Cocker spaniel puppy, wearing blue lemon pattern harness, outside in sun
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Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer

Keeping Dogs Cool

As the summer months approach, many dog owners across the UK start to worry about how to keep their pups cool and comfortable. While dogs may enjoy basking in the sun, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can quickly become dangerous for them. Unlike humans, dogs don't have the ability to sweat effectively, making it harder for them to regulate their body temperature. With temperatures now reaching the high twenties more frequently, it's good to know what you can do to help your dog beat the heat and enjoy the summer safely.

We'll explore practical tips and strategies to help you keep your dog cool and safe during those sweltering summer days. From providing access to shaded areas and cooling aids to adjusting exercise routines and hydration habits, we've got you covered.


Summertime Dog Treats

When the summer heat is on, nothing beats a refreshing treat to keep your dog cool and happy. Homemade frozen dog treats are a fantastic way to provide both hydration and a tasty snack for your furry friend.

DIY Frozen Treat Recipes

Making your own frozen dog treats can be simple and rewarding. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Peanut Butter & Banana Bites: Mash one ripe banana and mix with 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.

    • Remember to check that your peanut butter is dog friendly. Whilst most brands in UK supermarkets do not contain Xylitol, it's important to check before you buy.
    • It may be a little more expensive, but peanut butter with little or zero added sugar, salt or palm oil will be best for your pup 
  • Chicken Broth Popsicles: Mix a low salt chicken stock cube with boiling water, before pouring the broth into ice cube trays and freeze. You can even add small pieces of your dog's favourite foods such as apple or carrots as an extra treat!

  • Fruit and Yogurt Lollies: Blend together some dog-safe fruits like blueberries or strawberries with unsweetened yogurt, such as Greek style yoghurt, which is available in all supermarkets. Pour into ice lolly moulds and freeze. If you don't have ice lolly moulds, you can use an ice cube tray like mentioned in the previous recipe

Store-Bought Frozen Treats

If you're short on time or prefer the convenience, there are plenty of store-bought frozen treats available. For UK shoppers, stores such as PetsAtHome and Ocado normally stock a wide variety 

Safety Tips for Frozen Treats

While frozen treats are a great way to keep your dog cool, it's important to follow some safety guidelines:

  • Always supervise your dog while they're enjoying a frozen treat to make sure they're enjoying it safely, small frozen pieces can be a choking hazard.

  • Ensure the treats are an appropriate size for your dog to avoid any swallowing hazards.

  • Remember that frozen treats are still treats! They should be given in moderation to avoid any digestive issues.

Dog Cooling Vests, Mats, & Bandanas

Dogs don’t sweat through their skin like us. Instead, they predominantly cool themselves through their respiratory system — this is why dogs pant when they're hot. Cooling jackets for dogs can help by mimicking sweating across the dog's body. As the water from the coat evaporates, it helps to move heat from the dog’s body outwards to the environment.

If you've already got a bandana or neckerchief, you can soak this in cold water and freeze it to help keep the temperature down, just remember to replace this often once the cooling effect of the bandana has faded away, or keep multiple bandanas in the freezer for easy rotation!

 

Choosing the Right Cooling Vest

These vests are not fail-proof nor a replacement for the careful and cautious exercise of dogs on warm/hot days, but can be a nice aid on warmer days (just be sure to “recharge” the coat regularly by dousing it with water, as per the instructions).

Benefits of Cooling Mats

There are a range of specially-designed cooling mats available to buy. These are especially useful if you do not have any cold or stone surfaces in your home, e.g.  in houses with mostly carpeted surfaces, Some of these mats work best when cooled in the freezer, while others have self-cooling technology. In our case, we found out that Blue isn't actually a big fan of our cooling mat's texture, so if you have a fussy dog try to find one that has a similar style to your existing surfaces!

How to Use Cooling Products Effectively

  1. Ensure the vest or mat is properly cooled before use.

  2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for recharging or cooling the product.

  3. Monitor your dog to ensure they are comfortable and not showing signs of overheating.

  4. Use these products in conjunction with other cooling methods, like providing shade and hydration.

Dog Pools & Water Fun

Setting up a dog pool can be a fantastic way to help your dog stay cool during the hot summer months. You can get a small plastic kiddie pool or invest in a "dog pool," like a sturdy, easy-to-set-up, and drain, foldable pool. Be sure to fill it with fresh cool water each morning and properly clean it in the evenings. Providing shade over the pool will help keep the water cooler throughout the day.

