How to Cool Dogs Down in Heatwave – 6 Easy Steps

Heatwave? Yeah! Summer is pretty much the warmest weather for lots of outdoor activities but can come with severe temperatures. While most of us have strategies for staying cool as the temperature rises, keeping your dog safe during a heatwave is vital.

One of the most crucial aspects of keeping pets healthy and comfortable during a heatwave, according to the ASPCA, is to make sure they have plenty of water. Put ice cubes in their water bowl when it gets extremely hot.

Coldwater works best!

At the same time, ensure there’s plenty of shade whenever your pets are outside. Set up a tarp to block the sun if there aren’t any trees nearby.

Also, avoid leaving them on the pavement as hot pavement can affect a pet’s delicate paws, especially dogs and cats.

Concrete and asphalt can become extremely hot, resulting in severe burns.

Reduce the amount of exercise you give your pet. Only take your dog for a walk in the early morning or late evening, when the sidewalks are cooler. If at all possible, take your dog for a walk on the grass.

While these are ways to cool your dog down during heatwave, this article further elaborates on 6 crucial steps you should follow to outsmart heatwave.

What Temp is too Hot for Dogs?

One thing to keep in mind is to know that a dog’s temperature is higher than a human’s—between 101- and 102.5-degrees Fahrenheit, with a standard top limit of around 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a result, they perceive the ambient air temperature to be hotter than we do.

Purdue University’s Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine explains it like this: “The thermoneutral zone (TNZ) is the usual range of temperatures in which dogs and other species can maintain their body temperatures without expending energy to increase heat production or heat loss.

dog drinking water from bottle

It ranges from…68 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for dogs. Upper and lower critical temperature zones exist outside of the TNZ.”

So, what temperature is too hot for dogs?

Depending on the breed, size, and activity level, a temperature will be tagged too hot if it crosses any of the temperatures in the table below.

 SmallMediumLarge
TemperatureFahrenheitFahrenheitFahrenheit
95oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.
90oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.
85oDangerous weather; use cautionDangerous weather; use cautionLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.
80oUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideDangerous weather; use caution
75oUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
70oRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be carefulRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be carefulUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
65oNo evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!Risk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be careful
60oNo evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!
55oNo evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!
50oRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be carefulNo evidence of risk; have fun outside!No evidence of risk; have fun outside!
45oRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be carefulRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be carefulNo evidence of risk; have fun outside!
40oUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideRisk is unlikely; have fun outside, but be careful
35oUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
30oUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outsideUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
25oDangerous weather; use cautionDangerous weather; use cautionUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
22oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Dangerous weather; use cautionUnsafe potential; for certain breeds when outside
15oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Dangerous weather; use cautionDangerous weather; use caution
10oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.
5oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.
0oLife-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.Life-threatening; avoid prolonged outdoor activity.

What Do I Do if my Dog is in Severe Heat?

In heatwave weather, it’s easy for your pet to overheat. And heat exhaustion can lead to canine heatstroke and death if not treated promptly.

Recognizing the early indicators of heat exhaustion can help prevent canine heatstroke and death.

In the event of a heatwave, keep an eye out for the following symptoms: hyperventilation, excessive panting, pale gums, increased salivation, erratic or rapid pulse, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and potentially rectal bleeding.

Start by moving your pet to a cooler environment as soon as you observe these indicators, preferably with a fan. Dogs with thick fur coats and short muzzles are more likely to show symptoms than other breeds.

Secondly, you can take your dog’s temperature. The normal body temperature for a dog is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature between 103 and 106 degrees is regular and moderate, while temperatures above 106 degrees are considered severe. Report your dog’s temperature as well as the symptoms it’s experiencing to your veterinarian or the local emergency facility.

Thirdly, put cool, wet cloths around the neck, under the armpits, and between the hind legs to lower your dog’s temperature.

Dogs playing in water

It’s also a good idea to wet the ear flaps and paw pads with cool water. If you’re outside, a stream or pond might help you cool off.

Fourthly, give your dog cool, freshwater to drink, but never force water into his mouth since he will probably suck it into his lungs.

If your dog doesn’t drink, try soaking his tongue with water instead. If your dog is suffering from heatstroke, don’t give him ice. Ice can shock the system if ingested because it cools the core body temperature too quickly.

Finally, it would help if you took your overheated pet to the vet. But call ahead to let them know you’re coming so they can prepare for your dog’s treatment. Your pet may need oxygen, fluids, and other therapies.

What Can I Give my Dog to Cool Down?

Wondering the best thing to give to a dog to cool down? Check out the following tricks you can try out to keep your dog cool and comfortable during a heatwave:

  • Make some delicious watermelon mint popsicles or some doggie ice cream.
  • Provide a fantastic spot for your dog to lie down: such as in front of a fan, on a cool, damp towel, ceramic tile, or a cooled cooling mat.
  • When you’re out and about, have a water bowl handy for her, and it’s pretty acceptable to give her an ice cube or two.
  • Consider a good hosing down if your dog enjoys getting wet and there are no restrictions on water use.

What is the Fastest Way to Cool Down a Dog?

One of the fastest ways to cool down a dog is to provide plenty of water for the dogs, as well as cold food and drinks.

However, there is another method to keep your pet cool without spending any money.

One technique to keep them cool, according to Medivet, is to keep them maintained and cared for regularly.

Regular grooming will assist your dog in maintaining its temperature and avoiding heat waves when the weather warms up. If they have long or thick hair, this is much more vital.

Does Wetting a Dog Cool it Down?

