Many of us spend half our lives longing for summer to come around. Those lazy days sitting in the garden, relaxing at the beach or playing in the park. The picnics and sipping iced drinks in the sunshine. It’s all heady stuff.
Equally it’s easy to forget that our dogs have to try and enjoy summer dressed in a thick coat of fur. Imagine how you’d feel running along the beach in the heat of summer dressed in a fur coat.
Putting it another way, it is important to help your dog stay comfortably cool in the summer, rather than risking him overheating and feeling uncomfortable as a result. But how do you help your dog to stay cool in summer?
Get a Trim
Not all dogs have long, shaggy coats. And not all breeds are regularly clipped. However if you do have a long-haired breed consider taking him to the dog salon in early summer. Removing much of that insulation can help to keep your dog cool and comfortable on those balmy summer days.
Consider Cooling Evaporation
Have you ever noticed that when you step out of a swimming pool or a bath and don’t dry yourself rapidly you soon become chilled? The process is basic physics; for water to evaporate from your skin into the atmosphere it requires energy. Typically the water takes this energy in the form of heat; in other words water evaporating from your skin helps to cool the body.
On particularly hot ways consider applying the same principle to your dog, by allowing them to play in or around water. You could, for example, take your dog for a run along the beach where they can go for a dip in the ocean. Streams, lakes and rivers can all work too if they are safe for pets.
Alternatively consider what action you can take in your own garden; could you provide a child’s paddling pool, or turn on a hose or sprinkler from time to time for a bit of fun. Many dogs will happily frolic in this cool water.
Don’t Leave Your Dog In The Car
Your car is composed of metal and glass; leave it in the sun, even for a short period of time, and the temperature inside starts to climb significantly. The fact is that every year dogs die from being left in cars on hot days. This is clearly unacceptable.
If you’re taking your dog out in the summer, then, don’t leave it locked in the car while you carry out chores. Instead, either leave your dog safely at home or take it around with you; anything to avoid leaving your dog to overheat on a hot summer’s day.
Provide Shade At All Times
In a similar vein it is important to ensure that your dog can regulate its own temperature. On a hot and sunny day this means ensuring that some form of shade is available at all times.
For those owners, for example, who leave their dog out in the garden to play and enjoy the weather, ensure that your pet can safely come indoors at will, or try providing shade from a parasol or even a sheet. In this way if and when your dog starts to overheat it will be able to take action to remove the discomfort.
Live a Crepuscular Lifestyle
You’ve probably heard of some animals being nocturnal and others diurnal. But crepuscular lifestyles are altogether different; here animals are most active at dawn and dusk. Deer might be a perfect example of just such an animal.
These days we know that the hottest part of the day is the middle of the day – around lunchtime. That’s why we’re advised not to go outside at these times, and why we try to keep kids out of the sun at lunchtime. Yet many of us will happily take our dog out for a walk in the same weather we don’t want our children playing in.
In other words as the temperature starts to rise try to only walk your dog at the cooler parts of the day; most notably in the early morning before the sun becomes too intense, or later on the evening once the sun has started to drop away in the sky.
Lastly it is important to realize that dogs sweat just like other mammals. The evaporation of this sweat helps to naturally cool your dog, but means that in summer it is essential to provide fresh water at all times.
Allowing your dog to drink fresh water means that dehydration can be avoided and that your dog will be able to control its temperature better.
While many owners provide a bowl of water at home at all times, in the hottest months it is also worth considering when you take your dog out. A small bottle of water and a collapsible dog bowl – as available from many shops – can allow your dog to drink even when you’re out for a walk.