One quick look at the thermometer confirms that we’re heading into the dog days of summer. Temperatures that regularly top 100 degrees here mean that Irie and Tiki spend most of their days inside, enjoying the air-conditioning. On our day trips, though, we’re in and out of the heat. August temperatures can create life-threatening heat illness in dogs, just as in humans.
But there are ways to keep your dog cool and, at the same time, still enjoy these last days of summer:
Plan activities that involve swimming. We love hiking with Irie and Tiki–but when the temperatures get this hot, our plans change to day trips that involve swimming. Period.
Cool an outdoor spot for your dogs. If your dogs want or need to be outdoors, be sure to create a cool spot for them to enjoy. Hose off a porch or wet a shaded portion of the yard to provide a cool getaway. If you have an old cot or chaise lounge, those can be favorite outdoor hangouts as the woven fabric allows cooler air to circulate beneath your dog. Irie and Tiki each have a Coolaroo dog cot that gets them up off the ground to enjoy a summer breeze.
Make frozen treats. As you know, I love to create treats for our dogs. We’ve got a long list of frozen treat recipes here on DogTipper; they only take a few moments to put together and pop in your freezer. Frozen treats are an inexpensive way to pamper your pooch on sweltering days.
Get a kids’ pool. Inexpensive children’s pools are usually on sale late in the summer; these make a great dog swimming pool!
Create a cooling bandana. You’ll can purchase cooling bandanas or make your own. Bandanas, folded and sewn to hold non-toxic, water-absorbing polymer beads, are made to be soaked in water then tied around your dog’s neck for some cool relief. (You can find these beads where crafts supplies are sold.) If you have two dogs and one likes to chew the other’s bandana, though, skip the beads and just wet the bandana and refrigerate it before your next trip outdoors. Another cheap alternative is to tuck a few ice cubes in a bandana, fold it up, then tie it around your dog’s neck where it slowly melts and cools your canine.
Chill some towels. Ahh…we all love that cool towel on a hot day and so do our dogs. Wet an old towel or sheet then wring it out and pop it in your freezer. When it’s chilled (you don’t have to wait for it to freeze), spread it out as an optional place for your dog to lie. We also have a cooling mat; it’s great for use around the house. (We don’t take it on day trips; it can’t be left in a hot car.)
Groom. Matted dog hair holds heat! Keep your dog well groomed (we use a FURminator) during the heat with regular brushing. Along with brushing Tiki’s thick coat, I also trim off her feathers and clip the fur on her belly very short.
Get out and enjoy these dog days of summer…and stay cool at the same time!