Don’t Overheat Your Hound! Summertime Tips from AKC

As we head into the warmest months of the summer, the AKC offers the following tips for keeping...

As we head into the warmest months of the summer, the AKC offers the following tips for keeping canines cool:


Out and About

  • Most importantly, make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours a day. There are many inexpensive and collapsible bowls (usually plastic or fabric) that you can take with you anywhere and refill at water fountains. If you are going to be out for a long period of time, freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a Tupperware container so that you will have cold water when you reach your destination.

  • Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs' paws, and that your dog's entire body is much closer to the ground than yours. In hot weather, walk your dog on the grass or dirt where is it cooler.

  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle. When it's only 80 degrees outside, a car can heat up to over 120 degrees in just minutes and leaving a window does little to prevent heat build-up. Many vets say that this is the most common cause of heat exhaustion.

  • Tying a dog outside a store while you run an errand in never a good idea, but is especially dangerous in the summer since he may be exposed to direct sunlight. If you can't bring your dog inside the store, it's best to leave him home.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when heat and humidity are less intense. Remember that if your dog is spending most of her time in air conditioning, the intense weather outdoors will be even harder for her to acclimate to.

  • If you plan to travel with your pet, know that federal regulations prohibit shipping live animals as excess baggage or cargo if an animal could be exposed to temperatures above 85°F. Some airlines do not ship dogs at all during the summer months, regardless of the temperature. Check with your airlines for individual policies. View the Shipping policies.

  • Dogs are outdoors and interacting more with nature and other animals in the summer. They can pick up bacteria in lakes, streams and rain puddles. Summer months are also prime time for ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, so make sure your dog's vaccinations are to up to date and that you are treating her with monthly preventatives.

  • Many dogs like swimming, but some cannot swim (for instance Bulldogs are too large-boned) or may not like the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before putting him in the water. Always supervise your pet while swimming. Dogs can become easily disoriented in swimming pools and may not be able to find the stairs.

  • Chlorine from pools and bacteria from streams, lakes and ponds can be toxic for a dog's system. Always rinse your dog with clean water after swimming and never let her drink water from these sources.


Cool Ideas

  • If you keep your dogs outside, it's critical that they have access to shade, and remember that dark colored dogs absorb more heat than dog with lighter color coats. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat.

  • There are various products that can help keep pets cool, such as fans that clip onto crates and mats with cooling crystals that stay up to 20 degrees below room temperate. These can be used as crate liners or as beds. Collars, vests and other items are also available. For an immediate and inexpensive option, try placing your dog on a wet towel on a concrete or tile floor in front of a fan or air conditioner.

  • Dogs do not sweat and their only means of reducing body heat is by panting. If you have a long-haired dog, consider keeping him trimmed during the summer months. But don't cut it too short or shave the dog-- his coat protects him from sunburn!


Heat Exhaustion 101

  • There are many factors which can make a dog more susceptible to heat exhaustion; physical condition, age, its coat type, breed and the climate it is most acclimated to. Very young and very old dogs are at the most risk. Brachycephalic dogs (those with short muzzles) such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are also at greater risk.

  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke can include excessive panting, disorientation and obvious paleness or graying to the gums due to a lack of oxygen. A dog's natural 102 degree body temperature should never exceed 105 degrees.

  • If you feel your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, act immediately by submerging her in cool water (not ice cold) or by placing ice packs on her neck. Once the dog has been stabilized get her to a vet.