While we appreciate all that Summer offers, it’s vital to remember that the heat can be dangerous for our home companions.

In hot temperatures, dogs can rapidly overheat because their only natural cooling mechanisms are panting and tiny sweat glands between their toes.

Have you ever been puzzled why your dog’s paws are always in the clean water bowl? It’s to unwind, not to make a shamble!

Do you think wetting them down helps?

If you’re going to be outside with them for an extended amount of time, it’s better to wet them down with cool water. You can even do this at intervals.

They appear to be a lot happier as a result, and they enjoy rushing back and forth while they’re wet. However, they dry relatively rapidly.

dog cooling off in a basin of water

I believe this is because it does not penetrate their undercoats. However, it wets the top, and from what I’ve seen, it appears to assist.

Another way is to wet the dog’s stomach. This method is suitable for those dogs that often like to rest belly up. You can soak a washcloth in cold water and place it on its tummy. It has a calming effect on them.

For instance, during recent testing, one dog collapsed due to heat exhaustion. A veterinarian’s first move was to cool the dog’s stomach right away.

Wetting your dog and placing them in front of a fan is beneficial. The air blowing on them from the fan becomes chilly.

How to Cool Dogs Down in 6 Easy Steps

It’s scorching outside, and given the rate at which climate change is progressing, it’ll only get hotter and longer.

So, how can you keep your dogs and other animals under your care cool in this weather?

Especially in Nordic countries, where heat and humidity are highly harmful and can make a person physically unwell.

What can we do to assist them in surviving these more frequent and dangerous heatwaves?

Confused about this, here are six steps you can take to overcome intense heatwaves:

1. Provide lots of fresh water

It should go without saying, but in hot weather, your pets will rapidly become dehydrated.

As a result, it’s crucial to provide them with plenty of clean, fresh water from two or more bowls in various locations.

It’s critical to wash your pet’s water bowls daily to prevent the risk of infection from contaminated water: I always buy two water bowls at a time, so one may go in the dishwasher while the other gets filled with water. Put ice cubes in your pets’ water to keep them chilled.

During a heatwave, it’s also crucial to remember wild birds and wildlife: supply fresh, clean water to keep them from ingesting hazardous liquids like antifreeze.

2. Keep Them Under a Shade

The second tip is to have shaded places.
Keep no animal outside without access to shade.

Dogs confined outside might like a shallow children’s swimming pool filled with water to soak in and cool off, besides shade.

But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Allowing your pets unsupervised access to an in-ground swimming pool is not a good idea since they can get trapped by the vertical edges and drown.

If your dog is outside and not in the home, make sure they have a shady and cool place to go. Nothing is more upsetting than watching dogs in gardens where there is no shade.

It’s such an easy way to keep your dog safe from the sun. Don’t overlook the significance of shade.

3. Don’t Take your Dog for a Walk on Heated Surfaces

Even if your dog is only on the pavement for a few minutes during the day or in the evening before the pavement (or sandy beach) has cooled, they might have significant burns on their footpads.

Buy your dog booties to protect their feet from getting scorched on pavements or sandy beaches.

dog with boots on

How do you tell whether the ground your dog is walking on is too hot?
For at least 5 seconds, place the palm of your hand flat on the surface. It’s too hot for your dog’s feet if it’s too hot for your hand.

5. Never Leave your Dog in the Car

This step is self-evident. Never leave your dog unattended in a parked vehicle.

There isn’t much worse than leaving a dog in a parked car in hot weather, as there are possibilities of your dog dying from a heat stroke. It isn’t even necessary for it to be scorching outside.

If you have any questions about how hazardous this can be, a single web search “dogs die in a hot car” will convince you never to leave your dog in a hot car.

Every year, dogs die in hot cars, and it’s completely preventable. A single share has the potential to save a life.

6. Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Dog

In hot weather, overweight dogs have difficulty staying cool and are more likely to overheat.

Extra weight is a more significant problem for brachycephalic breeds (Bulldogs, Pugs, Frenchies, and so on). These breeds have trouble breathing in hot weather, but it’s even worse when they’re overweight, and it’s hot.

Assist your dog by trying to achieve and maintain an excellent body condition.

Measuring their diet, keeping track of how many treats they have (and how many calories they have per reward), and eliminating any table food will help them lose weight.

7. Prepare for the Unexpected

In warmer weather, the risk of wildfires increases dramatically. When the authorities issue a warning, be ready to evacuate your pets right away. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Ensure you have all the necessary items packed and ready to go, including kennels, meds, bowls, and food.

You can place your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as the phone numbers of one or two alternative veterinarians, on your table. Include the phone number for a nearby after-hours emergency veterinary clinic as well.

walking your dogs

Conclusion

I don’t think any of us enjoys seeing our pets panting excessively due to the heat. As a result, when the summer heat hits, we must be sure to offer them strategies to stay calm and hydrated.

Allowing a dog to become too hot makes them uncomfortable and puts them at risk of a heatwave.

Apply the above-discussed steps to get you started on having fun in the sun with your dog.
Don’t forget to safeguard your dog!

References

  • Okhumare.org – What to do if your dog overheats
  • Dailypaws.com – How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs to Be Outside? Here’s What the Experts Say
  • Forbes.com – Use Science to Keep Your Pets Cool During A Heatwave
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Lynne Garner

Lynne Garner

Writer. Dog and Cat mom. Don't talk to me until I have had my coffee. A lifelong animal enthusiast who enjoys writing about dogs and cats, and rescuing them.

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