Hooray - it's officially summer! Let's be honest, most of us find joy in the longer days, BBQs with friends and family, hanging out by the lake, going on boat trips and just soaking up the sun.
We also enjoy taking our dogs along with us on adventures in the sunshine, and they love us for it.
The only thing we need to remember is that canines are prone to overheat and they need to be kept cool during the summertime to avoid a heat stroke. Whether your dog is just taking time out in the garden, joining you on a walk, or coming along for a drive, or a boat ride, you need to make sure they are protected. So, read on if you want tips and tricks to keep your pooch cool and comfortable when the sun is shining and the temperature soars!
1. Keep them hydrated
This may seem obvious, but dogs will go through a lot of water when they're hot so it's important they have access to fresh water 24/7. If you leave your dog alone during the day, maybe leave two water bowls filled up for them so that they won't run out, and you can even add ice to make sure it's cold for longer. If you take your dog for a walk or a hike, make sure you have plenty of water and a collapsible bowl for them (of course, this isn't an issue if you take them on the tracks along our beautiful lake or river!)
2. Keep your house cool and offer shade
Again, something that's pretty easy to remember, but could cause your dog to overheat if forgotten. Ensure that the air-con is on when you're leaving your dog inside. If you don't have air-con you can always use a fan or two (these work best if you keep them in a closed room, as they will dramatically cool down that room over time). Alternatively, leave all the windows open for your furry friend if you don't have an AC or fans. When your dog is outside in the garden, you'll need to be certain he has a shaded area to chill out in away from the sun. Having your dog spend time in a small kennel isn't advisable on a hot day either, as it gets pretty stuffy in there.
3. Pavement Test
When taking your dog out for a walk in the summer, you need to consider how hot it is and whether it is safe for your dog to be out. To check that it's safe for your pooch to be walked, you can put your bare foot or the back of your hand down on the pavement and hold it there for at least 5 seconds. If it's too hot for you, then it's too hot for a dog - walking them on a hot pavement can damage their paw pads! It's best to walk your dog during the cooler portions of the day i.e. morning and evening.
4. Buy them a kiddie's pool
I don't know about you but seeing a dog playing in water makes me smile, they are so happy when they are able to hang out in it and have a splash about. So, why not get a kiddie's pool for your garden so that your furry friend can play in it, and use it to cool off on hot summer days?! When you're chilling in the garden on your own or with friends and family, you can be sure that your dog will be happy having fun on his own somewhere you can keep an eye on him.
5. Don't leave them alone in the car (or in the back of your truck)
Leaving your dog in the car for just a small amount of time on a hot day could be fatal. The temperature in a car, even with a cracked window, gets unbearably hot in a matter of minutes and as mentioned before, dogs can easily overheat and start showing signs of a heart stroke, which in some cases can cause death. Leaving a dog in the back of your truck might seem like a reasonable thing to do, but the sun will still be scorching hot on there, and without water or any means of cooling down, it could be dangerous too. Sometimes it's just kinder to leave your dog at home.
6. Have frozen or watery treats on hand
Fruits and veg such as watermelon, cucumber, apple and (cooked) broccoli are good options to treat your dog with during the summer season as they contain a high amount of water and nutrients to keep your dog hydrated and healthy. Frozen treats such as dog-friendly popsicles or frozen blueberries are also good ideas, as well as filling up a kong and putting it in the freezer, to keep their body temp down!
The best preventative measure during the summertime is making sure your dog doesn't stay in the sun for too long, and that he has plenty of shade and water. Even putting a tshirt on your pooch, or using non-toxic pet friendly sun cream can help protect them from the sun's harmful rays (especially if they have been clipped short).
It's amazing how much dogs love us and want to hang out with us, and it's great when they can get in on the fun summer days too.
Just be aware that they can't tolerate hot temperatures for long, so sometimes it's best to leave them at home rather than have them walking on hot concrete, waiting in a stuffy car, or hanging out at a garden party with no shade.
Have an awesome and safe summer, dog owners!