We’ve noticed it in the past few days: it’s warmer again! Summer is here and will stay awhile! Ah, those long summer days! For us, it means lying in the sun, wearing shorts, dresses, and skirts, eating ice cream, and enjoying outdoor terraces (when they’re open again ?). However, hot summer days can be stressful for dogs. That’s why it’s good to prepare in advance for how to take care of your dog during hot summer days.

Dogs have difficulty dissipating heat because they don’t sweat like humans. While we can sweat all over our bodies, dogs can only sweat through their paw pads. Additionally, a dog can cool down by panting. Sticking their tongue out, dogs cool down their warm blood through evaporation. The rest of their bodies are covered in fur, which makes it difficult for heat to be released. As a result, dogs heat up faster than humans and cool down less quickly. Overheating can cause the proteins in their bodies to denature, leading to serious consequences. Therefore, keeping your furry friend cool during the upcoming hot days is essential! That’s why we’ve put together 10 tips for keeping your dog cool during the hot summer days!

10 tips for your dog during hot summer days:

1. Trim your dog’s coat.

Most dogs have a thick, double coat. The undercoat of dogs retains a lot of heat. When your dog loses this extra fur, they’ve taken off a thick jacket. After all, you wouldn’t want to walk around on a hot summer day wearing a fur coat, would you? Trimming your dog’s coat helps them dissipate heat more effectively.

2. Schedule activities in the morning and evening.

It’s summer, and you want to go out and have fun with your buddy. We understand that! However, on hot summer days, your dog should avoid activities in the middle of the day. That’s when the sun is at its highest, and the temperature can rise significantly. Plan your activities with your dog for the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler. It’s time for a siesta during the hottest part of the day!

3. Limit physical exertion

Most dogs love to play and run, especially when they’re young. In their excitement, they may ignore the heat and push themselves beyond their limits. Especially when we encourage them (by throwing a ball, for example), make sure to restrain your dog when necessary, even if there are no visible signs of exhaustion. Dogs generate a lot of heat when moving, which can quickly become too much. Avoid strenuous activities like cycling with your dog on hot summer days. Long walks are only possible if the dog can rest and cool down regularly.

4. Always provide plenty of cool water.

Whether in your backyard or hiking in the woods, always carry fresh and cool drinking water with you on hot days. Dogs cool down by drinking water. Your dog will need and want to drink more than usual on warmer days. Nowadays, special collapsible water bowls are available so you can provide your dog with water anywhere and anytime. Remember not to use ice-cold water. It can cool the body too rapidly, causing it to retain heat. This is very dangerous on a hot day, and your dog needs to dissipate heat. Cool water is the most effective way to cool down your dog. If your dog shows signs of overheating (panting, drooling, lethargy, high temperature, fainting), play it safe and give them lukewarm. Do you only have cold water with you? Then share it in small amounts at a time.

5. Let your dog swim

An ideal way for dogs to cool down on hot summer days is by going for a swim! However, make sure to teach your dog how to swim correctly first! But even if your furry friend never learned to swim well, water play is a great way to cool down. Even just wading in the water can significantly lower a dog’s body temperature if its paw pads get wet! If your dog doesn’t like water, try enticing them with a toy or treat, or set up a small pool in your backyard. Sometimes dogs with a fear of water are willing to walk through it. Alternatively, you can also wet your dog’s paw pads yourself. A small pool or a garden hose can be ideal if you don’t have access to natural bodies of water but still want to give your dog some water fun!

6. Avoid hot surfaces.

It may sound fantastic: sun, sea, and beach. And while most dogs love the beach, it’s not a good place for them on a hot summer day. White sand heats up quickly in the sun, and your dog can burn their paw pads. These are painful wounds that can bother your dog for a long time. The same goes for asphalt, which becomes very hot in the sun. Generally, if it feels hot under your bare hand or foot, don’t let your dog walk on it! Instead, let your dog walk on moist sand (e.g., in the forest) or grass, preferably in shaded areas.

7. Provide cool spots.

Whether in your garden, at home, or at your campsite, make sure there are plenty of cool spots for your dog. If necessary, set up a parasol to create shade or a fan for some cool air. Of course, let your dog choose where to lie down, but keep them from staying in direct sunlight for a short time. While some dogs may enjoy it, they still can’t effectively dissipate heat. If your dog has a favourite cool spot, that’s ideal!

8. Get cooling products.

There are various cooling products available for dogs on the market today. These include cooling harnesses, bandanas, cooling mats, and chilled toys. The harnesses (cooling vests), bandanas, and mats are made of material that absorbs cold water and can hold onto it for an extended period. These products are highly effective in providing additional cooling for your dog. These products can be a lifesaver if you have a dog that is particularly sensitive to heat (such as young and old dogs, overweight dogs, or dogs with short noses).

9. Never leave your dog in the car.

This is a tip and a command: never leave your dog in the car on a hot day! The temperature inside a car rises rapidly, making it too hot for your dog within a short time. Even leaving them for “just” fifteen minutes while you run errands can be life-threatening. A dog left in a car on a hot day can die within fifteen minutes. Leaving a window open or parking in the shade is not enough. Only if the air conditioning can remain on, keeping the car cooler than the outside temperature, can your dog stay in the car. Also, always ensure that fresh water is available. The advice from animal welfare organizations is clear: above 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), never leave your dog in the car!

10. Bring sunscreen Dogs, like humans, can get sunburned.

Their fur provides some protection against UV radiation, but they still have thinly-haired areas, such as the nose, belly, groin, and ears, which are particularly sensitive to sunlight. Breeds with thin or light-coloured coats, hairless breeds, and dogs with a trim shorter than 7 mm are at extra risk. Therefore, always bring particular sunscreen for dogs to protect your furry friend. Sunscreen for humans is unsuitable for dogs because it often contains zinc oxide, which is toxic to dogs if ingested or licked. Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl, octyl, and p-methoxycinnamate), PABA esters (Padimate-O, Octyl Dimethyl PABA), and salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate) are also dangerous for dogs. Dog-specific sunscreen typically lasts about 2 hours, so remember to reapply it regularly.


– De hondenbescherming
– Dierendokters.com


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