We are all starting to get excited about summer being just around the corner. In just a few months from now, we all will be basking in the summer sun with our families that includes our dogs.
With the summer months, comes the HEAT! Taking our dogs out during the summer months is something we all look forward to.
Whether it’s just sitting in the sun outside on the patio, or taking our dogs out for daily exercise, the high heat can be a serious issue. Once the temperature really starts to rise to 30+ C (80+ F), we need to be aware of how this hot temperature can affect our dogs.
People seem to forget that dogs are also susceptible to heat stroke, just like people.
There is some fantastic cooling gear on the market for your dogs. All of these products you can purchase will help ensure your dog avoids getting heat stroke if you plan on spending hours out in the heat.
Heat stroke signs.
Before we jump right into what cooling gear products are available, we need to talk about the signs of heat stroke in our dogs.
A few of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion are obvious, while others symptoms not so much. We all know that a panting dog, means that our dog is hot. But some things we may not know to watch for are:
- Extreme thirst
- A bright red tongue
- Pale gums
- Thick saliva
- Increased heart rate
- Skin around the neck that doesn’t snap back when pinched
Heat exhaustion occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises above a normal range. Dogs do sweat through their paws, and also by panting or open mouth breathing. This is normally how your dog deals with hot temperatures.
When these natural elements of cooling-off our dogs don’t work, we need to be seriously concerned. Heat exhaustion can cause cardiac arrest and lead to a heat stroke. Making sure this doesn’t happen, is our responsibility as dog owners.
What are my options?
There are so many choices when deciding what type of cooling gear to buy your pet. Some top items you may want to look for are:
Depending on what type of activity you and your dog have planned, it will be important to figure out which product will best suit that situation.
Planning ahead before you head outside for some exercise, will be the key to a proactive approach for cooling-off your dog.
How to chose?
Deciding which product you want to purchase for each situation is important.
Just as an example of what I mean, if you are just sitting at the lake, or at home on your patio, the cooling mat or elevated mesh dog bed may work best for that situation.
Throwing the Frisbee around in the dog park, may make a cooling collar the perfect choice for that activity. A long hike or walk on the other hand, the cooling vest maybe a better choice, as it will tackle cooling your dog’s entire body.
Just like us, when we are outside weeding or doing yard work, putting a cool bandana on our head or neck, helps us battle the heat. This is the same idea for your dog. They make a bandana so that it Velcros around your dog’s neck, for easy attachment and will help to keep his head and neck area cool.
Whether you are out camping or just sitting on a patio for the day, your dog generally likes to lay pretty close. My dog’s certainly do.
The idea of a cooling mat or elevated dog bed for them to lay on, really helps to ensure they aren’t laying on the hot deck or ground for hours.
WHY is it that we don’t think that our dogs feet need to be protected from the burning hot concrete. Well they do! This is a HUGE mistake.
All we need to do is buy our dog a pair of Cooling Boots. Yes this is a real thing. They are like the winter style of boots you can buy for your dog, only they are mesh and made for summer. Cooling boots are a bit harder to find, but they are out there.
With all the amazing choices we have to pick from, there is no excuse for your dog not to be protected from the heat.
How do they work?
Some cooling products like the bandana, and collars, are cooled by soaking them in cold water. Then you ring out the excess water and put it on your dog. This will cool your dog for hours. They are made from a lightweight, breathable material that allows moisture to be retained. Just make sure that they are chemical free and free of other potentially harmful components.
The cooling vests are similar in the sense that you soak them to cool them off first. But they work in a bit of a different way.
Being made of a mesh design, helps wick away the heat and allows the moisture to actually evaporate. By keeping the heat away from your dog’s body, it then keeps them cool. Very similar to how we sweat out our body temperature through our sweat glands.
Cooling vest, are also very stylish and some even have reflective padding on them. Adjustable side straps allow you to get the vest tight to the body, but not to tight. You want a nice snug fit.
Whether you decide to buy a cooling mat or elevated dog bed, they both work to keep your pet from laying on the very hot ground or surface.
The cooling mat offers a few different options: one is a gel style of mat that you can put in the freezer to get cold.
Another option is a mat that requires you to put cold water in through the valve on the end and when it gets hot, you drain and refill with cold water. Both of these are great choices.
No excuse for heat exhaustion.
Making sure our dogs stay cool and healthy is our parental responsibility. There is absolutely no excuse for your dog to suffer through dangerous heat stroke, or even cardiac arrest.
Protecting them from these types of serious consequences does not cost more than around $50. The idea of not spending this little bit of money, just isn’t worth the risk.
As we know, Vet bills can quickly get out of control. Just spending a small amount of money at the start of summer, can save you potential thousands of dollars in Vet costs.
Be smart, and protect your dog. We all know that people can die from Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke. Dogs are no different.
My final thought on our dogs and the summer heat. If it’s too hot for you to be outside, it’s too hot for your dog. Make smart choices and maybe just wait til the eve for your walk.