How to keep your Dogs Cool in the Summer

Updated 13-08-13

Today we received the sad news that Thor has passed away. Thor was an English Bulldog who was left in the car while his owners went shopping. Thor suffered a heatstroke. A policeofficer smahed the carwindow and he was taken to a vet clinic. Unfortunately it was too late for Thor, the heatstroke caused by his ignorant owner was fatal and Thor died today.  Thor, may your story help prevent other dogs from an unnecassary death due to unknowing and ignorant dogowners.  Read more and watch the video of Thor below. Still there are a lot of dogowners who really love their dogs and care but don’t know what the signs of a heatstroke are or what to do to keep your dog cool on those hot summerdays. Here is some info, tips and medical advice.

Summertime is sunhine, play and hapiness and what better way to enjoy the summer than with your dog?

It’s not only important for us to stay cool in summer, it’s just as important to keep our dogs cool, too. Dogs suffer the same problems humans do, like overheating, dehydration and sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you and your dog can enjoy the summer months.

A dogs body is less efficient at cooling themselves than people, so they are more susceptible to overheating. A dog’s normal body temperature is 100-102 degrees. They have sweat glands on their nose and pads of their paws which they use to pant and drink water to cool down.

Heat exhaustion in dogs is often caused by dehydration and overheating from running or to much exercising during hot weather. Heatstroke can occur when your dog’s body temperature is too high for a prolonged period of time, and both can lead to brain and organ damage, heart failure and even death. Shortnosed, thickcoated breeds,puppies, seniors and dogs with health problems are especially susceptible.

How to keep your Dog cool:

1. always have fresh, cool water available for your dog, whether on a walk, in the car or in a tip-proof bowl in the house or yard

2. If you keep your dog outdoors, bring him inside during the hottest hours of the day,
and provide a shaded area in the yard, preferably in a well constructed doghouse,
making sure he always has access to cool water, since the hot sun can quickly make water too hot to drink.

3. Never leave your Dog in the car, not even for a few minutes

This is what happens when you leave your dog in the car. In loving memory of Thor who died an unnecessary death. Rest in peace, may your story help prevent other dogs from an unnecassary death due to unknowing and ignorant dogowners. Bulldogs and other short faced breeds are more susceptible to heatstrokes than other breeds. But NO dog or pet should ever be left in a car!

Thor’s Story on KCTV
Thor’s Story on WSPA

4. Protect your dog from sunburn. Many people don’t realize that dogs can get sunburn! It’s especially common in pale and short-haired dogs, usually on the bridge of the nose and tips of the ears as well as the belly, groin and insides of the legs (because of the sunlight that reflects up from the sidewalk and hot sand on the beach). Use a sunscreen (specifically for dogs) on rub it on your dog’s nose and ear tips. If you shave your dog’s coat in the summer, be aware that it will make him more prone to sunburn.

5. Dogs’ paws can get burned on sidewalks, asphalt and sand if walked during the hottest time of the day. You can check the temperature of the surface with your hand before walking your dog, if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Walk during early morning or evening hours and never directly after a meal. If you must walk your dog during the afternoon, make it short and keep him on the grass or at the water’s edge when at the beach to protect his paws.

6. If your dog is more susceptible to the heat there are several products available at petstores like cooling spray and cooling collars and vests etc. I have tried and can recommend the cooling collar. I used it on my bulldog Twister (rip) who had troubles during walks on hot days and it really worked for her. Just put the collar in the freezer and put it on before you go on a walk.

7. If possible give them a small pool in the summer so they can walk in and out and take a quick cool down when needed. Small pools for children are handy for this purpose. When you have a real pool (deep water) never leave your dog alone by the pool, even when he is a good swimmer, a lot of dogs drown each year in peoples pools when left unattented.

Here is a video of my Bulldog James Hond 007 playing with Botox the Bulldog in the Yard. James just drinks from it and drops toys in it and than starts barking for me to get them out. Botox like jumping in and out and retrieving toys even under water; -)

Another Bulldog cooling himself down by taking a dip:

What to do, when your Dog is overheated?

  • Move the dog inside or into the shade
  • Give him water to drink
  • Make him wet, especially making their, paws, ears and chest wet will give a quick cooling down (use cool not cold water!)
  • Put a wet towel under and over the dog

If your dog has trouble breathing, purple or white gumbs or tung,
or is not responding to any treatment as mentioned above
it might be signs of heartfailure or a stroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Peaches the bulldog went for her usual daily walk and unlike the typical British weather, it was a very hot day. When her owners returned home with her, peaches suddenly collapsed and had major difficulties breathing. She was rushed into Vet’s Klinic with suspected heatstroke.

Don’t Cook your Dog in a Car

Do you have more tips on how to keep your dog cool in the summer?
Please comment