Cooling down dogs can be a challenge, especially when the sun beats down on the ground around midday, when the sun is at its highest. With a few tips, however, you can find out what tricks help to keep your dog cool.
Creating a cool place to retreat
Unlike us humans, dogs can only sweat from their paws. However, this isn't sufficient to regulate the temperature of the entire body, so dogs also give off excess heat by panting, although even this is no longer enough if it is too hot.
This is why our dogs need further options to protect themselves from the sun and to avoid heatstroke. For instance, you can put up a parasol in your garden or on the balcony. Dogs also like to cool down under trees or bushes.
You should cover dark floorings exposed to the sun with a light sheet or old towel to protect against severe heat build-up. You can even dampen this if it's particularly hot. Another option to offer your dog a cool surface to rest are cooling mats, which are generally filled with gel or water and can be cooled in the freezer.
It's also a good idea to darken windows in the morning with curtains or blinds so that heat in your home doesn't stand a chance. In contrast, warm air can be dispelled at night by opening windows and doors.
Heatwave: time for ice cream
Everyone enjoys a cool, delicious ice cream in hot temperatures. This is also the case for our loyal dogs! Dog ice cream offers a tasty cooling treat for canines in no time at all. You only need a few ingredients to make it and it's ready after just a few hours in the freezer – for instance, in an ice cube tray. There are no limits to your creativity!
Here are a few ideas for ice cream that your dog will definitely love:
- Most dogs love the taste of natural yoghurt or quark even when frozen.
- Frozen beef or chicken broth are suitable tasty low-carb options.
- If a quick solution is needed, dogs that are too hot don't refuse even normal ice cubes made of water.
Never leave dogs in the car
Cars turn into dangerous heat chambers within very short periods of time even with mild temperatures. Unfortunately opening windows no longer provides sufficient heat exchange above a certain temperature.
The danger of overheating and fatal heatstroke is particularly great in summer. In order to be able to protect our dogs from this heat, we should leave them at home in the shade if possible whilst we go shopping or to fill up with petrol.
Provide water to cool down your dog from the inside
During panting, air is increasingly pressed against the mucous membranes and liquid evaporates, which allows dogs to cool down. However, the more they pant, the more fluid they lose.
Hence, it's more important than ever for your dog to drink enough when it is very hot. You can try the following tricks to make sure your dog drinks enough fresh water.
- Place several drinking bowls in your apartment or house.
- Actively encourage your dog to drink by giving it water or showing it its drinking bowl.
- Many dogs prefer drinking water from the garden or even unsalted broth.
- Running water or splashing water also encourage some dogs to drink water. There are special drinking troughs and fountains for dogs to assist with this.
Food with a high proportion of moisture
A dog's daily water requirements depend on its body weight, activity level and food. Hence, dogs given dry food have to drink more water.
However, you can meet part of your dog's water requirements with food to help its body to cool down. If your furry friend also likes wet food, you can use it to supplement dry food or to replace it in summer.
Actively cooling down dogs: wet fur
Bathing is a very easy option for your dog to cool down when it's hot. Many dogs adore beaches or lakes. If there is no natural water source nearby, you can wet your dog's fur in other ways.
Dogs take particular joy in their own pool or at least a little tub in summer. With the right toys, you can also encourage your beloved dog to take a little dip. Even lawn sprinklers or water hoses are very popular amongst dogs for playing and cooling down.
However, make sure that your dog doesn't spend too long in the water if you are staying for a long time at waterholes. The risk of water poisoning increases if your dog swallows too much water. The first signs of this are your dog being unsettled or vomiting.
Read our article about the Top 10 Dog-Friendly UK Beaches!
Beware of bladder infections
Cooling down dogs is important, but do not take it too far. Floors that are too cold or swimming in overly cold conditions can lead to bladder infection (cystitis) in our dogs. Typical symptoms are frequent urination (polyuria) or pain when urinating (stanguria).
Always give your dog the opportunity to dry off with a towel. At the same time, the temperature of cooling mats should be checked or they should be covered with a towel.
Sometimes cooling down dogs is not enough: Choose the right time for a walk
Walks at midday usually aren't pleasant for our dogs in summer. The tarmac is baking hot and the sun burns our dogs' thick fur.
Hence, it's advisable on hot summer days to take walks in the morning or evening when it is cooler. Besides, short distances are enough in most cases, especially in shady woods or parks.
Snip snip – time for a trim?
Many dog breeds have very long fur, so it's obvious for us humans to assume that our dogs get too hot beneath their coat. But does reaching for the shears actually provide relief?
In fact, our dogs' thick fur helps regulate your dog's body temperature. It cools down your dog by vaporising water. Similar to sweating. Thus, we shouldn't automatically trim the fur of all dogs in summer. It depends a great deal on the breed. If you're uncertain, you can always ask your vet or dog groomer for advice.
Protection against parasites
Admittedly, our last tip doesn't really have much to do with cooling down dogs. Nevertheless, the subject of parasites is particularly important in summer, because green grass and high temperatures are the perfect conditions for ticks and mites. Protect your dog from dangerous infectious diseases or allergic reactions by starting with parasite prevention in spring.
Common solutions are insecticide collars coated with pyrethroids, repellents to be sprinkled on the skin or chewable tablets. All three product groups contain anti-parasitic agents, which differ in duration of effect and efficacy spectrum.