Tips & Tricks

11 Summer Heat Safety Tips Every Dog Parent Should Know

Summer is just around the corner, which means fun in the sun for us and our furry friends! But while we look forward to vacations, beach days, and backyard barbecues, the rising temperatures also pose dangers for our canine companions. As responsible pet parents, it’s up to us to take the proper precautions to keep our dogs safe, cool, and healthy all summer long.

In this post, I’ll share my top 11 tips to protect your pup and ensure they have just as much fun as you do during the dog days of summer!

Let’s dive in!

1. Never Leave Your Dog Unattended in a Parked Car

This one can’t be stressed enough: leaving your dog in a hot vehicle is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to deadly heatstroke. On a sunny 85°F day, the interior temperature in your car can rocket to 104°F in just 10 minutes!

dog window truck semi pet animal

So what can you do instead? Here are some good options when running errands with your pup:

  • Ask a friend to play with your dog in the grass nearby while you quickly duck into the store.
  • Opt for drive-thrus over going inside when possible.
  • Sit outside with your pup if grabbing a bite at a dog-friendly restaurant.
  • Simply leave your pooch at home with the AC if you’ll be gone awhile. They’ll be perfectly content relaxing indoors!

Basically, never put your dog at risk by confining them to a sweltering vehicle. Their health and safety should always come first.

2. Plan Walks and Exercise for Cooler Times of the Day

The hottest and most humid part of the day is typically between 1-4 pm. To avoid heat exhaustion and other illnesses, limit your dog’s time outdoors during these peak temperature hours. Instead, aim to exercise and walk your pup in the cooler morning and evening hours when it’s more comfortable. Trust me, they’ll be just as happy with an early walk or late jog when the sun’s not blazing!

dog mastiff beach mammal pet

3. Limit Intense Outdoor Playtime

While your energetic pup may beg to play fetch for hours on end, it’s best to restrict vigorous outdoor activity on scorchers. Dogs often don’t know when enough is enough and can overexert themselves in the heat.

Try moving playtime into the refreshing A/C or switch to lower-key indoor games on super hot days. Interactive feeders and treat-release toys are great for burning mental energy and avoiding overheating.

Interactive feeders and treat-release toys are a great way to burn mental energy while avoiding overheating. Here are some of our top picks for keeping your pooch engaged indoors:

Loobani Rolling Treat Dispensing Toys

If you’re new to using puzzle toys with your dog, or if you have a pup that’s a bit shy, it’s a good idea to start with something simple to ensure they feel successful.

Consider a rolling puzzle drum toy that mixes the fun of food rewards with some physical activity. To get the treats out, your dog needs to push the drum around with their nose or paws until the goodies drop out.

For an extra twist, you can set this feeder in a bamboo stand. This changes the game a bit, making your dog figure out how to roll the toy in a new way to get their snacks. The toy also comes with adjustable silicone plugs, letting you tweak how challenging it is. This way, you can keep the puzzle exciting and just right for your dog’s smarts and appetite.

Classic Spinning Bottles Treat Dispensing Toys

The Loobani Spinning Bottles Treat Dispenser Toy is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to spice up your dog’s playtime. Styled after a slot machine, this innovative toy captures the excitement of hitting the jackpot.

Just fill the three sturdy plastic bottles with various delicious treats. Then, watch your dog learn to spin, tap, and maneuver them to release the tasty rewards hidden inside. Thanks to its adjustable height, this toy is perfect for dogs of all sizes, including those with deeper chests, ensuring they can enjoy the fun without any discomfort.

Plus, this tough toy is great for keeping your high-energy pet both mentally stimulated and physically active. It promises hours of engaging, frustration-free play as your dog explores and forages for their treats!

Multi Puzzle Treat Puzzle Toy

For a next-level puzzle challenge, check out the Loobani Multi Puzzle Treat Puzzle Toy.

This cleverly designed puzzle feeder is a mix of mental challenges, all packed into one compact toy. Not only does it feature the engaging spinning treat bottles, but it also introduces a slider puzzle at the base. Your dog will need to use both paws and nose to shift the sliders, revealing hidden treat compartments.

With its variety of moving parts, the ability to adjust the difficulty level, and numerous treat-dispensing sections, this toy is guaranteed to keep even the most determined dogs entertained for hours. They’ll be moving and thinking, trying to figure out how to get to those treats. The unpredictable nature of the spinning and sliding actions also means they’re getting a good physical workout, perfect for tiring out those active pups.

4. Provide Unlimited Access to Cool, Fresh Water

Dehydration is a significant summer danger for dogs, so providing a constant water supply is a must. Refresh your dog’s water bowl frequently, and consider adding ice cubes to keep it extra cold. For outdoor adventures, portable bowls can ensure your pup stays hydrated on the go. And remember to bring extra water along any time you’ll be away from home!

man dog drink drinking

5. Walk Dogs When It’s Cool Enough for Bare Feet

Many summer events allow leashed pets, but hot asphalt poses a burn risk for sensitive paw pads. A good rule of thumb: if the pavement is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog. Monitor concrete or asphalt temperatures closely when bringing your pooch to outdoor fairs, festivals, or farmers’ markets. Play it safe by heading out early or late in the day when ground surfaces have cooled. Your dog will thank you!

go for a dog walk 1

6. Rinse Off After Saltwater or Pool Dips

While swimming is a fun way for pups to cool down, chemicals and salt can irritate your dog’s skin and upset their stomach if ingested. Always rinse your water baby with fresh water after pool time or ocean romps. Also, watch that your dog doesn’t drink too much pool or saltwater, which can cause vomiting or diarrhea. Having the right doggy cleanup supplies ready is a must for water fun days!

boat oars man dog water paddle

7. Use Pet-Safe Sunscreen on Exposed Skin

Just like people, dogs are vulnerable to painful sunburns and skin damage from UV exposure. The highest risk areas for dogs are the nose, ear tips, and around the mouth.

