Chilled out? How to keep your dog cool on hot days.

Hot dogs are great on a BBQ but common sense says that if you’re feeling uncomfortable in the heat, so is your dog.  Whilst humans can dress for the weather, your canine companion doesn’t have an immediate option to reduce their body temperature and might need a helping paw.  At Just for Pets, we think it’s really important that you know what to look for when it comes to signs that your dog is feeling overly warm and have put together our top tips for keeping your canine cool.

How will I know if my dog is too hot?

Some dogs are much better equipped to deal with hot weather, and doing a little breed research is a great place to start when it comes to predicting your dog’s temperature needs.  For example, Chihuahuas originated in Mexico and have therefore developed lightweight, silky coats to help them stay cool.  However, with their double layered coat designed to keep them warm in freezing weather, a Husky is going to be quick to overheat when the sun comes out!

Heavy panting is an easy to spot sign that your dog is feeling the heat.  This may go hand in hand with drooling and drinking more water than usual.  Feeling your dog’s ears is a good way to get a gauge of their temperature; it’s a great idea to do this on a day where the weather is fairly mild too, so that you have something to compare their temperature against.  Keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour – lethargy or tiredness is a good sign that they aren’t feeling 100%.  Keep an eye on how your dog is lying – if they’ve spread themselves out over a tiled floor, they are most likely trying to cool themselves down!

How can I help my dog to cool down?

We’re glad you asked!

  • ALWAYS make sure that there is plenty of fresh, cool, clean water ready for your dog to drink.  Have a bowl inside for them and one outside too (in a shady place, of course!).  Why not make it extra refreshing for them by putting a few ice cubes in the water?  If you wanted to take it to the next level, this bowl from the All For Paws ‘Chill Out’ range will keep the contents chilled over time.  When it comes to games, the All For Paws Chill Out toys can be soaked in cold water before playtime, keeping your dog cool and hydrated during the fun!
  • Walk your dog in the morning or the evening, when it’s cooler.  Take care to avoid walking your dog on a hot pavement or tarmac, being especially cautious if your dog has short legs.  The heat from the pavement can burn your dog’s paws or quickly cause problems for a dog whose body is close to the ground.  A good test is to stand out on the pavement yourself in bare feet – if it’s uncomfortable for your feet then it is almost certainly too uncomfortable for your pet!  If, however, a walk out on hot tarmac is unavoidable, it could be with investing in a soothing paw balm like this one from Sharples and & Grant.
  • Make sure your dog has a cool area to rest.  If the temperature is over 27°C, Just for Pets definitely recommends that you keep your dog indoors on a cool floor, ideally in a room with a fan.  In extreme temperatures, consider wrapping cloths soaked in cold water around your dog’s paws and in their armpits.  Alternatively, why not try this All For Paws Chill Out Bandana, which is designed to be soaked in water and then fastened around your pet’s neck to cool them right down quickly. Tiled floors are perfect for hot dogs, but there are also some incredible beds that will allow a great level of circulation around your dog while they rest, like this All For Paws Fresh Breeze Mat.
  • Groom your dog daily during hot periods to encourage natural shedding.  A tangle-free coat offers much better protection from the sun and will keep your dog cool.  Some breeds might need their coats trimming to keep them cool, if you think yours is one of them then consult a professional groomer for advice.  For white or very short coated dogs,
  • A padding pool (or even just a hosepipe) is a great way to give your dog the opportunity to cool off, although it isn’t a given that your dog will enjoy playing in water.  Just like children, dogs require supervision when playing in water – especially short-snouted breeds like Pugs or Bulldogs, as swimming does not come naturally to them.  Make sure your paddling pool is tough enough to withstand your dog’s claws – like this one from All For Paws – and be sure to change the water in the paddling pool on a daily basis as potentially harmful bacteria can grow in stagnant water.