Proud dog owner here. Sebastian LOVES it when the weather warms up, because it means he gets to go out in the yard, find a nice, grassy spot to sit on, maybe chew on a rawhide, smell the scents of the outdoors and keep guard for any intruders who might try to check the meter or mow the grass or something.
But as you can see, my dog is covered mostly in black fur, and if you remember your sixth-grade science class, you’ll know that black absorbs sunlight. According to PetMD, black dogs are most likely to overheat.
If the sun is-a-blazin’, I keep Sebastian’s outdoor time to about 20 minutes. He’s always ready to come in, and we keep three bowls of water out for him because it’s extremely important to keep your pooch hydrated during the summer months to prevent heatstroke.
The ASPCA gives some horrible, horrible symptoms of heatstroke in dogs. They include “heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.”
Heatstroke is more common in older dogs, very young dogs, overweight dogs, and also in certain breeds – including boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and any other dog that has short, smushed muzzles. Sebastian is part-pug and fortunately didn’t get the smushed muzzle, but his muzzle is a bit shorter than the average terrier.
We keep Sebastian well-groomed throughout the year, and it particularly helps him in the summer months.
Completely shaving the dog down might not be the best idea. Your dog’s coat can actually protect your dog’s temperature. Talk with your groomer about the best options for the summer. You can also use a de-shedding tool as an alternative to having the dog shaved. Between groomings, I personally like the FURminator, and it’s often used by groomers.
Other ways to keep your dog cool: take a bandanna, soak it in water, put it in a zipper bag and freeze it. you can take it out and instantly have a cold wrap to put around your dog’s neck before he goes out. You can also make popsicles out of peanut butter or whatever your dog enjoys.
I swear Sebastian is the only pooch who hates peanut butter, so we often feed him sugar-free frozen yogurt chips that we get from a specialty dog bakery, or a product called Doggie Sundae from Schwan’s. It’s such an awesome treat for him when he runs back inside!
What are some ways that you keep your pooch cool in the summer?