountains for sale at most reputable pet stores which help fulfil this urge.
Damp Towels & Water Fights!
If a burst of exercise or a short stint in the sun are unavoidable, a dampened towel lightly pressed over the body can be a great way to help your dog cool quickly. If they’re ok with water, why not take them outside for a big hose pipe fight!
Create/allow access to shade
If your dog is going to be spending time outside, ensure they have an area of shade that they can access at any time, and won’t disappear when the sun changes position. All the better if they are able to access the outside warmth and the inside shade at will.
It can be additionally difficult to keep a hyperactive dog cool in hot weather. Try and create as relaxing an environment as possible - try to remove any stimulating toys or treats & lay out a simple bed. There are also special music mixes and podcasts designed to help relax dogs available for free on websites such as YouTube which are excellent for helping to foster a sense of calm.
Keep them well groomed
If your dog has a particular thick coat this is probably top of your list but it’s one that many people miss. If your dog has a coat that requires grooming, attempt to keep it as short as possible throughout the summer months and hot periods. It’ll go a long way to keeping them comfortable and leave less for you to clean up as they shed!
Cooling jackets & cooling mats
An excellent option if you’ve got some spare money are cooling jackets and cooling mats. There are jackets which you can add water to cool as well as versions containing a cooling gel formula, with the cooling mats similarly containing a layer of gel that cools on contact. A cooling mat combined with a patch of shade is paradise for a dog on a hot summer day!