The dog days of summer can get long and hot for a four-legged creature that sports a fur coat year-round. A few simple tips and great products can help keep your dog cool and, most importantly, safe this summer.
Summer safety tips
Never leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open. An air-conditioned car can go from comfortable to a sweltering oven in no time flat. Even on a nice day if the sun is hitting the car, the heat builds up and your dog can suffer heatstroke.
Be mindful of hot pavement. Blacktop pavement and even concrete can cause serious burns on your pet's feet. The same applies to summer hikes when trails are exposed to the summer sun. Touch any surfaces with the palm of your hand before you let your dog walk on them, if it is uncomfortable to the touch, it will be uncomfortable for your dog, too.
Avoid walks or vigorous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Older dogs, dogs with thick coats and dogs that are not used to the heat can get overheated quickly even on short walks. Remember that dogs do not have the ability to sweat so it is difficult for them to cool off.
Dogs should always have access to ample shade and fresh cool water. Fill your dog's bowl with ice when you leave in the morning and top it off with cool water. It won't likely stay cold all day but it will stay cool a lot longer. Keep water in shady areas.
Summer pet products we love
These shoes from L.L. Bean are great for hiking, camping trips or just general walks around the neighborhood when the pavement might be too hot. The rubber soles will also help protect your dog from thorns, sharp rocks or other debris found in the woods or in streams.
This collapsible water dish from Amazon can be taken anywhere so that you can provide fresh water for your dog anytime. Even if you are just going for a car ride to run errands, having water on hand is always a good idea in the hot summer months.
The furminator, available at various pet stores, is one of the best pet brushes on the market. It will help eliminate all the excess hair that sheds during the summer months, making your pet more comfortable and your home a little cleaner. Many people opt to shave their dogs in the summer but haircuts that are too short can put dogs at risk of sunburn. Frequent brushing will help keep your dog cool without having to worry about sunburns.
Cooling bandanas can help keep your dog cool on hot days. Avoid the bandanas that swell when you get them wet or have to be frozen. Not only is this uncomfortable and heavy on a dog's neck but anything frozen can lead to frost bite if left on too long. A normal bandana or even just a piece of fabric can be wet down, wrung out and placed in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it for the same results.
Frozen treats, like Frosty Paws, will likely be your dog's favorite summer product! The cool and creamy ice cream-like treat will taste just as refreshing to your dog as ice cream does to you. Ice cubes or small pieces of frozen fruit can be satisfying, too. If you want to make your own frozen treats simply freeze wet dog food in ice cube trays and give your dog one whenever he is in need of a cool treat!
Cooling pads or pet beds with air flow are a great way to help your pet stay cool if he is outside all day long. Some beds, like the one above, are designed like a kite so that your pet isn't lying directly on warm surfaces and they have air flow all around. Cooling pads can also be used on their own or with existing beds.
More pet safety tips
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7 Pet safety tips
Tips for hiking with pets