For extended outdoor time, apply pet-formulated sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before heading out. Reapply every few hours as directed on the packaging. This protects your pup from the sun’s harsh rays.

8. Defend Against Pesky Summer Pests

Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and flies flourish in summer and can make your dog utterly miserable. Talk to your vet about flea/tick spot-on treatments and products like chewable tablets to kill internal parasites. Also, dump and refresh your dog’s water frequently so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs. And NEVER use human insect repellent on your dog, as ingredients like DEET can be toxic. Stick to pet-approved preventives.

9. Leash Dogs Near Picnics and Campfires

Of course, we want our fur babies close by for backyard fun! Just be sure to keep them leashed around food so they don’t gobble anything potentially hazardous. Also, pay attention near grills and campfires, and steer clear of burnt or ashy spots that could harbor hot embers. Accidental paw burns are no fun for anyone, so vigilance is key.

10. Never Shave Your Dog Completely

While trimming long hair is fine, shaving a dog’s coat to the skin is dangerous in summer. Their fur actually helps insulate them from heat and sunburns.

Also, avoid heavy double coats from excessive brushing during summer, as this impacts their built-in temperature regulation. Talk to your groomer about safe seasonal techniques for your dog’s coat type.

11. Take Extra Care with Brachycephalic Breeds

Dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Pekingese with pushed-in “smushed” faces need extra caution in heat. Their shortened airways make panting inefficient, putting them at higher risk for overheating. Limit exercise for brachycephalic breeds on hot days and keep them indoors in air conditioning as much as possible. Also, learn the signs of heat exhaustion so you can respond quickly.

puppy hot summer break leisure

What Should You Do if Your Dog Overheats?

Immediately take action to lower their temperature. If you can, move them into an air-conditioned indoor space. Provide them with cool water and a shady spot to relax. Placing their water bowl in the shade encourages them to stay and cool off in a less sunny area outside. Then, gently wet them, paying special attention to the ears, belly, and paws. For dogs with thick, double coats, make sure the water reaches all the way to their skin. 

If your pup displays any signs of heat stroke, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care without delay. Heat stroke is an urgent health crisis that can be fatal without prompt treatment.

dogs swimming water pet swim

How can I Keep My Dog Cool Inside the House?

Keeping your dog cool inside the house during the hotter months is crucial for their comfort and health. Here are some effective strategies to ensure your furry friend stays cool.

First, keep your blinds or curtains closed during the day. This simple step can significantly lower the temperature inside your home by blocking out the sun’s rays. Before you head out, make sure to set your air conditioning to a comfortable temperature. It’s important for your dog to have a cool environment to relax in while you’re away.

Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Staying hydrated is crucial for helping them regulate their body temperature. You may also want to consider letting your dog lay on a cool tile floor. The tiles naturally stay cool and can provide relief from the heat. If you don’t have tile floors, purchasing a cooling mat or bed can be a great alternative.

For a fun way to cool down, freeze a toy stuffed with peanut butter or wet food. This not only provides cold relief but also keeps your dog entertained. Lastly, think about setting up a circulating fan in the area where your dog spends most of their time. A fan can keep the air moving, making it feel cooler and more comfortable.

FAQ

1. What are the signs of overheating in dogs?

When a dog starts to overheat, you’ll notice certain signs like heavy panting, not wanting to move around much, acting tired, and looking for shady spots or water. If you see any of these signs, it’s important to help them cool down quickly. 

If your dog experiences severe symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or collapsing, it is important to seek emergency veterinary care right away.

2. What temperature is too hot for dogs outside?

There’s no universal safe temperature for all dogs. Breeds with flat faces or heart/lung conditions have lower heat tolerance. Signs of heat stress can occur in some dogs as low as 65°F.  It’s critical to monitor each individual dog and limit outdoor time accordingly in warm conditions.

3. Will my dog be ok in a heat wave?

Dogs should be kept indoors as much as possible during heat waves. Adjust your morning and evening walk schedule to avoid peak daytime temperatures. Watch closely for signs of overheating and provide access to shade, cool water and cooling gear. 

Certain dogs, like elderly, overweight or brachycephalic breeds, will need extra care. When in doubt, call your vet for guidance tailored to your pup.

4. What temperature is too hot for a dog to be outside?

Dogs’ tolerance to heat varies based on their breed, age, and health conditions. Heat stroke and other heat-related issues can occur at temperatures as low as 65 degrees F (18.3C). 

Keep a close eye on all dogs in sunny and warm weather for signs of heat exhaustion.

5. Is it ever ok to shave my long-haired dog in summer?

Veterinarians typically advise against shaving double-coated or extremely long-haired dogs completely down to the skin, as this can interfere with temperature regulation. However, responsible trimming or thinning out of excess undercoat is usually fine during summer months. Have a groomer evaluate your dog’s specific coat to determine safe options.

dog outdoor pool dog in the water

Final Words

The arrival of summer shouldn’t mean the end of fun for you and your four-legged best friend. Just take sensible precautions to avoid heat-related illness and injuries.

Stick to the dog days of summer safety basics. And be sure to keep your vet’s number handy in case any questions or emergencies come up.

Most importantly, listen to your dog and let their needs and comfort guide your plans. Your pup will thank you for looking out for their health and wellbeing all season long!