The summer months can be full of fun, outdoor activities to do with your dog, but keep in mind there is a point where too much can become uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It's difficult enough to simply cope with the rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but how can you keep them cool too?
Practice your basic summer safety
Never leave your pets in a parked car
Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Avoid
Watch the humidity
"It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet.Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs' temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog's temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.
Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating. During the hot, humid days it is our highest priority to keep every pet cool. We continue to watch not only the temperature, but also your pets body language. We make sure everyone continues to enjoy their time outside by cooling off in the pools and playing with the hoses. We will continue to rotate the groups more often so that dogs have the ability to rest and cool down in the air conditioned building.
Don't rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse. Enclosing a dog inside dog houses believing it provides shades in reality traps the heat from the outdoor and the heat of your dog in a very small space. In each of our outdoor yards we provide the groups with ample shade to rest easy and still enjoy the fresh air and cool water buckets.
Cool your pet inside and out
Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.) And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they'll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn't find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak. Find these, along with shade-giving and hydrating products to keep dogs safe and cool, online.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
We have been hearing from vets that they have begun seeing patients suffering from heatstroke. Even if the temperatures have yet to rise over 85 degrees, extensive time outside can be too much for them.
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.