The temperature’s rising, and your dog starts to shed his winter coat. It’s summer time, and the perfect time to get out and about to play with our canine friends. However, with the high temperature comes some risks of overheating, particularly for dogs that have a heavy-coat such as Malamutes and Huskies.
For dogs with thick coats, they can still partake in outdoor activities, but keep in mind that anything above 65 degrees Fahrenheit can be considered too warm for them. To keep them healthy and safe this Summer, follow these five tips.
Image by allisoncarmody
Watch Their Behavior
For starters, simply keep an eye on how they’re acting, because they’ll let you know if they’re too warm. Unlike humans, dogs only have sweat glands on their paws and noses, and they cool down by panting. If your pooch is panting harder than usual that might be one sign that they’re getting too hot.
Other indicators are searching for shade, and laying down during the middle of a walk. If either happen, give your dog a break in the shade so they have a chance to cool down before you head home.
Keep Their Outdoor Time Limited
On particularly hot days, only allow your dog outside to go to the bathroom, and that’s it. Forget about going on walks or at least keep the walks extremely short as it’ll be too easy for them to overheat. If you are bringing them with you anywhere, drive. Just don’t leave them in a parked car that isn’t on with air conditioning.
Switch Up Your Walk Routine
If you want to make sure your dog is still getting the exercise they need, despite the heat, change the time you usually walk. Instead of going out mid-day, for example, stick to the cooler hours, such as first thing in the morning or in the evening after the sun has set. And whatever you do, stick to walks rather than runs.
Another fun exercise activity, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon, would be to take them to a dog-friendly beach so they can go swimming in the water, or, at the very least, splash around in the surf. They’ll get some exercise while keeping cool in the water.
Keep Their Place Comfortable
While they are indoors, still take measures to make sure they’re staying cool. For example, if they sleep in a crate, put a fan in the room with them and remove any thick, heavy blankets. You can also take it a step further and get them a “cooling” bed. These beds, available at just about any pet store, can be filled with water, giving your pooch a cool place to rest.
Groom Your Dog
With their heavy fur coats, it’s more important than ever to keep your dogs groomed. Finding a pet wash is one way to do that. The pet wash can not only trim your dog’s long coat so their fur is a little less thick, but they can also shampoo and clean them, which will help with their shedding as well. At home, keep them groomed by regularly brushing their hair. While it may be tempting, never shave your heavy-coated dog. If their skin is exposed, it can cause more issues, like sunburn. Plus, while their coat is heavy, it does help regulate their temperature, both in the cold and heat.
Make Sure Your Dog Stays Hydrated
Since it is warmer outside and they are sweating more, albeit differently than humans do, offer more water to your canine friend in order to keep them hydrated. Another way to make sure they’re getting the water they need is to feed them ice cubes, which they may even see as a treat. Alternatively, freeze a bowl of water, that way it can melt over the course of the day into cold water (but if you do go this route, make sure to they’re getting enough water).
Heat can affect any dog, but it can particularly affect dogs with a whole bunch of fur. Since they can’t necessarily keep themselves cool all on their own, it’s up to you as a responsible pet owner to pay attention to how they’re acting and keep them as cool as possible.
Kayla Matthews is a pet-loving productivity blogger with a passion for animals and especially big dogs! To read more articles by Kayla you can follow her on Google+ and Twitter, or at ProductivityTheory.com.