Summer: 8 Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool

also see video and tips on heat stroke and dehydration



Quik Shade Outdoor Instant Pet Kennel Combo with Elevated Mesh Breathable Bed - Small
This is easy to fold and take with you whether to the beach or a backyard.

Hot weather brings specific problems for our small dogs. Here are a few tips to help you both cope with the long hot days of summer.

1. Cars

You know better than to leave your dog in a parked car, but you may not realize that the sun beating in a car window, especially an untinted one, can uncomfortably affect Fido even though the air conditioning is on. If you can avoid driving during the hottest part of the day, do so.

Whatever you do, don't let your dog hang his head out an open car window while you're driving. He could easily have something fly in his eye and cause serious damage. The only exception would be if your dog will wear a pair of Doggles ILS Protective Eyewear for Dogs sun glasses (some dogs hate anything on their head).

2. Water for play

Make sure any lake, pond or swimming pool water is clean. Natural waters should not be stagnant and swimming pool water should be clean enough for you to see the bottom of the pool.

Many dogs love to run through a garden hose spraying cool water.

3. Water for drinking

Now more than ever, Fido needs continuous fresh water for drinking. Small dogs can easily become dehydrated after exercise. Keep a spray bottle with water (or use the garden hose if the tap water is not too hot) when Fido is outside and spray him down if he looks hot.

I fill a small Rubbermaid bowl with non-leak lid with ice cubes and take it along on walks. By the time my dog wants some water, the cubes have melted into clean cool water.

4. Grooming

Curly and wiry haired dogs can easily get mats and foreign objects in their hair if they go outside. Brush or comb Fido's hair as often as needed to keep it clear of tangles.

It's also a good idea to keep his coat clipped. This is especially important for dogs with black or very dark coats.

If your dog has a double coat (thick undercoat and long overcoat) like the Pomeranian, you don't need to clip it but you do want to avoid letting the fluffy undercoat get matted together which essentially creates a blanket to retain body heat. Brush and comb your dog at least once a day and after he's been outside playing in the grass.

5. Exercise

Walks are still important but do it early in the morning or in the evening. Remember hot pavement can burn his paws. You can protect his paws with a pair of all weather boots such as Muttluks - All-Weather. I often try cuter looking boots and then return to Muttluks when the others either fall off or wear out too quickly.

If your dog doesn't like boots, you might try the long-time favorite salve, Musher's Secret Invisible Dog Boots - Wax-Based Cream. For Dogs Who Just Won't Wear Boots. This is an all-natural cream that protects a dog's paws and works as well on hot or snowy pavements.

If you must walk during the hot part of the day, try to find a route with trees or other shade. If your dog starts to slow down on the walk or plops himself down under a shady tree, let him rest and give him some drinking water (see #3 above).

6. Shade

Don't let your dog out in the backyard for long periods without having an area where he can rest in the shade. If you don't have trees, create a shady area with lawn furniture or awnings.

Don't be surprised if your dog loves to lie out in the bright sunshine. Do monitor him, however, to make sure he doesn't over do. I'll go out and pick up my little Poodle and her body is hot to the touch. I think she'd stay out until she had heat stroke if I let her.

7. Sun screen

Hairless dogs need sunscreen and all dogs benefit from having it on their noses and inner ears if exposed to the sun. If your dog has a hair part that exposes his skin (such as Maltese with hair parted down the middle), use a sunscreen there. I use Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen Spray which is easy to spray on your dog and works well for my dogs at least.

8. Clothing

I like mesh harness for dogs in the summer. These are available at Petco, PetsMart, Wal-Mart. You can checkout a number of them here: Small Dog Mess Harnesses

I've tried most of the special clothing that's supposed to keep dogs cool. I thought the collars, including the ones you fill with ice, and bandanas were marginal at best and in the case of the ice filled collars, a mess to handle.

Coats that are designed to keep dogs cool are becoming more popular but most of them, not surprisingly, were designed for larger dogs who work or live outside. You soak the coats in water and then put them on your dog.

The products I've tried often have been too long or too short. If you live in a tropical or humid climate as I do, you might find that the water in the coats doesn't evaporate quickly enough and your dog may wonder why you put him in a steamroom.

The best of the lot is probably the Hurtta dog cooling jackets

Have a wonderful summer.

For even more savings, use this Amazon.com link:
At least 70% off dog supplies