With higher temperatures becoming the norm, many of us are wondering how to keep our furry friends comfortable.

If summer temperatures are getting extremely uncomfortable and dangerous for us humans, imagine what it must feel like with a fur coat. Many households don’t have air conditioning but there are loads of summer safety tips you can follow to keep your canine cool.

But let’s talk about water – a resource that’s available to most of us and how it should or shouldn’t be used to keep your doggo healthy and happy in summer climes. Here are our DOs and DON’Ts on cooling your dog with water. 

Dos

 

Make water available at all times

This seems obvious but if it’s a particularly hot summer, place more bowls around the home and if there are strays in your area, consider putting out water for them too. Water can quickly evaporate during a heatwave so check dog bowls more regularly than you normally would. 

Use a water spray or mister

A sprinkler in the garden can be so refreshing for your doggie but make sure they don’t get overexcited and start running around all over the place. Alternatively turning a fan on them and using a mister or water spray can be nice and cooling. If you don’t have one, wetting their feet, ears and head can have a similar effect.

Help keep shelter dogs healthy this summer

Place a wet towel over your dog

Your dog might be the judge of whether they put up with this! Not all doggies like it. But it can give them some sweet relief from the heat. If they’re not into it, you can get a neckerchief or bandana, wet it and drape it around their neck. They might be more amenable to lying on a wet towel or some wet jute sacks. Wet sacks could be laid out in the shade for stray dogs too. 

Give them some ice or icy treats

There has been some controversy around giving dogs ice and icy treats. Vets say it’s ok but obviously it’s important to use a healthy dose of common sense. Ice can be a choking hazard, just like any other large object they might put in their mouths. Be especially vigilant with young puppies who might be more likely to choke. 

Put a paddling pool in the garden

A kiddie pool can be a refreshing option for your pooch but always makes sure the water isn’t icy cold. And as with the sprinkler, try to avoid getting them overexcited and draining their energy. 

Don’ts

 

DON’T cool your dog down with icy water

Icy water can have the opposite effect to the one you want. The icy water can cause shock, shrink the blood vessels and end up causing more internal heat. This can be very dangerous if your dog is already suffering heatstroke. 

DON’T forget to take water when out walking

Don’t forget a water bottle and portable bowl when out for a walk. Even if you’re avoiding the hottest times of the day, it’s always better to be prepared and not rely on rivers or streams for hydration. You can offer water to stray dogs too.

DON’T let your dog swim or drink without checking for toxins

River and lakes can be so tempting for your furry friend in summer but always check first before allowing them to take a dip. Fast flowing rivers or riptides can pose a risk to your dog, as can toxins like bacteria or algae. Join community groups to get up to date information, or ask your vet for advice.

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

DON’T let it get to the heatstroke stage

Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs. Don’t let it get to that stage. Be quick to recognise any symptoms and get them cool and get to a vet immediately. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • High temperature
  • Dark red gums or tongue
  • Drooling
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting 

Remember, water can be a lifesaver in extreme heat but use it wisely with your furry friend. Icy water can make things worse and swimming in or drinking natural water can be hazardous too. Always be as good an observer as your dog is to you – if they’re spending too much time in the sun, splashing in the sprinkler or kiddie pool, change tactics. Be aware of the dangers of overheating as they might not always be able to protect themselves. 

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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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