While some dogs will dive straight in for a splash, others may need more encouragement. Dampening their coat also provides effective cooling, so you can quickly bathe them before letting them jump out. On the other hand, some dogs may get very excited in a paddling pool. It's possible to overheat in water if they are playful, so monitor your dog carefully and remove the pool if they're getting over-excited.

Pools come in a variety of different sizes, so be sure you get the one that's the right size for your dog. Choose a durable material, especially if your dog likes to "dig" in the water – avoid inflatable pools as a dog's nails may puncture the bottom or sides.

Never leave your dog unattended in the pool, and be sure to not fill it up too high, especially if your dog is a puppy, senior dog, or just not all that steady on their paws or "sure of themselves" in the water.

 

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Importance of Hydration

Keeping your dog hydrated is the most important step in a heatwave. You should give your dog plenty of opportunities to drink cool, fresh water. Place multiple bowls in different spots around the house and in the garden. You can also put ice cubes in their water to keep it cold.

Creative Ways to Encourage Drinking

There are lots of ways you can encourage your dog to drink more, including playing with garden sprinklers, or from a watering can if you don't have a sprinkler available. You may also want to invest in a travel water bowl or portable bottle to ensure they have something to drink while out and about. If you get really stuck, they’ll happily drink out of your hands.

Signs of Dehydration to Watch For

It's always important to keep your pet hydrated; it's essential for keeping them healthy. It's even more important during the summer months. If you're unsure of the signs of dehydration in dogs, take a look at the American Kennel Club for what to look out for.

Keeping Out of The Sun

Switch Your Walk Schedule

Dogs love routine, so changing their walk schedule may be a little challenge, but aim to walk your dog early in the morning before the sun has fully risen, or later in the day or evening when the sun has started to set. The cooler temperatures will be much kinder to your dog, and will help reduce the chance of them overheating whilst outside.

Provide Lots of Shade

If you have a garden or some shared outdoor space, you'll want to take advantage of natural shade or create some of your own! Sometimes, depending on the heat, something as simple as a tree is great. If you don't have any natural shade, consider a garden parasol/umbrella to make some artificial shade instead!

Stay Indoors & Use Fans to Keep Cool

When the summer heat becomes unbearable, sometimes the best option is to stay indoors. Keeping your home cool and comfortable is essential for your dog's well-being. Here are some tips to help you and your furry friend beat the heat.

Best Indoor Cooling Practices

To keep your home cool, start by closing windows and drawing curtains or blinds to block out sunlight. This will help prevent the indoor temperature from rising. If you have tiled floors, be aware that they can get very hot if they’re in direct sunlight.

Using Fans and Air Conditioning

Most houses in the UK will not have any type of air conditioning installed in their home, so it's a good idea to invest in a standing fan. To cool down your house using fans, the air outside will need to be cooler than the air inside. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Place a fan in a window on the coolest side of the building, with the fan pointing into your home to pull in cooler air.

  2. Place another fan in a window on the opposite side of your home, facing out to push warmer air out.

  3. Get as much cross breeze as possible by placing as many fans as you can in the above setup.

  4. Keep indoor doors open so air can flow more easily.

For multi-level homes, have the fans in upper-level windows on the hotter side of your home, pulling warm air out

Creating a Cool Indoor Environment

To create a DIY air conditioner, place a large bucket of ice in front of a box fan or tower fan. To keep your dog from helping themselves to the ice, place this setup out of their reach, such as on a chair, counter, or behind a dog gate. 

 

Key Takeaways

Keeping your dog cool in the summer doesn't have to be a daunting task. With a bit of planning and some simple adjustments, you can ensure your pup stays comfortable and safe even on the hottest days. Remember to keep them hydrated, provide plenty of shade, and avoid the midday sun. Whether it's through fun water activities, cooling vests, or just a good old-fashioned ice cube, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat. So, go ahead and enjoy the summer with your pup – just make sure they're cool and happy!

Points to Remember

  • Provide plenty of fresh, cold water to keep your dog hydrated during hot days.

  • Use DIY frozen treats or store-bought options to offer your dog a refreshing snack.

  • Consider using cooling vests and mats to help regulate your dog's body temperature.

  • Set up a dog pool and provide water toys for fun and cooling playtime.

  • Always ensure your dog has access to shaded areas, whether natural or portable.