As a professional dog trainer based in California, I know that our hot summers can be tough on our furry friends. While we may be used to the heat, dogs are not as well-equipped to handle it, and it’s important to take extra care to keep them cool and safe during these months.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to tolerating heat. Breeds with short snouts, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, as well as breeds with thick coats, such as Huskies and St Bernards, are more susceptible to overheating. These dogs may need extra attention and care to help them beat the heat.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog during the summer is to provide them with plenty of water. Make sure that your dog always has access to fresh, cool water and consider freezing a portion of their water to give them an extra refreshing drink during the hottest hours of the day. You can also consider adding ice cubes to the water bowl or even freezing a broth, that way it will melt slowly and your dog can have a refreshing drink for longer.
Another key component is providing shade. Dogs can’t sweat like humans do, so they cool themselves off by panting. But when the air is hot and humid, panting doesn’t work as well. Make sure that your dog has a shaded area to retreat to when they need to cool down. If you don’t have a shaded area in your yard, consider investing in a portable pop-up shade or an umbrella. This will allow them to take a break from the sun and relax. Also, consider investing in a Dog House with good ventilation, and place it in a shaded area, this will provide a cool and comfortable place for your dog to rest.
Physical activity should also be adjusted accordingly to heat. Avoid taking your dog for walks or runs during the hottest hours of the day, and instead, go for walks early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Also, try to choose shaded routes for your walks, this will keep your dog cooler, and prevent sunburns.
Be aware of the pavement or surfaces you are walking on, as pavement, sand and other surfaces can get very hot and burn your dog’s paws. Use the “five-second rule” to test the temperature – place the back of your hand on the pavement for five seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. You can also consider using booties or paw wax to protect your dog’s paws from the hot surfaces.
Another way to help your dog beat the heat is by giving them a cool bath or shower. This can be a refreshing and enjoyable way for your dog to cool down, and it also helps to remove any dirt or debris from their coat. Be careful not to overdo it, as bathing your dog too frequently can dry out their skin.
Finally, don’t leave your dog alone in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures inside a parked car can soar to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Leaving your dog in a parked car can put them at risk of heatstroke, and it’s illegal in California to leave an animal unattended in a parked car in a manner that endangers the health or well-being of the animal.
By following these tips, you can help your dog beat the heat and enjoy a safe and comfortable summer. Remember, if you notice your dog showing signs of overheating, such as heavy panting, excessive drooling, or confusion, take action immediately by moving them to a cooler area and providing them with water.
By staying vigilant and taking extra care, you and your furry friend can make the most of the sunny California summer.