Dogs are the coolest creatures ever, but sometimes they need our help to cool off.
Summer is here and everyone is heading out for some fun in the sun. But it’s important to keep in mind that our furry friends don’t cope with hot weather in the same way as humans. They wear impractical fur coats and can’t cool off by sweating.
Here are some essential tips from OneMind Dogs Coach and veterinarian Minna Martimo to help you ensure you and your best friend can have a great summer together!
- Hydration, hydration, hydration. Help your dog to stay hydrated. Make sure he is drinking enough water both before and after any physical activity. Read more about the importance of hydration here.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car without supervision. Parked cars can be death traps in hot weather. If you have to leave your dog there, do it only for a short time and leave the A/C on or open the windows and trunk to create a breeze. A bed sheet over car windows or a solar windshield shade can also work, providing there is enough air flow.
- Provide ample shade. If your dog spends time in the yard, he needs to have access to plenty of shade and some water. If it’s too hot outside for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Know when it’s time to call him back in.
- Exercise in moderation. If you do any strenuous physical activity with your dog, like agility, it’s a good idea to do shorter training sessions. Do a few short sessions instead of one long one. Consider the temperature when you’re warming up or cooling off.
- A wet dog is a cool dog. If your dog is showing discomfort in the heat, help him by wetting the body parts that cool him off the most. This includes his belly, chest, neck, under the armpits, paws and legs. You can also use cooling vests or blankets.
- Keep an eye on excessive panting. Panting is the only way dogs can remove excess heat from their bodies, since they can’t sweat it out like us humans. Act fast if your dog’s tongue is lolling out of his mouth and he is panting heavily, or if he is lame and stumbling. Submerge your dog in a pool or shower his whole body with cool water. If he doesn’t seem to recover, see a vet immediately.
- Take care of yourself. Humans also need to stay hydrated and protected from too much sun. This is the only way you can be the best possible friend and teammate for your dog.
Stay cool and have a wonderful summer together!
Minna Martimo is an agility enthusiast and OneMind Dogs Coach from Northern Finland. Minna has been doing agility since 2000 and worked as a veterinarian since 2003.