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9 ways to keep your dog cool during the heat wave


On Monday we brought you five ways to keep your indoor cat cool. Today, we’re going to the dogs. Help keep your dog safe and healthy during the heat wave with these tips:

Pugs like Daniel Robert are especially sensitive to hot weather.
  1. Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your dog may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP — the condition can cause permanent organ damage and death.

    Breeds with shorter noses (such as Pugs, Shi Tzus, Pekingese, Bulldogs and Boxers) as well as very young and senior dogs are especially vulnerable. Learn more about heatstroke in pets.

  2. Give your dog extra water. You will need to refill your dog’s water bowl more often than usual on very hot days.
  3. Offer your dog several ways to cool off. Leave a fan on in a place where your dog can sit in front of it, add some ice cubes to his water or offer him a cool treat. (A Kong that’s stuffed with wet food or peanut butter, then frozen, is cooling and a great way to keep your dog entertained.)
  4. Never leave your dog alone inside a car. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a car can heat up to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes on a warm day. And leaving the air conditioning on is no guarantee that your dog will be safe. Watch this PSA about pets in hot cars.
  5. Take your walks in the morning or evening. The intense heat of midday can overwhelm your dog during a walk. Exercise your dog during the cooler hours and, if your dog is in the sun for an extended period of time, apply doggie sunscreen. Learn more about sunscreen for pets.
  6. Don’t leave your dog outside for more than a few minutes. Even in the shade, a dog exposed to extreme heat and humidity is at risk for heatstroke.
  7. Avoid hot sidewalks. Your dog’s paws can easily become burned on hot surfaces, including pavement, blacktop and sand.
  8. Brush your dog regularly. A clean, untangled coat can help ward off summer skin problems and help your dog stay cool. If you want to give your dog a haircut, and your vet thinks it will help him cope with the heat, keep his fur at least one inch long to protect him from the sun. (Shaving down to the skin is not recommended.)
  9. Be alert for coolant leaking from your vehicle. Dogs are attracted to the sweet taste of coolant, and just a small amount can make your dog sick — or even cause death. If you believe your dog may have ingested coolant, take him to the vet right away.

To learn more about keeping your dog healthy and comfortable during these hot months, check out our Summer Pet Safety section.

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