Spring is here and summer is coming (finally!). Are you prepared to keep your dog cool and comfortable in the summer heat? Here are some tips and ideas to make the most out of the sunny days with your pooch!
Keep It Slow
Dogs cannot sweat. They cool down their body temperature by panting. But watch out: Dogs can only pant while being still, walking or trotting.
However they cannot pant while they are running! That means that any kind of prolonged high-intensity exercise will make them overheat dangerously because they have no effective way to regulate their body temperature.
If your dog is a ball junkie who will fetch for hours or run after the frisbee until his legs give out, do not allow him to do this during the hottest hours of the day. The same goes for playing with doggy friends. If you have two dogs that like to race and wrestle, only allow them to do this in the morning and at night when the temperature is cooler.
Play With Water!
Water is the perfect element for dogs to cool down and have fun in the summer! Not all dogs like water initially. While breeds like Golden Retrievers or Labradors could spend all day in a pool, others need to be convinced slowly. Especially toy breeds such as Chihuahuas or Havanese are not natural water dogs, though they can learn to love it all the same.
You can use a little plastic pool and gradually add water to it while coaxing your dog inside with treats. First just add half an inch of water, then one inch, two inches and so on. The water will rise so slowly that before your dog knows it he is swimming and comfortable with it!
Turn On The AC
If you are at work during the day, make sure you turn on the AC and allow your dog to rest at a cool place inside your house. When the temperature rises above 80F in the shade outside he could overheat if he is left there all day long. Dogs love to lie on tile floor when it is hot – it cools them down instantly! If your dog is not allows to have the full run of the house, consider letting him hang out in the laundry room where it is cool.
Ice Cream For Dinner
Instead of serving your dog his dry food in a bowl, mix it up by freezing some thin, low-sodium chicken broth and his portion of kibble in an empty yoghurt container. The resulting pup-sicle is sure to keep him occupied and cool! You can freeze several portions ahead of time and then take them out when it is time to eat. Dogs love to lick and chew and will appreciate this novel way of having their dinner served.
If you have a dog with a dark and thick coat you might need to think about investing in acooling vest to keep him completely comfortable in the summer heat. These vests work through the principle of evaporation: You soak them in water and put them on your dog. As the water evaporates it cools down your dog’s skin temperature. When all water is evaporated you simple soak the vest again.
With Ice, Please!
Just like we enjoy a cold drink on a hot day, so will your dog! When you prepare yourself an iced tea, throw some ice cubes into your dog’s water bowl as well. Many dogs like to chew ice cubes and play with them. If you want to make your dog extra happy, freeze some low-sodium chicken broth into special doggy ice cubes for him.
Take a bowl of cool water and put some treats that are safe for your dog in there . They can be bananas, apple slices, berries, little pieces of cheese etc. Let him catch the treats in the water – a game that’s sure to make him happy (and the surroundings wet – it is best played outside).
Do you want to teach your dog the cool trick of blowing bubbles through his nose underwater? It is easier than you think. A dog automatically exhales when his nose is submerged. All we have to do is to teach our dog to put his nose at the bottom of a bowl of water (use a transparent bowl for this so you can actually see the bubbles he blows from the side!).
Start this trick without any water in the bowl. You can drop a treat in the bowl or point to the bottom with your finger. When your dog moves his head towards the bowl, say “yes” and put a treat in it. Repeat this several times until your dog is reliably sticking his nose into the bowl. Now you add the water – just a little bit at first and then gradually more. When your dog is successfully blowing bubbles underwater you only need to add a command to make the behavior complete – perhaps “Bubbles”. It is the perfect canine party trick!