In Austin, the average temperature during the “dog days” of summer hovers in the mid-90s. That’s hot, but when you consider that our summer temperatures frequently creep into the 100s, you start to realize how important it is to keep your dog cool and hydrated while you’re exercising together outdoors.
Just like humans, dogs can struggle on hot days. Without proper care, they can even suffer dehydration or heatstroke. Follow these tips to help keep your canine comfortable and safe when the temperature soars.
Exercise with your dog early in the morning or late at night.
When the forecast calls for scorching temperatures, try to get your dog out in the morning, well before the hottest part of the day. The evening is another good time to get them outside, when the temperature has started to drop.
Bring plenty of cold water and a bowl.
Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting — cooling themselves by letting water evaporate from their tongues. Because your pup loses moisture while panting, bring plenty of ice water, and don’t forget a portable bowl for them to drink from.
Give your dog frozen snacks.
Along with cold water, serving your dog snacks that you’ve kept in the refrigerator is a great way to help them stay cool. Cold snacks, like Nulo’s Training Treats and Jerky Strips, are great for short workouts in the park, while chilled Protein Sticks are perfect for boosting his energy on longer adventures.
Groom your dogs, but ask your vet before you shave them.
Many dogs have layers of different types of hair that work together to insulate their body against extreme temperatures. By keeping your pup’s hair mat- and tangle-free, you’ll help keep them cool. And because their hair might actually be helping to regulate their body temperature, avoid the temptation to shave your dog in the summer, at least until you’ve spoken to your vet.
Choose places with shade and, if possible, water.
Head for a spot that offers plenty of shade and water. Parks with trees are a great idea, as are lakes; not only does submerging himself in cold water lower your dog’s body temperature, but as they dry off the evaporating water will keep them cool for a long time after the swim.
Watch for signs of dehydration or heat stroke.
Even the most careful dog owner needs to watch out for signs of dehydration and heatstroke in pets on a scorching summer day. If your dog is panting or drooling heavily, having trouble breathing or acting strangely in any way, it’s important to cool them down and get them to the vet as soon as you can.