It’s not fun – or safe – for your pet to get too hot in the summer.
We adopted our 8 week old puppy “Turbo” in May. As a new member of our family, we take her health very seriously and feed her natural puppy food (Nature’s Recipe grain free salmon) and all natural treats. She is already doing great on her new all natural puppy food diet and is now a very active 13 week old puppy who loves to explore and play outside at full speed to release all that healthy puppy energy.
Unfortunately, temperatures have soared to 100 degrees in our area but Turbo still wants to play. If we aren’t careful she could become overheated with serious consequences.
Expending her energy and getting exercise is very important even when it’s hot outside so we had to come up with a few tricks to ensure she stays cool, hydrated and healthy.
1. Give your pet cold water to drink.
We add ice cubes to Turbo’s drinking water. This keeps her temperature down and the water cool. We do have to keep an eye on her when we put ice in the water because she likes to play with the icecubes. She often ends up with more water out of the dish than in it. This works out, however, because the spilled ice water makes the deck cooler on her belly. We just have to be sure to fill the water dish or use an auto watering container.
2. Keep your pet’s paws cool.
Most of the dogs sweat glands are around their feet. It makes sense then that a dog’s feet are cooler, it will sweat less and retain more fluids. Even when she’s not sweating, after a walk on the hot pavement our puppy runs to cool off her feet in her wading pan. Once her feet are cool, she’s ready to go again.
Another way to keep paws cool is to provide them with a grassy play area that is kept moist with a sprinkler. Our puppy loves to roll around in the wet grass when it is hot outside so this keeps not only her paws cooler but also the rest of her body. The water picked up by her fur naturally provides a cooling effect.
3. If there is no natural wind, keep the air circulating near your pet with a small fan or mister.
When it is hot, dogs can benefit from a fan just like you. Be sure to mount it in a place your pet can’t get to it to chew on it and that any electrical cords are rated and grounded for outdoors if it is placed outside.
An even better option is a misting fan or misting system.
A misting fan, such as the one shown left turns water into mist which cools the air by as much as 20 degrees. Surrounding plants also enjoy the additional water source. These do require an electrical source and tend to use more water than a misting system (see below).
A misting system such as the one shown to the right and below connects to a hose uses less water and can mist several areas at one time. .
4. Provide wading or swimming options.
As I mentioned above, our pet likes to cool of her feet so a wading dish big enough to stand in is a great option. Many pet stores also sell small pools that are pet durable. Small children’s pools that have hard, scratch and puncture proof bottoms also work.
How did we teach our puppy to cool off in the water by herself? Admittedly Turbo was a little skittish around water at first and not receptive to wading or playing in it. Having wet fur did not seem like much fun at first. Since we didn’t want to scare her by forcing her into the pond, we took it one step at a time.
First, we introduced her to water by placing a small pan of water about 5 inches deep near her play area. We would play with it and encourage her to step in it until she became accustomed to the water and realized it was fun and not scary. Soon she was stepping right in whenever she wanted to cool off. When we filled it with the hose, she would play with the moving water and try to catch it, putting her nose entirely under water.
Once she was comfortable with the shallow water, we encouraged her to go down the steps into our bigger pond and cheered her and acted excited and happy as she stepped in. We then gave her treats and lots of attention when she came back out, reinforcing how fun it was.
Soon Turbo realized going in the water was fun as well as cooling. She felt much better when it was hot out and had lots of energy to play when she was cool and wet. Whenever it is hot outside or after running on hot pavement, Turbo now heads straight for the pond to cool off.
One word of caution: If you teach your dog to swim, it’s important to be around when she’s playing in deeper water. Dogs may be naturally good swimmers (in most cases); however, even the best swimmer – human or dog – can get tired or drown. Also if your dog does not want to go in the water, do not force her or it will reinforce the fear. Just make it fun and exciting and hopefully she will overcome her caution.
How do you keep your pet cool in the heat?