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Top Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool During Summer’s Worst

As temperatures rise, people and pets alike might find it tough to cope with the intense heat of summer. You want to do right by your furry friends, so maybe you’re considering a haircut for your pup, to keep them cool. While that’s potentially a great idea for a human–seeing as it allows for easier evaporation of sweat–the canine cooling system works very differently. We’ve already discussed whether you should shave your dog in another article, and, spoiler: it’s not a great idea. 


Instead of shaving your dog’s coat, here are some top tips you can employ to keep them cool and comfortable, from the first days of the season to the dog days of August. 


  • Brush Often – Since many double-coat breeds are shedding part of their undercoat as temperatures heat up, regular brushing helps to remove that excess hair. It allows the guard hairs to do what they do best: allow for air circulation and a natural cooling effect. A few brushing sessions a week and regular bathing is a good place to start.
  • Offer Shady Spots – Dog houses or other small structures will trap heat and can be unsafe for pets. Shady areas with plenty of air flow, such as under a tree, umbrella, shade sail, or other DIY refuge from the sun are vital for your pet to relax.
  • Keep Hydrated – As dogs pant, they can lose moisture. Always have cool, clean water available for them to replenish liquid and quench thirst. Freshen up bowls to make the water more appealing and try adding ice cubes, a splash of carrot juice or chicken broth, or pieces of a favorite fruit or vegetable to encourage your pup to drink.
  • Exercise Smart – Morning and evening walks are easier on you and your pet. Avoid being in the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Heat begins to build after noon and peaks from 3-4:30 pm. Limit your pet’s physical exertion to times when the atmosphere–and pavement–aren’t as hot. Be sure to bring a collapsible water dish and consider paw protection.
  • Set Limits – If you are finding it hard to be outside, then it’s safe to assume that it’s hard on your dog too. Panting doesn’t work as well to cool them when the weather is intensely humid, and some snub-nose breeds can find it hard to breathe also. If it’s just too hot out, stay inside.
  • Stay Cool – Give your pooch ways to bring down their body temperature, from an ice pack or wet towel to lounge on to a wading pool filled with shallow, cool water. Buy or make frozen treats to share on the hottest days. Inside the home, consider adding cooling pads for pups that tend to overheat.
  • Be Smart – Under no circumstances is it a good idea to leave a dog in a parked car. Even on comfortable days, a car can quickly heat to dangerous or even deadly levels. Not only is this a smart way to keep your dog safe, you’ll also skip potential damage to your vehicle on the part of concerned citizens looking to ‘rescue’ your dog. It’s better all around to leave your pup at home if your regular errand spots won’t allow pets inside.


Which Dogs Need Special Attention?


Some breeds are made for this, like basenjis and pharaoh hounds who originated from hot areas. Their build and short coat are ideal for keeping them cool even in the face of intense heat. In general, many sighthounds–think salukis, greyhounds, and whippets–can also take rising temperatures pretty well. With long noses and their big lungs and hearts, they can quickly cool down and efficiently distribute oxygen. That said, any dog can overheat or dehydrate, so a watchful eye is vital.


On the other hand, long-haired, double-coated, and snub-nose breeds can have trouble with hot and humid conditions. Dogs with short noses can’t effectively cool themselves via the tissue in their nasal passages. Giant breed dogs and elderly, obese, or diabetic pups might find it difficult to deal with the heat as well. If you notice unusually rapid breathing and/or panting, excessive or thickened saliva, unusual fatigue or lethargy, muscle tremors, or staggering, these could be signs of heat stroke. Dehydration is another serious concern. If you pick up on anything out of the ordinary, it’s a good idea to get your dog inside and get in touch with your veterinarian right away.


Remember too that not every dog is good at self-regulation. Some will beg to play for hours on end without a break, even if they’re overheating or becoming dehydrated. It’s up to you to enforce rest and recovery.


We know you love your pets, and at Insurance for Pet Care by Zinc, we wish you and your pups all the best this summer. So get out there and safely live your best life. We’ll be here, sharing tips and vital info, and protecting the petcare professionals who keep your pooch healthy and happy.

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.