The most significant factor that can cause dogs to overheat in hot weather is exercise.
Every summer, we see many campaigns to remind dog owners not to leave dogs in hot cars. But did you know that 70% of dogs suffering from a heat-related illness like heat stroke have been exercising in hot weather?
The best thing you can do for your dog to keep them safe in hot weather is to keep them at home.
So let’s look at some top tips to keep your dog cool inside the house, as well as some tasty treats that will help keep your dog hydrated.
What temperature is too hot to walk your dog?
Many dog owners feel bad about not taking their dog for a walk every day, but the fact is, sometimes it’s just far too hot and not worth the risk.
Once the temperature hits 24°c, you need to be cautious about walking your dog.
If you feel you must walk your dog, then do so early or late at night, but always do a pavement check first.
Hold your palm on the pavement for 7 seconds, and if it’s too hot for you, then it’s far too hot for your dog’s sensitive paw pads.
Certain breeds are at higher risk of overheating. This includes brachycephalic breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and boxers. Dogs with a lot of fur like Golden Retrievers and Chow Chows are also at a higher risk of suffering heatstroke in warm weather.
Dogs with dark coloured fur are at a higher risk of overheating, as are dogs who are overweight or dogs suffering from heart or breathing conditions.
You can read the full study on factors that increase the risk of heatstroke in dogs here.
9 ways to keep your dog cool inside the house
It’s safe to say the best thing to do is to be cautious and keep your dog at home in hot weather. Here are 9 top tips to keep your dog cool and comfortable in the house.
1. Keep curtains closed
Keeping your curtains closed will stop the sun from beaming in and heating the room up.
2. Use cool mats or wet towels for your dog to lie on
Some dogs love cool mats, and some will avoid them due to the feeling of the surface. If your dog doesn’t take to a cool mat, then simply wet a towel and lie it on the floor. It’s free and very effective!
3. Take up rugs to expose tiled or wooden flooring, which is cooler for your dog to lie on
Bare tiles and wooden flooring are much cooler on your dog’s tum than a rug. Roll the rugs up for the day and let your dog choose their favourite spot!
4. Refresh water regularly
Warm water isn’t very appealing, so refresh your dog’s water more often and consider topping up with a couple of ice cubes to keep water cold. If you’re out for longer periods, then you could get a doggy water fountain that keeps the water fresh all day long!
If your dog isn’t drinking enough, then consider topping up their kibble with water, giving treats like watermelon, cucumber, or using some of the hydrating treat ideas below.
5. Doggy paddling pool
If your dog enjoys water, then a dog paddling pool is a lot of fun. Opt for a paddling pool with rigid sides rather than an inflatable, and it’ll last a lot longer!
6. Encourage your dog to stay indoors
Some dogs are just desperate to get out into the garden for a sunbathe. You can use a Dog G8 to keep your back door open for air circulation with your dog safely indoors.
7. Use a fan or air-conditioning unit to promote cool air circulation
It’s best to choose a bladeless fan if your dog will be left unattended with it. Curious dogs may try to give the fan a lick or an investigating paw which could cause injury.
Air-con can also be a great way to keep a room very cool during the peak summer months. Lee Jackson Air-Conditioning Ltd have put their own blog together discussing all things Air-Con & Pets - https://www.leejacksonac.co.uk/blog/air-conditioning-and-pets/
8. Play nose games
If you’re worried about your dog getting bored at home all day, then consider playing some nose games with your dog. Sniffing for treats or to find their toys is a low-energy activity that stimulates your dog’s brain and tires them mentally.
A good nose game video is here: https://youtu.be/pTYZ_cenuWw
9. Train new tricks or behaviours
You could use this opportunity to work on training behaviours that are useful on walks, like the sit-stay shown below by Kikopup. Or you could choose to do some fun trick training, teaching things like rollover or leg weaves!
A good video to learn simple new tricks is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksBLKi6lj1s
Treats to keep your dog hydrated and cool in hot weather
On hot days we humans often reach for a refreshing iced drink or an ice cream to help us stay hydrated and to cool us down.
There are lots of fun and easy treats that you can offer your dog in hot weather, which will help keep them hydrated.
6 Low effort healthy frozen treats for dogs
For most of these, you can use either Lickimats, Kongs, or ice cube molds. Simply fill with the ingredients and pop in the freezer ahead of time.
- Frozen carrots, chopped up apple, banana, or berries
- If your dog eats wet or raw food, you can simply pop on a lickimat or similar slow feeder and freeze
- Peanut butter, natural yoghurt, and blueberries (choose xylitol free ingredients)
- Low salt chicken stock and shredded chicken
- Pumpkin and banana, simply mash together and freeze!
- A drop of coconut oil, strawberries, and blueberries
One of the wonderful things about sharing our lives with dogs is the glorious walks we share together. The hot weather never lasts long here in the UK, so you’ll be back out adventuring together soon enough. In the meantime, we hope we’ve given you some ideas to stay cool at home with your dog when temperatures heat up.
We’d love to hear how your dogs enjoy staying cool at home. Please do tag us on Facebook with pics of your fabulous pups indulging in some home comforts.