Off the Leash: Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer

I’m always excited when the laidback days of summer arrive and I love spending time outdoors with my four-legged sidekick, Enzo. Now Enzo, who is a miniature goldendoodle, loves the sun and has even learned to love to go swimming (with a little bit of encouragement from me). He’s not as sensitive to the heat and the sun like some other dogs—think bulldogs and pugs, who have short noses and thick coats, along with larger and older dogs—but even the best of warm-weather breeds need a little extra love and attention in summer. Here are a few tips for keeping your best puppy pals calm, cool, and collected: 

Lots and lots of water. Giving your dog access to water in various forms will help him beat the heat. Fill up a wading pool with shallow, cool water for your pooch to paddle around in. When you head out on a walk (which you should try and do early in the morning and then after the sun goes down in the warmer months), take along a collapsible bowl and a bottle of water. You can also add ice cubes to his water dish to keep water cool and refreshing (plus, most dogs will have a blast chomping on the cubes).

Made in the shade. When you’re outside with your pet, make sure you give her someplace cool to relax, like a tarp or cloth strung from a tree, a shade, or even a portable “pup” tent underneath a leafy tree.

Switch up the food. A great way to add water to your dog’s diet for extra hydration is to replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food (check with your vet first, of course). You can also give them frozen dog pops as a fun treat; we like Frosty Paws or you can try making your own treats at home.

Recognize the signs. Knowing when your pet has had enough—or too much—can save his life. When a dog is suffering from heatstroke, his internal temperature is raised (above 101 degrees), his breathing and panting is rapid, drool is thick and excessive, and he might show signs of fatigue, muscle tremors, or may stagger when walking. Dogs who are dehydrated may be lethargic or depressed, have a dry mouth and sunken eyes, and skin that, when pinched, is slow to snap back. If you see these signs, get your pooch inside quickly and call your vet immediately.