As the weather heats up over summer, it’s important to make sure your dog can stay cool.
They’ll need shade, water and ways to avoid the heat – especially in the middle of the day. Start by providing three or four large containers of fresh, cool water inside and outside the house. Keep them out of direct sunlight so they don’t heat up and consider putting some ice in to cool them down further. Be sure to change the water regularly – especially if your dog likes to play with their water.
Summer is also a great time to give your dog one of the all-time best dog treats - the Dog Treat icy pole. Take their normal wet food, or mix their dry treats with water, and freeze it overnight in a plastic cup. Then pop it out of the cup and place it in their food bowl. It may take them a little while to get through it, but it will help cool them down while they eat.
On the hottest days, dogs should be kept in cool, shady areas – if your house is air conditioned, that’s a great place for them. If you have room outside, think about putting a children’s clam shell pool full of water somewhere shady – most dogs love a good wallow when they’re hot.
Even though it’s hot, your dog will still need their brain stimulated and body exercised. So plan to head out before it heats up in the morning or once the temperature drops a bit at night. If you can get to the local beach or river, they might even like a paddle to cool down. For times you need to walk while it’s still hot, try to check the temperature of the footpath to make sure it’s not going to burn your dog’s feet. The best way to test is to place your wrist flat on the path – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
Some breeds of dog – especially those with short muzzles like pugs or bulldogs – are much more prone to heat stress. It’s best to avoid walks with these breeds once the weather heats up. To keep them active and stimulated, consider playing some indoor games with them like “Find the Treat”.
In this game you get your dog to sit and stay, and then show them a treat before hiding it out of sight. Once you’ve hidden the treat, give your dog the release command “find it” and watch how quickly they sniff out your hiding spot. Of course, they need to know how to follow the “stay” command for this game to work, but if they haven’t learned this skill yet, there’s no better time to teach them than when you’re sitting in air conditioned comfort on a hot day.
It is important to note that you should never leave your dog in a car on a hot day – even for a few minutes. If there’s ever a point where your dog looks to be overheated, try wetting their feet and misting some water on their face. You can also give them a good soaking under a cold hose, but remember to wear something waterproof – they’ll probably thank you by shaking their coat all over you.