With summer right around the corner with temperatures bound to be high, you might wonder how you can protect your dog from heatstroke.
The last thing any of us want is our furry family members to become overheated.
If their temperature gets over 106 degrees Fahrenheit it could be fatal, so I have come up with some tips to keep your dog cool and happy through heat waves.
What’s Wrong with Dog Heat Stroke?
Dogs that suffer a heat stroke could potentially die if their temperature spikes.
It happens rather easily too since dogs are not meant to handle intense heats most places have been suffering lately.
As they become overheated they become disoriented and could suffer from seizures, comas, organ failure, and even death.
Keeping your dog cool is definitely important for your pup.
Popular Read: Puppy Heating Pads
27 Ways To Protect Your Dog From Summer Heat And Heat Stroke
There are many ways to protect your dog from the intense heats this summer to prevent a heat stroke.
I have compiled a list of 27 ways to do just that in various ways.
Some may be more effective than others, but all should help keep them cooled down.
#1 – Keep Your Dog Inside Most of the Day
Keeping your dog inside when it is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit is a great way to prevent heatstroke.
The only situation where they should be outside is to potty, and not for a prolonged period.
Scheduling your walks for early morning or after the sun has set will also help since the temperature will have dropped enough for the activity.
If you are unsure if it is too hot to walk your dog, a good way to tell is to touch the asphalt.
If it burns your hand holding it there, your dog’s sensitive paws have no business being out on it.
#2 – Keeping Them Cool While Outside
If your dog has to be outside for part of the day, you should take extra measures to make sure they are safe and have ways to cool down.
Make sure there is an area in your yard that has a decent amount of shade or make some with an umbrella so they have somewhere to cool down.
Also always make sure they have access to near-constant water.
You can put out multiple bowls or get one of those awesome Automatic Water Bowls that connects to a hose so you don’t have to worry.
Another favorite of mine is to get your dog a kiddie pool they can splash around in and cool down, especially for bigger breeds.
#3 – Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car EVER
There is a reason why this has become a hot topic in the last few years. Leaving your dog in a car on a hot summer day is fatal if they are not saved quickly.
The car will always be way hotter than it is outside, and dogs do not have ways to work through the heat other than panting.
There is no reason you should keep them in the car, whether you have the air conditioning on or window down, they will still overheat.
Always take your dog in with you if you are going somewhere, even if you are only going to be in there for ‘a minute’.
Or simply leave them at home where they have access to their water bowl and open space.
If you still don’t think it is too hot in a car, check out this vet who has sat in a hot car to see himself.
#4 – Knowing Heat Stroke Symptoms
During the hot days when your dog has been exposed, you should always keep an eye out for the signs of a heat stroke.
The faster you catch them overheating, the quicker you can get them treated and cooling down.
Thankfully dogs will always show when they are uncomfortable in the heat so you can tell if you are watching them.
Though if you are still unsure, check for these symptoms;
- Bodily Temperature above 104
- Quickened Heartbeat
- Glazed Eyes
- Excessive Thirst
- Bright Red Gums and Tongue
- Heavy Drooling
- Lack of Coordination
- Bloody Diarrhea
The moment you see one of these signs you should be treating your dog for heatstroke. If you still aren’t sure but are worried, still treat them. It is always better to be safe than regret it later.
Learn How To: Protect Your Dog From Heat Stroke
#5 – Cool Your Dog Down First
If your dog is overheated, you should always work on getting its temperature down first.
Getting this done first could get them cooled down before you would need a vet.
Taking them inside and getting them in an air-conditioned area will help first.
Also giving them a cooler shower, not ice-cold, could bring their full-body temperature down faster.
I would make sure to give them lots of water to drink since they would have lost some fluids from panting.
Though if your dog is unconscious, just bring them inside to rest and wait for him to wake up.
The best way to find out if your dog is cooling down is if it dips below 103 degrees.
This is when you should pull away the extra effort to cooling them down and move onto the next steps to ensure they are going to be okay.
#6 – Check Your Dog’s Temperature Every 5 Minutes
Now that you got your dog’s temperature down to at least 103, it is important to keep checking every five minutes to ensure it stays down.
You should be monitoring any changes with a proper thermometer and making sure your dog stays between 100 and 103 degrees.
Any above or below this means you should be keeping a closer eye than before on your dog and getting them to a vet.
I suggest learning how to properly use a dog rectal thermometer to be able to get the most accurate reading when your dog may be overheating.
I always keep one in my doggy first aid kit just in case. If you don’t know how to get your dog’s temperature properly, I found this video to be extremely helpful.
#7 – Take Them to the Vet
After getting your dog’s temperature below 103 and checking consistently a few times, you should be on your way to the vet.
While you are driving make sure to keep your air conditioning going as well as keeping the windows down for extra air.
