How to Keep Dogs Cool

Keeping dogs cool in the summer is important, because dogs are vulnerable to heat stroke, sunburn, foot pad burns and other injuries and illnesses related to hot weather. Heat stroke can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage, hemorrhages, blindness, seizures, convulsions and even death. Here's what you should know about keeping dogs cool in the summer.

Keep Fresh Water Available at All Times

One of the most important parts of keeping your dog cool in hot weather is to make sure he always has a plentiful supply of fresh, clean water. If your dog is outside and unsupervised, give him two or three large, full bowls of water. This ensures that he'll still have plenty of drinking water should be overturn one or more of his bowls.

Give Your Dog Shade

If you're leaving your dog outside in hot weather, even for a short length of time, make sure he has some shade so he can get in out of the heat. Porches, lawn umbrellas and trees are all good sources of shade for your dog. Keep your dog inside during the hottest parts of the day, if possible.

If your dog must remain outside during the hottest part of the day, give him a dog house and place it in a shady area. Verify that your dog's outdoor house will be cool enough for him by measuring its inside temperature during the hottest part of the day. You can help to keep your dog's outdoor house cool by painting its roof white, since the color white reflects heat.

Beware of Heat in the Car

If you're taking your dog on an outing in the car during hot weather, remember that cars can heat up fast when left parked in the sun with the windows up. The temperature inside your car can quickly get hot enough to kill your dog. Try not to leave your dog in the car at all, since it can still get pretty hot in there even with the windows open. If you must leave your dog in the car, roll down the windows and leave the car parked in the shade.

You don't have to roll the windows down all the way; you don't want your dog to jump out. But you should roll your car windows down as far as you can without allowing your dog to escape. This maximizes air circulation within your car to keep your dog as cool as possible.

Limit Outdoor Exercise

You should limit your dog's outdoor exercise during hot weather, and even his indoor exercise unless you have air conditioning or a well ventilated house. Not only does vigorous exercise during the hot part of the day put your dog at risk for heat stroke, but he could also burn the paw pads of his feet on the hot pavement. Limit outdoor exercise to the early morning and evening, when it's coolest. 

If your dog appears to be suffering from heat stroke, cool him down with tepid, but not cold, water and seek emergency veterinary services.