Summer is the time of year when people across the United States head out to enjoy the warm sun and the long days. Every day in the summer is an adventure, and for those of us with furry friends, it’s a time of bonding, shared experiences and fun fun fun in the sun sun sun. While we all look forward to spending days outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, it’s also a time in North America when the heat hits us all hard. Have you ever stopped to imagine what it would be like if (a) you couldn’t sweat to cool yourself down and (b) you were wearing a fur coat in the heat? That’s what life is like for your dog, which means that as fun as it is to make the most of this time of year, dog owners also need to take special care to keep their dogs cool in the summer heat.
While this is easier said than done, there are steps that you can take to make sure that your buddy is kept safe from the heat and the potential fallout from overexposure to it. KONG has been working with dog owners to make their lives more enjoyable for nearly 50 years, and we’d like to offer 5 ways to keep your dog cool in the summer heat so you can avoid stress, the threat of harm, and worry about your friend. After all, it’s summertime, so let’s all take some basic steps to make positive memories before the weather turns in a few months in many places across the country.
1. Have Lots of Drinking Water Available
Dogs are mammals, and they share a lot of traits with humans. One of those is that when they get hot, they tend to cool down with moisture. That means that if you’re going to keep your buddy cool and calm, you need to be extremely diligent in making sure that he or she has plenty of water available at all times. You may be surprised at how much water your dog actually drinks when it’s 85 degrees and humid, but you can rest assured that he or she is not being gluttonous – your dog needs every drop of water that’s consumed in order to help maintain moisture in its body and to manage its core body temperature.
2. Have Lots of Soaking Water Available
Once again, dogs are like humans in that they enjoy a nice dip in the pool or the lake when it’s hot and they want to cool their bodies. If you live near a body of water that’s safe for swimming, go ahead and put on your own swimming suit and jump in with your buddy. Most dogs enjoy water anyway, but they’ll especially appreciate this opportunity when it’s hot. A wet dog is generally a cool dog, so even if you don’t have access to a body of water, a kiddie pool in the yard may make for a nice diversion, and if nothing else, turn on a sprinkler and watch your furry friend run through it and enjoy it to the fullest.
3. Watch the Time of Day
Every beautiful summer day is one where we tend to leap out of bed, have a nice cup of coffee, and contemplate the possibilities that we could encounter with our buddy. It’s a lovely time when your dog also knows that something is afoot, and it’s not uncommon for him or her to be excited as the day starts. However, one of the most important ways to keep your dog cool in the summer heat is to basically avoid the worst of it. If you’re going to have an active day with your friend, do so in the morning and then try to find cool shelter before midday, when the heat really starts to simmer. If possible, you should stay out of the sun until late afternoon or even early evening, as the sun is not your dog’s friend when it’s searing the planet. Plan your day to avoid this hot time.
4. Do Not Leave Your Dog in the Car
We all see it, we’re all troubled by it and we all know that it’s something that should never happen, yet every now and then we’re tempted to “just run into the store for a quick minute or two” to get something before heading home from wherever you’ve been. Don’t allow yourself to give in to that temptation. Several studies have shown that even with windows partly open, cars can soar to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes. Perhaps the most humane and responsible way to keep your dog cool in the summer heat is to make that drive home before heading back out to run that quick errand.
5. Avoid Blacktop and Concrete
It’s easier said than done in some locations, but blacktop and even lighter concrete can really heat up in the summer when the sun is on it for hours. One of the more overlooked ways to keep your dog cool in the summer is to do whatever you can to avoid that blacktop or concrete. If you can’t find a grassy park or field somewhere, then don’t go out in the middle of the day, as we mentioned above. That smoldering concrete or tar can inflict serious burns on a dog’s paws, and it’s an excruciating experience for any canine.
Overall, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog cool in the summer heat, and above all else, use your common sense. If you think it’s hot, your dog will think it’s hotter and he or she will suffer more than you will. Plan ahead, stay flexible in case you need to change your plans, and of course watch for any signs of overheating. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this instance. Enjoy the warmth and the long days!
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