That lolling tongue, those sweet brown eyes, that constantly wagging tail—when you hit the beach, stroll the park, or explore hiking trails , it's natural to want your best buddy, your faithful friend—your dog—by your side.
But sharing all your outdoor adventures with your pup might be doing serious harm.
It’s easy to forget, but dogs can experience heat stroke much more easily and quickly than humans. Imagine wearing a fur coat to the beach on an 80-degree day! And since dogs don’t sweat the same way we do—they only have sweat glands on their paw pads—they don’t really have the luxury of a built-in cooling system, aside from panting to release heat.
Even worse, smushy-faced cuties like bulldogs, pugs, and boxers have it even worse, since they have smaller airways and are not as capable of blowing out hot air.
Keep an eye on your furry friend while you're out in the heat. Any of these symptoms could be signs of heatstroke:
- Rapid heavy panting
- Small, deep-red hemorrhages on gums or skin
- Bright red mucous membranes on the gums and the eyes
- Bright red tongue and gums
- Salivation then dry gums
- Glassy eyes
- Anxious expression
- Refusal to obey commands
- Warm, dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat
To keep your pup cool as a cucumber even on the hottest summer day, try following these tips:
Restrict walks to early mornings or evenings
Try to keep your dog indoors and only go for walks in the early mornings or evenings to avoid the blistering heat of the midday sun.
Do not leave your dog in a car—not for a second
On an 83-degree day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can rise to 109 degrees in just 15 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Leaving your dog—or anyone for that matter—in the oven-like atmosphere of a car can be deadly.
Protect their paws
You know that dance you do when you have to scurry across sun-drenched sand on the beach? Feels like you’re walking on lava. Guess what? The same thing happens to your dog—on concrete, asphalt, sand, dirt—only they’ll never complain. Keep their precious paws off of hot surfaces.
Pick a shady spot
Dogs love to bask in the sun, but make sure they have access to a shaded area at all times. Even though they’re covered in fur, they’re still vulnerable to skin cancer—especially short-haired dogs.
Keep cool water on tap
Make sure they always have plenty of fresh water, and keep that in a shaded spot, too. Dropping a few ice cubes into your dog’s water bowl will help keep them refreshed.
Turn your dog into an ice bandit
Wet a bandana, freeze it, and tie it to your dog’s neck. Not only will they look cool, but they’ll feel cool, too.
Dogs scream for ice cream
Since your dog probably wants to do everything you do, why not give them a frozen treat to nosh on while you cool off with a popsicle? Just stick their regular treats into the freezer, and you’ve got the canine version of a yummy, frozen dessert.
If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of heat stroke, lower their temperature as quickly as possible by splashing cool water on their chest and feet. Avoid ice water since such a dramatic change in temperature could be dangerous. Hosing them down can bring quick relief. Or pull up a lawn chair, break out the kiddie pool, and you can both enjoy your makeshift backyard oasis.
Photo credit: Marko Milanovic via Stocksy