Summer is a fantastic time for dogs. They can enjoy exciting trips to the beach, swim in local rivers, and they even get to have their favourite humans home with them over the holidays. It’s a great time all around, but with summer comes one other thing: the heat.
Different dog breeds of course respond differently to warm weather. This depends on the thickness of their coat, as well as what climate they have been bred for. But with the harsh Australian climate being what it is, it’s assured that all dogs will feel the heat in one way or another.
Here are some easy ways to keep your furry best friend cool through these warmer months.
1. Crank the AC
This one might sound obvious, but it’s still important to note. A good air conditioning system and hard surface flooring is a winning combination for any pooch.
You might notice throughout the warm season that your dog will forgo their comfy bed, instead choosing to sprawl out on the hard floor. As hot air rises, the coolest part of your house tends to be down low and, with an air con fuelling the cooling, your floorboards are a hot pup’s paradise.
It’s important to prep your cooling system for this time. If you haven’t had an air conditioning service in a while, it’s definitely time to book one in. An experienced technician can perform general maintenance and repairs to your existing system, so that it’s healthy for you and your pooch to enjoy all summer long.
2. Splish Splash Splosh
Most pups love a good splash, whether it be at the beach or in a pool. However, a trip to the beach isn’t always convenient, and a sand-coated dog is not a car’s best friend. Likewise, not every home is graced with a pool.
But, don’t worry. There’s an easy solution to give your favourite mutt some watery fun without any hassle. Just convert a plastic sandpit into your dog’s own splash fun zone. These handy plastic tubs are highly affordable and can be found at most local hardware stores. Simply fill them up with some refreshing water and your pup is all set. They only need to be deep enough for your dog’s belly and paws to get wet, so be careful to not fill them up too far.
Speaking of water, it’s also essential that your pooch has plenty of access to it all day, every day. Dogs don’t have sweat glands like us humans. So, it’s important to keep them hydrated to help cool them down in the hot weather. Always have water available so your pup stays happy and safe when the temperature heats up.
3. Plan your Walks
Regular walks are at the heart of responsible dog care. However, your regular walking schedule may not be appropriate for the hot weather and could put your pup in danger.
A walk during a hot summer’s day can pose multiple risks. High-intensity exercise in high temperatures can quickly overheat your pooch. Hot pavement or sand can also burn the pads on their paws. This can be very painful for your dog and will require a not so fun vet visit to aid any foot damage. As a general ‘rule of paw’, if you can’t rest your hand on the ground for at least 7 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pup.
Of course, dogs are full of energy, and regular walks are necessary to keep them happy and healthy. On hot days, try scheduling your walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid the harsh midday sun.
4. Keep Things Ice and Cold
You can create your own makeshift cooling pad by scattering some ice cubes on an old towel. As the ice melts into the towel, it will create a nice little chilled zone where your pup can relax indoors. Dogs cool down from their bellies upward, so a refreshing wet towel is a perfect way to chill out your pooch and save on your air con bill.
While you’ve got some ice in hand, feel free to throw some in your pup’s water bowl. This will just give them that little bit of extra refreshment as they quench their thirst throughout the day.
5. Make Some Frozen Treats
While we’re on the subject of frozen things, there’s no need to stop at water. You can easily whip up some dog-friendly icy treats that any pup would love on a hot day. Start easy and simply freeze some low salt beef or chicken stock in an ice cube tray.
If your furry friend is the playful type, you can even turn this into a fun game. Try filling an empty ice cream container with water, and then mix in some yummy treats. Wet dog food, shredded chicken, mashed banana or cooked mince are a few good options. Freeze the container overnight, and pull it out for your pooch the next morning. They’ll have a great time trying to dig through the ice to reach the frozen goodies inside.
6. It’s Grooming Time
Surprisingly, a dog’s fur actually serves an important purpose during summer. Their coat protects their skin from the sun, and so a clean shave may not be in their best interest. Instead, opt for regular grooming on a less drastic scale.
If your pup is a serial shedder, use a de-shedding brush every other day to remove any excess fur that’s weighing them down. You could also try a minor trim to relieve your pooch of their winter coat. These little things will significantly increase your furry friend’s comfort, whilst still keeping their skin protected from the harsh Aussie sun.