If you have a car cooling fan, make sure to use that as well. All these methods will ensure their temperature does not rise above 103 again on your way.
Don’t forget to call your vet either before you get there.
Your dog should be treated immediately since a heat stroke can cause internal issues like brain swelling, blood clotting, and even kidney failure without you being able to see it.
Your dog will benefit from extra fluids and minerals your vet will treat them with.
Plus they will be able to closely monitor and step in if anything goes south the moment it does.
#8 – Heat Stroke Aftercare
Now while a moderate heatstroke could leave your dog feeling fine after the visit to the vet and wouldn’t need additional care.
Though if your dog suffered a more severe case of heatstroke, they may have some permanent damage done to their organs.
If this was the case, your vet will of course walk you through how to properly care for your dog from here on out.
Also, remember that if your dog has suffered a heat stroke in the past, they are much more susceptible now and should be watched closely when temperatures rise.
It may not be as moderate as it was last time.
#9 – Be Creative
If you are looking for ways to cool your dog down in the heat, but can’t afford any products just use your imagination!
I have come to a point many times where I used anything I had just to help my fur baby.
Such as a cold-soaked towel for them to lay on or an old umbrella stuck in the ground for them to chill under.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it helps your dog out in the heat.
I am sure your dog will love anything you spend time on for them more than money.
#10 – Let them Dig!
If you scold your dog for digging up the yard during the summer, it may be time to stop.
I understand how destructive some pups can be, but in the intense heat most dogs dig because the soil is much colder than the damp grass they are laying on.
Unless they are digging under the fence, let them do their thing. And do not panic if your dog is sitting in the new hole and getting dirty.
Yes you will have to clean them later, but it is better than having to take them to the vet because they got overheated on the grass.
I just let my dogs dig and settle in their holes because I can fill it in later and they will need a bath to cool down anyway.
#11 – Keep Their Natural Fur
The biggest myth I have ever found is that you should shave your dog when it gets hot.
This is so false and does more harm than good. Dogs were made with fur for more than just keeping them warm.
The reason they shed so much in the summer is to lose that winter coat for a cooler insulating one that protects their sensitive skin from sunburn.
It may not appear that your heavily fluffy dog can handle the heat with all that fur, but it helps them out so much.
Since dogs can’t sweat, all they have is this and panting.
Refusing to shave your dog this summer could be much more beneficial to keep them from getting a heat stroke or a sunburn. Ouch!
#12 – Going to the Beach?
With how hot it can be, you may want to take your dog out to the beach.
It is a good way to get them their exercise with a big body of water they can cool off with, but you should always take precautions.
Make sure the beach you are going to is one that allows dogs with you, otherwise you should keep them home in the air conditioning.
If they are allowed, you are going to have to keep a good eye on them to make sure you clean up after them and keep them from going too deep in the water.
Especially with the breeds that can’t swim easily.
If it is more struggle than you are willing to deal with, maybe it’s not time for the beach.
#13 – Keep Activities Short
Keeping things minimal could undoubtedly help your dog.
I talked earlier that walking only early morning or after sunset is the most ideal to keep your dog cooled down.
This is a good balance even if it seems like it is too little. This also goes for playing outside.
Dogs like Golden Retrievers will play and play and play even beyond the point of being tired and overheated.
I know it may seem like they are fine and could keep going, but you should keep the ball tossing to a few times before letting them hydrate and fully rest.
Even if they really don’t seem they want to.
Related Reading: How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
#14 – Personal Cold Bottle
If you have a spare 2 liter bottle laying around, all you have to do is fill it with cold water and let your dog rest with it.
I love this method because it is cheap and easy, the only thing you would have to do is change the water or freeze it for a little to get it nice and cold again.
It works wonders too! I find my dog laying with it during the hottest nights as he would often do with any heated rice socks or bottles I give him in the winter.
Some dogs might not take to it, but it is a great way for most just to have some relief around their face and neck.
#15 – Limit Walks on Hot Pavement
During the summer, the pavement outside soaks in so much heat all day long.
We never truly understand just how hot because we are always walking in shoes that protect us.
Dogs however are unable to protect their feet from something like that. Remember the saying “it’s hot enough to fry an egg”?
That egg is your poor pups feed simmering and burning as they walk.
A great way to check if it is too hot yet is if you place your hand on the ground. If you can’t tolerate it, your dog sure can’t.
If your dog HAS to go on a walk, try finding a shady or grassy path they can take to prevent burning their little paw pads.
#16 – Keep Them Hydrated
During the warmer months, your dog is going to need much more water than normal.
Since they pant heavily to cool themselves down, they are constantly losing fluids.
Always make sure they have plenty of water inside and out. I suggest even carrying around one of those portable water bowls I see everywhere.
Also to make sure it gets cold for them, add some ice cubes every once in a while.
