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Toller Tips: Having a Heatwave? Helping Your Hound Stay Cool

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

The arrival of summer means the arrival of high temperatures. For us dogs, the high temperatures and heatwaves can be dangerous.

We depend on our humans to help us cope.

Here are some of my Toller Tails Tips for helping us doggies stay cool during a heat wave.

Never, Never, Never leave a dog alone in a locked and parked car. Cars heat up fast and become deadly. If you think leaving the window open a crack helps — it doesn’t. It only takes a matter of minutes for a dog to overheat and suffer heat stroke. If you wouldn’t leave a baby or small child alone in a parked car, then why would you leave your doggy?

Know the signs of dehydration and heatstroke in dogs. Talk to your vet or holistic vet to learn about what the symptoms of dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion would look like in your dog. Also, check out this American Kennel Club Health Foundation’s article by Dr. John A. Hamil, DVM, on Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion in Dogs to learn more. Some symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke may include:

  • Heavy panting

  • Dry nose and gums

  • Lethargy

  • Dry looking and sunken eyes

  • Loss of skin elasticity

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Drooling

  • Weakness

Make sure there’s clean water, cool water, everywhere a doggy goes! Make sure there are water dishes inside, outside or everywhere your doggy goes filled with clean cool water. Hydration is always important. But it’s doubly important during a heat wave. Drinking water helps dogs cool down. Water dishes outside in the yard should be placed in shaded areas and ice cubes added if possible. Also, carry a water bottle when going for a walk with your doggy. There are a lot of dog water bottles designed for all snout shapes and sizes.

Cast Some Shade on Your Dog. Shaded areas are critical for both dogs and humans. Outdoors, trees offer great shade. You will always find us doggies hanging out underneath a shady tree. Consider planting shade trees in your yard. Patio umbrellas are another option to provide shade outside. Also, don’t forget about indoors. If you don’t have air conditioning, then close any drapes to create shade and help manage heat indoors.

Cooling Mats and Cooling Vests. A cooling mat or cooling vest can help your dog during high temperatures and heat waves. These can be purchased at your local dog store or online. Just make sure to measure your dog properly to ensure a good fit for the cooling vest or to ensure that the cooling mat is large enough.

Toller Tails Tip Hack: DYI Air Mattress Cooling Mat! Take an air mattress and fill it with cold water instead of air. Then wrap the air mattress in a sheet or towel to help minimize the chance of punctures by doggy toes. Thicker rubber air mattresses are best. Remember that the water will get warmer as the day goes on and your dog lays on your DYI Air Mattress Cooling Mat. Also, to keep your DYI Air Mattress Cooling Mat cool, you will need to change the water periodically.

Create or Find Doggy Splash Spaces! You don’t need an Olympic sized pool in your backyard for your doggy. Kiddie Pools, wading pools, sprinklers, lakes and streams are great splash spaces for dogs to have fun and cool down. A kiddie pool placed in a shaded area with just enough water to splash about can provide relief on a hot day.

Not all doggies are swimmers, so don’t overfill your kiddie pool or leave any dog unattended around a pool.

If there are any lakes or streams nearby, then consider taking your doggy for a dip.

Have Ice Cubes and Homemade Pupsicles on Hand. Pupsicles don’t have to be fancy. A simple ice cube is often enough. But you can make your own homemade pupsicles.

My humans take an ice cube tray and fill each ice cube compartment with dog friendly and healthy things such as :

  • bone broth (remember, doggy bone broth is not the same as bone broth that's made specifically for humans to eat);

  • unsweetened plain yogurt;

  • water with a treat or some frozen kibble; or

  • plain unsweetened natural yogurt with a healthy dog friendly vegetable.

If you have a Kong, then fill it with healthy treats and put it in the freezer. It’s another way to make pupsicles at home that will be cool and satisfying.

Minimize Exercise and Playtime when temperatures are high. Us dogs, love spending time with our humans and our dog friends and we can get too focused on fun to realize we need to take a break during the heat. That’s why we need our humans to limit our exercise and play on a hot day.

When it’s hot out, take walks or have doggy play dates when it’s cooler outside such as earlier in the morning or in the evening. Also, limiting the amount of doggy play time and walks helps keep us safe and cool.

Toller Tip Temperature Testing Hack: Test the pavement temperature with your hand. If it’s too warm for your hand, then it’s too warm for a doggy’s paw. Sidewalk pavement or asphalt heats up during the day and it can burn paws.

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