Six tips to beat the heat with your dog

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Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your dog. Hot and humid days present an extra challenge because animals don’t sweat like people do to cool down. Dogs and cats sweat on their paws and pant to rid themselves of excess heat. Humid days in particular are more difficult for animals to beat the heat.

As we roll into summer, here are tips to keep your pet cool and safe.

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even on a cool day, a parked car can heat up to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes. If you’re running errands that would require you to leave your pet in the car, leave him or her at home instead.
  • Work around the heat. If you like to run or play outdoors with your dog, go outside when it’s cooler and utilize the shade to prevent overheating. Keep flat-nosed, sick and older animals out of the heat entirely so they are not at risk. If you like to work out with your pet, the Swamp Cooler by Ruffwear is a good investment. Soak it in water, wring it out and strap it on your dog, as water evaporates it exchanges your dog’s heat with coolness from the water. If your pet will be walking or running on hot pavement or rocky surfaces, consider footwear to protect the pads of his or her paws.
  • Re-hydrate your pet. Our pets need water to stay hydrated just like we do. There are also a variety of portable and collapsible bowls that fold flat for when you are out with your dog.
  • Cool your pet down. When your pet starts to get too hot, take steps to cool him or her down. Cool, damp rags help as well as a dip in a wadding pool, jump in the lake or a tour through the sprinklers in you yard. Check out the dog beaches in your community and local pet day care and boarding facilities that may have pools.
  • Keep a cool place in your home for your pet. If you have central air, your pet should be set. If not, set up a room in the house that you keep cooler for your pets, either with air conditioning or other methods like a cooler bed.
  • Watch for heat stroke. Take steps to prevent heat stroke because it can quickly become fatal. Get in contact with your vet if your animal is pale, panting rapidly, staring, refusing to obey commands, vomiting and has cold and clammy skin, appears weak and has a high fever.

If you’re ever in doubt about your pet being in danger from the heat, error on the side of caution. Help your pet cool down and get in contact with your vet or an emergency vet for advice.

Kathy Mordini is a freelance writer that covers the Chicago animal rescue community and pet trends. She blogs for ‘Tails Media Group‘ and ‘ChicagoNow.’  Reach her via email at and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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