As I’m sure you’ve noticed, temperatures this year have been extremely high, and don’t show much sign of cooling. Especially on the West Coast, we’ve seen temperatures soar into the hundreds for days on end. Obviously, we can’t do much about the weather. We can just try to get to cool, air-conditioned places to wait it out. 

Dog submerged and swimming in pool.

One of the things we can do in the meantime, however, is to take care of our furry friends. Dogs especially feel the heat because of the time they need to spend outdoors. Their proximity to the ground allows their bodies to heat up faster than ours, and their sensitive pads on their paws can get burnt! 

“It’s critical for pet owners to be prepared in cases of extreme heat, and we urge them to take the necessary steps to protect their pets as temperatures may rise across the country,” said Susan Anderson, Director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA National Field Response team.

“Remembering to provide fresh water, keep pets indoors, and monitor for signs of heat exhaustion are three simple ways to ensure their health and wellbeing during the hot summer months.”

Our dogs need us to keep them cool and healthy during this time of year. Here are a few tips to help your pooch beat the heat: 


Our number one tip is to keep your dog in a shaded or cool area. Obviously, they still need to go outside to go to the bathroom or maybe to get a bit of exercise, but limit your dog’s time spent outdoors on especially hot days. Keep them indoors as much as possible. Keep them off of hot surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and sand – all of which can burn their sensitive paw pads. Try using an umbrella for some portable shade!


Let your dog drink as much water as they need. Always have a cool drink ready for them, and consider carrying a water bottle during walks. Their bodies aren’t built for the heat, they’re actually made for conserving it. With their lack of sweat glands and bodies covered in fur, this time of year they need as much hydration as possible. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, you can stock up on unflavored pediatric electrolyte solution, which will ensure your dog’s organs are body systems are working properly. 


Give your dog cold treats. Put some of their favorite chew toys in the fridge or freezer for a bit to give them something cool to chew on. You can take them on the go with an insulated pouch. You can put ice cubes in their water bowls, or give them pet-safe ice cream treats. One of the few ways dogs can alleviate body heat is through their mouth, usually through panting, so this can make a big difference. 


Dog relaxing in tub.

Another way to keep your dog cool is by dampening a towel with cold water and letting them lay on it. This will help them regulate their body temperature. Similarly, if you suspect your dog is overheating, you can pour cool water over their head and body, or even submerge them in cool water in your tub. The wet-dog-smell is worth it this once! 


A simple way to help dogs beat the heat is with a battery powered fan. If you have a battery powered device, it’ll remain reliable even in a power outage where your AC may go out. Further, you can put ice in a tray or pan, and put the fan behind it so it blows even cooler air onto your pet. This will be nice for you too! 


An obvious one is to keep your dog out of hot cars. We all know this, but it’s important to remember it’s not only extremely harmful to your dog, but also illegal. You want to remember to keep your dog in a cool place. If your AC goes out, you should do your best to bring your dog to the coolest place in your home, or to another location where the AC is working. 


The final tip we have is to be familiar with the signs of heatstroke in dogs. Be ready to take your dog to the nearest vet if you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke. The signs include high body temperature, difficulty breathing or excessive panting, increased heart or respiratory rate, excessive drooling or thick saliva, weakness or disorientation, stupor, bloody stool, vomit, and even collapsing. Familiarize yourself with these symptoms. 

Remembering these tips will help your dog stay comfortable and healthy during these hot summer months. Make a plan; check the weather frequently, stock up on ice and cold dog treats, have a cool place to go if your AC gives out. Your dog doesn’t have much defense against the heat and is counting on you.

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