Caleb and I just got back from taking Kenzo + Vík for a walk. It is a hot one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today, 92 and sunny, 65% humidity, with a very slight breeze.
During the Spring and Fall our walks can go on for hours, but as soon as summer comes around we shorten them so as to not cause either of our boys to suffer from heatstroke. Heatstroke in dogs is common in the summer and knowing how to deal with it may just help you save a dog’s life.
It is so important for every dog owner to know summer safety tips for dogs and I am excited to share my thoughts and helpful resources.
I am overly wary about our dogs because they have such thick coats. Kenzo has what is called a “double coat.” Which means his coat has two layers. The undercoat is short and fluffy and the top coat has longer hairs called “guard hairs.” Kenzo is often called fluffy and that is because of his dense undercoat. His dense undercoat protects Kenzo from both hot and cold temperatures and his topcoat helps to repel moisture and dirt.
Kenzo requires a lot of grooming, but it is well worth it and we will never ever shave him. Shaving a double-coated dog is the worst thing to do. Shaving prevents cool air from getting to the skin because the undercoat is still present. Julia Henriques says, “A shaved coat cannot protect your dog from the sun which exposes them to greater risks of overheating, sunburn and even skin cancer.”
Dogs cool themselves via sweating at the paws. According to the ASPCA, heatstroke is one of the most common and avoidable causes of death. A hot car or prolonged time in an excessively hot environment can quickly cause a dog to get heatstroke.
The normal healthy body temperature of dogs is 101-102 °F. If your dog’s temperature exceeds 104 °F, he or she may experience heatstroke.
The first signs of a dog overheating are rapid panting, drooling, and the dog may collapse while continuing to pant heavily. Other symptoms of heatstroke in dogs are bright red or dark tongue and vomiting.
To help reduce their temperature immerse the dog’s body in cool, not ice-cold, water. You can drape a wet towel over them and continue to pour cool water over them. The areas you want to keep wet are the belly, armpit, and groin area where the skin is exposed. You can also offer your dog room temperature water and monitor them closely. Never force them to drink.
Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool In the Summer Heat
- Never leave your dog outside in the heat for long periods of time without checking on them and giving them the option to come inside and cool off!
- If your dog likes to play in water, let them run through a sprinkler! Vík is a huge fan of our sprinkler! We recently bought a metal one because Vík kept picking up our plastic one and carrying it around the yard. hahah
- An oscillating fan near your dog’s kennel or dog bed. We have this same one in my photography studio and it works great and is pretty quiet.
- A kiddie pool is a great idea for dogs that love to wade or play in the water! My friend Keri just bought a nylon dog pool and it seems very durable!
- Make a tasty frozen treat for your dog! I have a few recipes for dog treats here on House Fur, but my recipe for Coconut Oil + Watermelon Pupsicles is the perfect homemade frozen dog treat for hot summer days!
- Make or buy a “sandbox” in your yard where your dogs are allowed to dig. When Kenzo (our Akita) used to dig in the mulch and gravel of our favorite coffee shop’s patio and lay in it to keep cool.
- Always make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water!
- These cooling mats are awesome. I sometimes lay on hours after a hard workout. These mats can help your dog from overheating in the hot summer months. Save up to 30% on Your First Subscription for Pet Items
Here is the Dog Pool from Amazon recommended by my friend Keri:
Pictured below are my Coconut Oil + Watermelon Frozen Dog Treats: Click for Recipe HERE
Where are my fellow dog moms? How do you keep your dog cool during the hottest sunniest summer days?
Lemme know in the comments or share your tips with me on Instagram: @House_Fur