Dogs do a lot of things right, but they are much less efficient at regulating body temperature than humans. While people deal with heat by sweating through their skin, dogs can only sweat through their paws and nose, which isn’t enough to keep them cool.
Panting is a dog’s best way to regulate their body temperature and cool down. While there are several reasons dogs pant, regulating their body temperature is the most understood. By panting, dogs allow moisture to evaporate from their nose and tongues, ultimately cooling them down. You know, science.
Because dogs aren’t great at staying cool, it's important to be aware of signs that our dogs may be overheating and what to do. Frantic panting, bright red gums, warm skin and dehydration are all signs that our dogs may be getting too hot.
If this is the case, get your dog indoors as soon as possible or find shade and offer your dog water often. You can wet your dog’s paws with cool water, but refrain from dumping cold water all over their body, as it can sometimes be too drastic and send their system into shock.
Avoid the hottest part of the day. Walk and play with your dog outside in the mornings or evenings when the sun isn’t blasting. Consider avoiding record breaking heat days all together and opt in for some fetch in the hallway or food puzzles to give your dog some mental exercise.
Try a Cooling Vest. There are several cooling vests on the market designed specifically for dogs. Ruffwear offers different options for all sizes of dogs that use evaporation technology to help keep your dog cool.
Pool Party. Fill up a kiddie pool and invite the neighbor pups over for a splash. Toss in some tennis balls or ice cubes for even more fun.
Resist the Urge to Shave. Double-coated dogs, like Great Pyrnees, Huskies, Golden Retrievers, etc. have two layers of fur - a longer outer layer and a shorter, insulating layer. It’s easy to feel bad for them in the summer heat, but know that their specialized coat helps regulate their temperature in both cold and warm environments. Therefore, it’s not advised to shave them in the summer. The short layer helps keep cool air against your dog’s skin while the outer layer blocks heat from getting in.
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