Summertime Tips to Keep Dogs Cool

PetSmart offers ways to prevent pets from overheating in hot weather.

Every summer we are reminded to take care of ourselves as well as our pets: Drink plenty of water; stay in the shade; avoid overexposure to the sun. But did you know that your pet can wear sunblock to prevent his skin from burning? Or that a well-groomed dog actually stays cooler in hot weather?

Here are some tips from PetSmart to keep pets -- and owners -- looking and feeling cool all summer.

  • The best way to keep a dog's coat healthy and provide protection from the heat is to have him or her groomed regularly. The cleaner the coat, the more insulation it provides from the heat (or cold). A deshedding tool can dramatically reduce shedding by removing the undercoat and loose hair without sacrificing a healthy top coat.
  • Like humans, dogs can become sunburned, and can even get skin cancer. To prevent sunburn, apply a sunscreen where hair is thin and skin lacks pigment (nose, ears and sensitive areas) every day your dog is outside.
  • Dehydration and heatstroke can be fatal to pets, so access to clean drinking water is critical in the summertime. While on the go, bring water for your pet in a suitable drinking container.
  • Dogs paw pads may seem tough, but sidewalks, pavement, and sand can get so hot in the summer that dogs feet can burn and blister. To prevent this, take your walks in the morning or evening, when sidewalks are cooler. Also consider buying protective booties designed just for dogs.
  • A grassy area in your yard is an ideal spot for Bailey to cool off. Grass releases moisture and keeps your pet cooler than concrete, dirt, or gravel.
  • A cooling bandana is a stylish and convenient way to keep your pet cool in the hot summer months. Soak the bandana and refrigerate or freeze before tying it loosely around your dogs neck. The wet bandana will help keep your pet cool for hours.
  • Just like humans, dogs benefit from eye protection, whether its from wind and debris or protection from UV light. Some sunglasses for dogs have pink lenses that provide 100 percent UV blocking protection and are shatterproof.
  • Even if you consider your dog a good swimmer, a life jacket is very important if you take him or her with you on the boat or trips to the beach. A lightweight, comfortable vest with a leash loop and a sturdy handle is good idea.

Posted: June 27, 2006, 5 a.m. EST


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