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Chill Out - Keeping Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

I looked around for a good article from the creative commons that I could post here to assist our members in keeping their dogs cool in the summer months and found this nicely illustrated article that you may find useful. There is a member in Pakistan who has a Caucasian Ovcharka and he wanted to some tips about how to keep him cool in the hot months.  So here goes an article from wikihow.

When temperatures rise in the summer, your dog can really feel the heat. Keeping your dog cool is vital for its well being, as heat stroke in dogs is a life-threatening condition. Warning signs include panting excessively, moving sluggishly, acting woozy, and losing consciousness. If you observe any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately.

Providing constant access to fresh, cool water
  1. Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    Keep a filled water bowl near your dog at all times. While this may be obvious, it is an especially important step.
    • If your dog finishes the bowl quickly, get a bigger bowl or get a few bowls.
    • If you live with others, set up a schedule to ensure that someone is remembering to check and refill the bowl throughout the day.
  2. Give your dog somewhere to get wet.

Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 2 Version 3.jpg
Set up a small wading pool or similar container of water for your dog to jump into and keep his cool in the yard. The dog might also like to run under the sprinkler.
  • Be certain any pool you provide is not so deep that your dog could drown. The dog should be able to stand on the bottom of the pool with their head above the water.
  • Place the pool in a shaded place so that the water is not directly exposed to the sun as this may defeat the purpose.
3. Bring Water Along On Walks

Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 3 Version 2.jpg
When you take your dog out on a hot day, bring water for both you and your dog. If your dog is panting or seems sluggish, stop in a shady area to offer your dog water.
  • If the dog won’t drink, you can pour the water over its body.
  • Go for walks early morning or late evening
4. Keep the dog inside if you are able.

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Let your dog spend the hottest part of the day in the coolest part of the house. If you have air conditioning in your house, leave it on while your dog is inside.
  • There is no ideal temperature that applies for all dogs, but most begin to show signs of overheating between 81 and 85 degrees. If temperatures are likely to rise into this range, keep the AC on for your dog when you leave home. Set it between 78 and 80 degrees.
  • This is especially important when the weather is humid. The moisture in the air makes it harder for dogs to cool themselves by panting.
  • If your basement is cool and comfortable, having your dog spend time down there is also a good idea.

5. Provide Plenty of Shade

Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 5 Version 3.jpg

Provide a cool kennel or covered porch space for outdoor dogs to rest in. Trees provide the best shade and you can actually feel the temperature difference when under a shade tree vs out in the sun.
  • If your dog will be outside during the day, you can buy a sunshade, or you can make a canopy with a thin blanket.
6. Give your dog a cooling pad. 
Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 7 Version 3.jpg
There are many different pad you can buy that are designed to keep dogs cool. Most of them are filled with a gel that draws the heat out from your dog's body.

You can also just lay a damp towel on the kitchen floor. If your dog will lay on the towel, this will help it cool down.

7. Avoid midday walks. 
Take your dog for its walk early in the morning and at night when the air is cooler. If it is especially hot and/or humid, it may be better to skip the walk entirely.
  • Choose shady, cool places to go for walks. You will both benefit from a cooler walking area. The presence of sea or river breezes can make an area a good choice for walking, if you live near such a place.
  • Manage your dog’s activity by putting it on a leash. This can help you prevent your dog from over-exerting itself in the heat.
  • Avoid letting your dog's paws touch hot pavement. Pavement can get very hot in the summer and walking on it can burn your dog's paws. Let your dog roam on grass if it's possible, and keep exposure to pavements at a minimum. To test whether the pavement is safe for your dog to walk on, lay the flat of your palm on the ground. If it burns, keep your dog off the pavement or put a pair of booties on his paws.
  • If you cannot hold your hand on the pavement for at least 15 seconds, do not take your dog out for that walk until the sidewalk has cooled.

