How To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer Heat

How To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer Heat

It’s summertime and that means warmer temperatures, lots of outdoor activities, and vacations. It’s the perfect time of year for camping, trips to the beach, and even staycationing.

For German shepherds, summertime can equal more fun with the fam but also puts them at risk of becoming overheated or even having a heatstroke. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking news reports of dogs collapsing on hikes or dying in hot cars during the summer months.

Heatstroke in dogs can happen quickly and is deadly. It’s easy to underestimate the temperature or not recognize when a dog is getting overheated. Especially in breeds like German shepherds, that are very active. It’s not uncommon for them to push themselves into the danger zone.

What is the danger zone? If a dog’s body reaches 106 degrees, they are having a heatstroke. At 107 degrees, their organs begin to fail and death can quickly follow. Heatstroke is a painful and horrible death, and is preventable.

If you think your dog is overheated or having a heatstroke, you should run not walk to the nearest vet. Symptoms that your dog is heading for serious trouble include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dark or red gums and tongue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Agitation
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

To prevent a heat related emergency from happening in the first place, here are some tips to help you keep your pup cool and comfortable all summer long:

Create Some Shade

If you don’t have a lot of shade in your yard, you can create some by setting up some portable sun shades, opening your patio umbrellas, and investing in some pop-up canopies. You can also buy some misters and enjoy these cool and shady spots yourself.

Cool Pet Cots

If your shepherd insists upon a sunny siesta, consider investing in a shaded pet cot. These cots are elevated off the ground so they have air circulation and are up off the hot ground. They shouldn't be placed on concrete or asphalt because the ground just gets too hot. But the cots are covered by a canopy to provide some sun protection. If you travel with your pet, look for one with a handy travel bag so you can easily take it with you.

Plan Indoor Activities

Take your dog out to play in the early morning or late evening but keep them inside in the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your dog entertained inside, like teaching them new tricks and sharpening their sniffer skills by having them find things.

Buy A Kiddy Pool

A kiddy pool can provide your shepherd a fun way to play outdoors while preventing them from getting too hot. You can buy a simple plastic toddler pool or even invest in a little bigger foldable pool with a drain. If you place a pop up canopy over the pool, you can help keep the water cooler throughout the day.

Sprinkler Fun

If a pool is too much work, setting up some sprinklers is a fun way for your dog to get some exercise and cool off. The ground does get much wetter and you’ll use more water with sprinklers but if that isn’t a problem where you live, they can be a lot of fun.

Install Misters

By installing misters on your patio, you can create a cool spot for you and your dog to enjoy. How fancy you go is up to you but there are plenty of patio furniture options and outdoor rugs which will also help protect paws from burning.

Teach your Pup to Wear Booties

Teaching your dog to wear protective booties will allow your dog to walk on hot surfaces without burning their paws. Of course, you’ll need to keep in the mind that the rest of their body is still exposed to the heat and if they are walking or running around, can easily get too hot.

Buy a Nifty Cooling Vest

If your pup is going to spend any time outdoors, consider a cooling vest or neck wrap. They are easy to use and come in many sizes. All you do is soak them in cool water then put on your dog. High quality wraps have layers that offer sun protection and a mesh lining to help keep your dog’s skin healthy and comfortable.

Provide Extra Water

This one is a no brainer but sometimes it’s the easy things we forget. Always provide plenty of water for your dog. In the summer time, outdoor dishes can get hot so water needs to be replenished more often. A shady spot for the water bowl is best. Also by providing extra bowls of water, your pet will have extra in case they spill one or play in it to cool off.

Buy a Cooling Mat

If your dog is not a chewer, a gel filled cooling mat can help keep your pet chillaxed. If there is a chance your dog might chew it, buy the type of mat that is filled with water instead. The mat will give your dog a cool pad to lay on.

Watch out for Humidity and the Heat Index

The ambient temperature doesn’t always tell the whole story. Watch out for humidity. High humidity makes it harder for the dog to pant, which is how they cool themselves off. The heat index can also make if feel much hotter than it is and the heat more intense, leading to more heat related injuries. When it’s super-hot and humid, it’s best to be extra cautious and stay indoors.

Keep your Dog Groomed

German shepherds have a dense undercoat that provides insulation in winter and protection in summer so don’t shave it. However, brush often to remove loose fur, especially when they blow their coat. It will also help keep them clean, dry, and their skin healthier when they’re playing in water more often.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

When you travel even for a short distance, plan for emergencies. Bring extra water and a dish, a cooling blanket, and booties or socks for your dog to wear in case you break down or have an accident. It will be too hot for your dog to sit in their crate so always have a leash with you. An Aluminet Sun Shade Cloth can provide some protection from the sun and be draped over an open door or hatch back. Even a cheap kennel pad can be placed on the ground to protect your pet until help arrives.

We hope these tips help you keep your German shepherd cool this summer. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.

You may also like: 7 Drool Worthy Frozen Dog Treat Recipes For The Hottest Summer Days

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