There is no better time to enjoy the outdoors with your dog than in summer. However, summer can be dangerous in areas where temperatures skyrocket into the 100′s.
Dogs who are brachycephalic or sport heavy coats have a zero tolerance for warm weather.
Breeds with the above mentioned features can enjoy the summer time but require extra monitoring. Dog owners should never exercise dogs at the peak of a summer day. Instead, program yourself to go out for early morning or late evening walks/runs for the sake of your dog.
Below is a list of cool dog products that you’ve probably never thought of using, but should.
Dog Feet Protection
ANY surface during summer can turn to hot coals by late morning. If your dog does the “Horse Dance,” on a walk, that means the floor is way too hot for them to be walking on it.
This one really bothers me because Southern California is a freaking desert and can’t tell you how many dog owners are oblivious to their dog’s feet burning on hot pavement. Dog pads are nothing like the shoes we wear. Dogs are born with very soft pads on the bottom of their feet. Overtime, their pads become durable from natural wear and tear. A dog that gets to go outdoors often will eventually have tough enough pads to walk on most terrain, but never when scorching hot. Again, choose cooler times of the day to walk your dog.
One of the best ways to protect your dog’s feet is with specialty dog footwear. Lots of research and development has gone into the construction of dog shoes; similar to that of human shoes in recent years they are light weight, super pliable and comfortable–they literally fit like a glove.
Dog shoes also help with keeping foxtails and other prickly debris from getting wedged into your dog’s toes. Dog shoes are a must for dogs who might go hiking rough terrain.
My dogs don’t wear shoes, unless we are hiking hot abrasive rock. So don’t think for a second I’m telling you your dog needs to wear shoes everyday, because they don’t. Just pick good times during the day to exercise and play. However, do give consideration for foot protection when walking on terrain not even your own shoes can handle.
Natural Wax products like Mushers Secret, is an all season, food-grade wax formulated to form a semi-permeable shield on the bottom of your dog’s pads. These 100% natural waxes help dogs perspire through their toes more efficiently. Most amazingly, this special blend of wax helps protect your dog’s feet from hot pavement, rough terrain, hot sand, and sunburn.
Staying hydrated in hot weather is extremely important. Ensuring your dog has access to clean water is vital during their lifetime, obviously; but it’s life and death during summer for dogs living outdoors.
During summer, dogs will instinctively drink more water to stay hydrated and cool. It’s important to check your dog’s water bowl regularly or use a larger bowl for water.
Dog Water Bottles
For walks or runs, it’s always a good idea to bring along your dog’s own water supply from home. Stainless steel dog water bottles with proprietary drinking lids are a must (propriety drinking lids help dogs drink much more efficiently than traditional drinking tips). If using a normal water bottle, a portable serving bowl is ideal so that your dog can effectively drink water.
Dog Packs with integrated water bladders
For long-winded outdoor adventures, dog backpacks ensure you’ve packed enough water and food for your pooch. There are plenty of well designed dog packs, each with different levels of outdoor adventure capabilities. One of my favorite packs is the Palisades Dog Pack. It’s equipped with two 1.0L water bladders, so I’m never too worried if I packed enough water on our long hikes.
Dog Cooling Jackets
A dog’s normal body temperature is around 100.5°F to 102.5°F (38°C to 39.2°C). But this can easily skyrocket in warm weather.
To help dogs regulate their body temperature, you can use innovative dog cooling jackets
Cooling vests for dogs are cool ways of prolonging summer adventures–through evaporative cooling and heat reflection, your dog stays much cooler than normal.
Staying Fresh & Clean
Like humans, dogs love nothing more than a refreshing shower after a long hot day. Clean skin and a brushed coat will help rejuvenate your dog during the summer.
There is no golden rule on how often to bathe your dog. That all depends on a lot–indoor/outdoor dog, the kind of outdoor activities, etc. If your dog spends most of their time outdoors, look into a misting set up, or consider soaking your dog once a day.
In my lifetime, tools like the Booster Bath help with the back (I’m 6′-2″, not insanely tall, but it helps not having to bend down for long periods of time). Tools like the Booster Bath helped turn bath time into a fun pastime. Instead of it being a backbreaking chore, I actually looked forward to bathing the dogs with the Booster Bath.
Dogs get extra frisky after a bath. Seriously. Even dogs that hate water will prance and hop around the house after quick bath–I do it too in the summer.
Keeping Cool Outdoors
If your dog is an outdoor dog and is excessively digging during a hot summerspell, it’s probably because they are trying to find a cool resting area. No one to blame here but ourselves if your dog is constantly trying to find the North Pole on a hot day. Dogs’ instincts will tell them to dig, or die.
There are a number of things one can do to ensure dogs are comfortable outdoors.
Elevated dog bed and cooling beds
A few tricks to help dog combat hot weather is providing your dog something cool to lay on. Dogs sleep a lot. So much actually, providing a refreshing resting area will help keep them happy throughout most of the day.
Elevated dog beds help with overheating issues all dogs summer from laying on warm floors. The space between the floor and sleeping platform allows air to travel and cool your dog throughout. Additionally, sleeping on hot pavement, or any hard floor in general, is never good for a dog’s musculoskeletal system.
There are also cooling dog beds. These beds are literally water-beds for dogs. Constructed from very durable materials, one simply fills them up with cold water and viola! Your dog is now ready to chill.
Kiddie pools are inexpensive, portable “swimming pools” you can relocate anywhere around the yard. These are great ways of giving your dog access to a large body of water safe enough for them to enjoy while you are at work. They come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to buy one for your dog this summer.
Misting Set Ups
Misting equipment is also a great method of keeping your dog cool and rested. They’re easy to set up, and as long as you have access to a water hose, you’ll be set. Misting set ups can be found at any name brand hardware store starting around $15 for very basic ones and up to $45 for very intricate units.
The best placement for a misting setup is under a patio or dense tree. Add in an elevated dog bed to keep them off the floor to turn it into a 4-season retreat.
Yup, a shovel! Grab a shovel. Find a spot in the yard you’re willing to sacrifice. Make sure this spot receives lots of shade or what I’m telling you won’t work (sun rises in the East and sets in West). Then dig a big hole.
Sometimes you just have to suck-it-up and let dogs do what their instincts are telling them to do. And that is to den in hot weather–in real life it’s, dig up your garden bed where all the moisture sits 2-feet below. Digging a special hole will minimize the habit of dog digging where they want. Sometimes dog know best. They may just tell you what spot is perfect for them.
The very obvious is of course, taking your dog out for a swim.
If your dog isn’t a fan of water whatsoever, check out this how to help my dog like water guide. Once a dog figures out Mother Nature put water on this Earth for them to play in it, you’ll have trouble keeping them away from it.
If you have the luxury of living close to the beach, get out to the beach! Beach walks, especially along the shore in the morning or evenings, are rejuvenating during summerspells.
What tricks do you guys have for keeping your dogs happy during summer? I’d love to hear about the products or techniques you’ve acquired as a dog owner.