8. Grooming

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Have a groomer clip your dog’s fur. This is especially important for dogs with thick, long coats. Be aware, though, that sometimes the fur will take a long time to grow back after it has been clipped.
  • Take care that your groomer does not shave the dog completely. Leaving skin exposed can increase the chances of sunburn.
  • Know your dog and its coat.  Some breeds with double coat will withstand heat and winter with the coat untouched as it provides both cooling and warmth. Know your dog.
  • Brush or rake daily during the molting season to remove blown coat.
9. Never leave your dog in a parked car in summer.
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This is dangerous because the heat levels inside a car can rise very quickly and kill your dog. You could also get in trouble with animal welfare and the police.
  • Be sure to leave windows open for your dog while traveling in the car, and always bring some water with you. Better yet, close the windows and run your air conditioning.
  • Leaving a pet in a car in warm weather is illegal in many states, like California.
  • Use your car’s air conditioner to keep the temperature of the moving car under 75 degrees. If your car does not have air conditioning, leave your dog at home when it is extremely hot outside.
10. Check on your dog often.
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On very warm days, watch your dog's condition closely. If anything seems odd, such as your dog panting excessively, contact your vet.
  • If your dog begins to show any signs of being too hot, get it well away from the sun, get it water, and cool it down.
  • If you believe your dog has heatstroke, see How to treat heatstroke in dogs for more information.
Cooling an Overheated Dog
  1. Take your dog’s rectal temperature. The rectum is the hole right under your dog's tail. Place petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant on the end of the thermometer before inserting it.
    • If your dog’s temperature is 105 degrees or greater, it is in danger of heatstroke and needs immediate medical attention.
    • While calling your vet or a veterinary emergency center, begin cooling measures. You do not want to cool too quickly, and you want to stop cooling efforts when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Cooling too much or too fast can create more complications.
  2. Wet the dog down. Hose your dog down or place in a tub or sink with cool, not cold, water.
    • Extreme temperature changes can injure your dog. Do not try to cool it too fast with frigid water.
    • Make sure the water gets et under the belly, between the legs, and under the tail.
  3. Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    Give cold treats. Give the dog some cold treats, a few at a time. Too many at once (like immersing in the dog ice water) could cause your dog to go into shock.
    • You can freeze low-sodium beef or chicken broth or or other tasty liquids in an ice-cube tray to make a frozen treat your dog will enjoy. On hot days, your dog may be happy just to receive an ordinary ice cube as well.
    • Do not force water or ice down your dog’s throat. This might cause water to get into the lungs, causing more complications like pneumonia or death.
  4. Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 12.jpg
    4.  Place wet towels against the pad of your dogs feet. You can also keep wet towels against your dog's body to keep him cool.
    • You can also use ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Place them against your dog’s skin, inside the front and hind legs and along the neck. These are the areas where there major blood vessels are located. Cooling the blood as it passes under the ice packs will help cool the interior of the dog.
  5. Place rubbing alcohol in the paw pads. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and decreases heat along with the evaporation.
    • Only do this occasionally. Too much rubbing alcohol can dry out your dog's paws.
Keep a Dog Cool in Hot Weather Step 14.jpg
Call the vet if you notice warning signs. Signs of heatstroke include:
  • Panting excessively
  • Bright red or enlarged tongue
  • Acting sluggish
  • Being unresponsive or extremely slow to respond


  • Put a fan or an air vent next to the dog and a cool bowl of water nearby.
  • Place water bowls and buckets in the shade and clean them daily. Change the water at least once a day, more frequently if it gets dirty.
  • Adding ice to your dogs water will hope to keep your dog cool.
  • Keep your pet's weight within the normal range. Obese animals do not deal well with the heat and are at greater risk of heat stroke.
  • If you notice your dog panting without a break, it probably is overheated. You need to get cool water over it either by hose or in a bathtub. If you are taking your dog to the vet, take a cool, wet towel to help your dog cool down.
  • Brachycephalic dogs, like bulldogs and pugs, are very susceptible to heat stroke. The shape of their faces makes it hard for them to breathe under normal conditions. This can be very dangerous in the heat.Keep them inside with the air conditioning on during the summer.

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-a-Dog-Cool-in-Hot-Weather

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