What to Do for Dogs to Help Them Handle the Heat?

Dogs enjoy summer fun, but they can quickly overheat.
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Summertime can be a fun time. The living is easy, the food’s on the grill and the pool is cool. Dogs enjoy the summer as well. With more pet-friendly festivals and outdoor events taking place, many dogs get to spend extra time with their owners. But dogs can overheat quickly, so always be prepared to keep them cool.

Water and Shade

Whether your dog is in the backyard or at the park with you, make sure you have plenty of fresh, cold water on hand. Adding ice cubes to the water helps to keep it colder longer and makes it more refreshing to drink. If you’re at an outdoor event, pick a nice spot in the shade to sit, and never leave your dog alone outside for long periods. A cooling bed designed for dogs can help keep your furry pal comfortable.

Pools and Exercise

Dogs need plenty of exercise, but the heat makes exercise dangerous. Just like you might enjoy a cold splash in the pool, so do many dogs -- especially water breeds. A baby pool is a fun and inexpensive way to keep your dog exercised and cooled off at the same time. If your dog doesn’t like to play in water but enjoys his walks, always walk him early morning or evening, never in the midday heat.

Summer Hairdos

Although opinions do vary, shaving a thick-coated dog such as a Siberian husky isn’t believed to be the best idea. It's thought their coat acts as an insulator, not only for warmth but for coolness as well. Ask your vet his opinion, and also ask him what he thinks about cooling vests for dogs.

Heat Susceptible Breeds

Be especially cautious if your dog is a compressed face breed.
Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Dogs with compressed faces such as pugs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers are more susceptible to heatstroke than average. Panting helps a dog regulate his body temperature; the airways of facially compressed breeds are naturally compromised. In places with high humidity, these breeds are especially vulnerable to outdoor activities. Also, energetic breeds such as Labradors can rapidly run and play themselves into a heatstroke. If you suspect your dog is overheating, do what you can to cool him, and get him to a vet immediately.