If you are worried about your dog not drinking as much as they should, try adding something vet-approved to the water like flavoring or a clear sports drink.
Anything that gets them to stay hydrated.
#17 – Keep Air Conditioning On
I know for most that leaving your air conditioning on all day can rake up the electric bill.
But in reality, it only is a few extra dollars. For me, this added expense is worth every penny to keep my dog cool all day long.
It also helps to keep your home from becoming humid which can cause some health risks for your dog.
A great bonus to this though, is you get to come home to a nice cold house after a long day at work and a very happy cool dog that will be excited to greet you at the door.
#18 – Doggy Cooling Mats
I recently found out about this awesome thing to help keep your dogs cool while napping.
They are giant cooling mats that act as a bed for your dog in the heat.
I even found an amazing tutorial to make your own in case you can’t find them anywhere else.
I found mine on Amazon and I plan to buy one this summer before it gets far too hot.
You can lay these anywhere or just over your dog’s usual bed too.
#19 – Cooling Towel or Coat
Using a cooling towel or coat is very similar to the cooling mats, but they are used a bit differently.
With a cooling towel, you will need to soak a towel in cold water and wring it out before you can drape it over your dog.
This will need to be repeated once the towel dries. And you should always make sure it is not soaked or your dog could get sick.
The coat is the same thing but your dog can wear it as they walk around the house whereas the towel will quickly fall off if they stand up.
#20 – Frozen Treats
Giving your dog some homemade frozen treats can really help with the warmer days to keep your dog cooled down.
I love making mine out of beef or chicken broth for them to chew on in the yard.
Let me tell you they adore them more than any treat I have ever bought them. There are also fruity ones your dogs will love to have.
Just make sure to always check if it is safe for your pup to eat before giving it to them.
Seriously though, this cheap trick will save you on treats all summer AND your pup will not mind one bit.
#21 – Ice in Their Water
Every summer I always fill my dog’s water bowl with ice. It is a great way to keep their water cold since most dogs turn their noses up at warm stagnant water.
The ice melts over time so it will never be too cold for them.
I often add one or two more ice cubes every few hours just to make sure it stays cold.
#22 – Interactive Brain Games
When it becomes far too hot for any physical games, a great way to keep your dog entertained and busy is to play some brain training games with them.
There are many tutorials out there that you can use for multiple interactive games.
Solving problems for treats will still tire them out just as a long walk would, but the difference is they won’t become overheated and exhausted.
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#23 – Using Fans
If you have ever lived in a home without air conditioning, you know just how hot it can get. Though fans are a great helping hand to beat the heat.
Because of this, they make a great way to keep your dog cool as well.
Simply set one near them, if they are not terrified of fans of course, and let them enjoy the air blowing.
I like to add a bowl of ice in front of my fans to really cool down the air in a very warm room.
#24 – Freeze Dinner in Kong Toy
If you don’t own a Kong, they are a chew toy with a hole in the middle that is often filled with peanut butter or the like to keep your dog entertained for hours.
You can do the same with wet food or dry food if you add some water and peanut butter.
If you freeze it for a while before giving it to your dog, they can enjoy a nice cold dinner that also keeps them busy.
I suggest only doing it enough to become solid but not completely frozen so it can thaw a bit to properly eat.
#25 – Let Your Dog Be
When it is very hot out, the best thing you could do is just leave your dog alone for the day.
I know when I am overheated, I don’t want to be hugged or covered with anything.
Let your dog find somewhere to lay down and let them be.
If they aren’t wanting to be all over you and continue to move away when you find them, that is a sure fire way to tell they just need space.
Trust me, my dog will go out of his way to hide just to cool themselves down the way they know how.
#26 – Brush Your Dog
Brushing your dog when it is really hot has a lot of benefits. It removes any dead fur that is stuck to them that they don’t need to hold onto.
It helps them feel a bit lighter as well. I suggest also spritzing your dog down as you are brushing to cool off their skin too.
I know my dog adores this one on very hot days. Though it always ends with them trying to eat the water I am spraying. At least I always get a few laughs with it.
#27 – Frozen Cuddler
Earlier I mentioned just filling a water bottle with cold water for your dog to chill out with.
Though for this one, it is better to freeze it so it can stay colder longer.
I always wrap mine with a dishcloth to keep my pup from freezing it to his poor fur.
But this cuddler is great for long warm nights so they can cuddle up to it all they want.
Over To You
When the summers get so hot, it is important to keep your dog cool to lower the risk of a heat stroke.
I hope my suggestions will keep your dog nice and frosty this coming summer.
What part did you enjoy best? Have you tried any of these suggestions with your dog yet? Which one are you excited to do?
Let me know in the comments below, and please comment if you think we missed anything.
Don’t forget to share this with friends and family to keep all dogs in your life cool this summer.
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