What’s On Blog

How to Keep Your Dog Cool, & Beat the ‘Summertime Blues’

31st May
Every season of the year has its pros and cons for dogs. Whilst spring and summer are fantastic for extra time in the day to walk your dog with more daylight hours, as temperatures warm up, a nice walk in the park could turn into an emergency vet trip.

Unlike people, dogs can’t regulate their body temperature by removing clothing or wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Dogs can only ‘lose heat’ through panting, or through their paw pads. A dog’s body temperature is naturally two degrees hotter than ours between 38-39 degrees Celcius, they can reach ‘boiling’ point, 40 degrees Celcius, very quickly.

Signs Your Dog is Too Hot

Signs that your dog could be over-heating can be a combination of excessive panting, restlessness, drooling, lethargy, collapse or vomiting, excessive thirst and either bright red or dark red gums.

Interestingly another sign is refusing to drink. This is because a dog’s natural instinct kicks in, and to prevent urinating and losing fluids. They are pre-programmed not to drink to conserve fluids. In this instance tempting your dog with some super hydrating bone broth can work a treat. Packed with electrolytes, minerals and vitamins as well as plenty of water, it has an ‘isotonic’ effect. Similarly, coconut water works in a similar way, but for me ’bone broth’ is more species-appropriate.

Remember that puppies and older dogs are the most vulnerable and that dark-coated dogs absorb the sunlight faster than paler-coated dogs.

white and black staffy looking into the camera panting and drooling - keep your dog cool

How to Prevent Your Do Getting Too Hot

It’s our ‘duty of care’ to ensure that our precious pooches stay safe and cool. Take care not to walk your dog in the midday heat of the day, opting for early morning and evenings instead. Generally speaking, for walking the dog temperatures are ideally at a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius. Be mindful to avoid too much ‘aerobic’ exercise like ‘fetch’, instead go for a gentle stroll, perhaps practising some training like a sit or down stay in the shade. Avoid the sunny side of the street so dogs’ paw pads won’t ‘burn’ on concrete pavements. Always ‘be prepared’ and take cool water out with you in case of an emergency.

If you’re travelling in the car, plan your journey to avoid the hottest part of the day. Check how hot the ‘back seat or boot’ gets. Even with the air conditioning on full blast, it sometimes doesn’t adequately cool the back of a vehicle. Clip-on fans can be used, and the windows can be kept open slightly to allow for fresh circulating air. Plan your journey around regular comfort breaks for you and your pooch, and the chance to stretch and take in some sights, sounds and smells.

Never leave your dog in a parked vehicle, even in the shade on a scorching day!!! A car turns into a greenhouse, and dogs tip into heat stroke in only five to 10 minutes, causing a terrible death where organ failure takes hold.

Missing One Walk Won’t Harm Your Dog

If temperatures go over 30 degrees Celsius, maximise your home and garden rather than risk the ‘outdoors. There are so many cooling vests, mats, and bandanas to help keep dogs cool. Plus, a dog-friendly paddling pool is an investment and fun garden feature. Also, make sure your garden has a shady spot for your dog to chill. Indoors, invest in a fan, and add ice cubes to a water bowl. Positioning this in front of the fan allows for cooler air to circulate.

For Summertime enrichment why not stuff an interactive toy with a banana, freeze and serve as a homemade sorbet?  Make ‘ice pops’ from bone broth or Kefir water and keep your freezer stocked up to beat the ‘Summertime Blues.’

Check Out Anna’s Other Blogs

Protect Your Dog & Our Planet This Flea Season

Celebrating Dogs in Film


About the Author – Anna Webb

As a Canine Nutrition and Behaviour expert, Anna combines her psychology degree, with study at the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) and over 20 years of experience. Host of the award-nominated A DOG’S LIFE podcast, she lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr. Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk 

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