It can be easy and fun to keep your dog cool in the summer. Yes, it’s the dog days of summer. And wow, it’s a hot diggity dog diggity hot dog of a summer. Sorry, I had to pop that tongue twister in there just because it’s fun and how often do you get to use it? Do you know how to keep your dog properly cool when it’s hot? There are a few tricks and you don’t have to spend a lot either. Today, let’s dig in and discover how to cool down your dog in the heat of summer.
*Updated: June 22, 2023
Budget Tip: The best part of how to keep your dog cool in summer is that you don't need to spend a lot of money. If you do buy special items, they can generally be used for many summers to come. In the end, anything that helps keep our dogs cool, healthy, and happy, is generally worth a look. In most cases, it is worth the cost. Plus, remember the costs of these items are generally not large. But if you need, you can start setting aside money each month for a your dog's pet savings account. Keeping your dog cool is definitely budget-friendly and a huge win-win for you and your dog!
1. Fun ways to cool your dog and kids
These are always fun and both these kids and dogs enjoy the water fun while staying cool. I’m always surprised at how durable and economical they are for a kid and dog backyard.
Dog and Kiddie Swim Pool
This is always a fun one. I remember summer fun in my little kiddie pool with my dog. Can you believe they are now durable and even foldable to use season after season? Wow! Progress!
Another fun summer kid and dog cool-down classic. Who hasn’t run through a sprinkler had loved it?
Water Hose Fun
The original water gun. This one never gets old. It’s like tag, but with the hose. Whoever has the hose is king or queen and the dog is happy to supervise and get wet on both sides.
2. How to cool your dog down or keep him cool
This one works better inside. It does help keep your dog cool. It may not do such a great job of getting him cool though.
If your dog is looking like he’s getting overheated, a wet towel is always a perfect go-to trick for a quick temperature drop.
Dog Cooling Vest
My dog has enjoyed his cooling vest since nearly the day I got him. I’m always surprised at how long it stays cool. On extremely hot days, I’ll put it in ice water and let it soak for 30-60 minutes before I put it on him. It will stay cool for about 5-6 hours.
Put a few ice cubes in his water to help drop his temperature. Also, many dogs will like to drink more water with ice.
Frozen Chew Toys
Just like you enjoy something cool or cold on a hot day, so will your dog. It will help keep him cool.
Similar to a frozen chew toy, this will help cool your dog off. However, it won’t last as long. Some dogs don’t like toys or don’t understand toys as well, like my dog Henry. This is a great option for these dogs.
3. How to protect your dog from the hot summer heat
Make sure your dog has lots of water during the summer. Water is especially critical for dogs in summer. Remember not only will he drink more water, but his water will evaporate quickly as well. Also, don’t forget to clean his water at least once a day. This will help to encourage him to drink as well.
Your dog’s paws are delicate. Paw booties are great to protect them from hot sidewalks, rough rocks, toxic weeds and plants, chemicals, and cold in the winter. Surprisingly, it only takes a few minutes for most dogs to adjust to wearing booties.
Just as you need to protect your skin from sunburns and skin cancer, you also need to protect your dog’s skin in the same manner. However, it’s important to select a sunscreen that is free of zinc oxide and PABA. Both are toxic to dogs.
One of the best ways to cool down a dog is to find a shady spot. That can be under a tree, in your house, under a chair, or under an umbrella. Don’t forget to have cool water nearby.
Exercise In The Early Morning Hours
By exercising in the early hours of the day you and your dog will escape the majority of the summer heat.
4. Warnings for dogs in the summer
Never, ever leave your dog in a closed hot car. If you see a dog in a locked, hot car unattended, please call 911.
You may be surprised at how quickly a heatstroke can happen with a dog. Some signs are excessive panting, thick saliva, staggering, and muscle tremors.
Some signs of dehydration may be difficult to see. A few signs to look for are sunken eyes and lethargy. Also, keep your eyes open for when you pinch the skin on the back of your dog’s neck it is slow to return. This is a sure sign of dehydration.
Your dog’s ability to cool himself will be determined by the humidity. Keep your eyes on the humidity levels.
This type of water issue will usually happen when playing or swimming and too much water is swallowed. A dog can die from water intoxication.
Toxic or Contaminated Water
Some dogs will swim in algae, especially blue-green algae, infested water and become very sick or die shortly after drinking the water. Pay attention to where your dog swims or plays.
While most dogs are natural swimmers, not all dogs can swim and not all dogs are strong swimmers. Don’t assume that your dog can swim. Make sure your dog can swim. If you are on a boat, invest in a dog-sized life vest.
Fleas and Ticks
Always do a thorough check of your dog when you’ve been out hiking or outdoors. Carefully remove ticks if necessary. If fleas are detected, bathe your dog with flea shampoo, comb his fur with a flea comb, and do regular inspections.
Many dogs are curious about the sound of rattlesnakes. One strike can be deadly. There are rattlesnake aversion classes. Also, there is a rattlesnake vaccine available in many areas. Discuss your best options with your veterinarian.
Bugs and Vermin
There are many summer bugs, which are more active in the summer and are very dangerous for dogs and humans, such as scorpions, black widows, brown recluses, and fire ants. Additionally, be careful if your dog should find a dead mouse or little critter. They will generally want to eat it.
However, if the rodent is dead, it may have been poisoned. Watch your dog. If he has a sudden lack of appetite, extreme salivation, heavy breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased urination, acting abnormally or you suspect a poison issue, do not try to induce vomiting at home.
But you will need to rush your dog to your veterinarian or call a pet poisoning hotline such as Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661, or ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435. However, keep in mind that these hotlines may charge for their services.
Weeds and Toxic Plants
While some plants and bushes are toxic if eaten, others are just an irritant if peed on, such as rose bushes. Goat head weeds are a sort of locking weed that you need to examine your dog’s paws, legs, and underbelly for when he comes in from outside. If he ingests a goat head it can get lodged in his throat requiring a veterinarian visit. This is another good reason for booties.
Be careful of weed, bug, and rodent killers. You don’t want your dog to walk on or eat any of these. Yet, another tick for booties and careful watching of your dog.
Fireworks and Thunder
These are loud noises that will scare even some of the calmest dogs. Try to keep your dog calm. Put on other noises such as a radio to distract, place your dog in a smaller area for him to burrow down into, and make sure to provide lots of water. Some people have luck with CBD and other alternative products like Thundershirts or calming beds.
Although, if your dog is beyond these tactics you may need to consult your veterinarian for help and a prescription to help calm your dog on these extreme days.
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Summary of fun ways to cool down your dog in summer
Summer can be a fun time. But we always need to take precautions to make sure our dogs and pets are safe as the temperature rises. I know it can be stressful. But in reality with just a few steps your dog can stay cool and you can rest easy. For me, my dog, Henry does well with a cooling vest. I was actually surprised at how much it helped him. However, when he needs more cooling then I’ll help him by splashing him down with cool water. Actually, I don’t mind the cool water on a hot day either.
Here at Tail Wag Wisdom, we wish you all a happy, healthy, safe, and cool tail-wagging summer fun time.