An animal communication client asked: Any tips on how to help extra furry dogs stay cool in this heat?? That’s a great question! Living with pugs most of my adult life, I do have some tricks up my sleeve. While a pug is not ”extra furry” like a Husky or Australian Shepard, they do have delicate respiratory systems which can become very quickly compromised in heat and humidity.
Here are some tips:
- Of course, first and foremost, limit your dog’s intense activity during the hottest part of the day. Easier said than done for some very active pooches, I know. But consider a good long walk in the early morning hours to give your companion their required daily exercise while the day is still cool. This will tire them out so they’ll rest during the hotter part of the day.
- Allow access to cooler parts of the house during hot days. Put a dog bed and fresh water in your basement or an interior and/or dark room for your pooch while you are away.
- Check your dog’s water regularly and keep it fresh and plentiful. I drop a few ice cubes in the water bowl through the day to keep it nice and cool. There are gadgets to allow on-demand access to fresh, cold water directly from an outdoor faucet. I’ve not tried or seen these myself, but for some breeds this may be a great solution for regular fresh-water intake. My less high-tech solution is to put a chunk of ice in the outdoor water dish which melts over a few hours, keeping the water cool for a good part of the day.
- Many friends and clients have set up a baby pool – one of those plastic models with 8-10 inch sides – for their dogs to walk through and lay in. Keep the water fresh in case your dog decides to drink instead of swim, and don’t allow your pets to have access to a water-filled pool without adult supervision!
- I set up a floor fan to blow air into the inside portion (a fenced area of my garage) of the dog run when I’m away. The fan is *outside* the gate so there can be no accidents with tails, paws, or tongues wanting to explore. While this is recycled warm air, it does provide cooling from the breeze, and adds an additional benefit of white-noise should I be away when a thunderstorm begins. The fan is positioned to blow on only one side of the containment and the other side remains breeze-free. I’m big on choices for my beloved companions! On particularly hot days, I set a bowl of water in front of the fan for more cooling.
- Some families I know give their furry dogs a haircut in May or June, which grows out through the summer in time for the colder weather. Your dog may not look like himself for a couple of months, but it certainly does help with the heat. Remember though, if you give a short or buzz cut, protect them with sunscreen for the first couple of weeks!
- There are products which seem to do a nice job of keeping dogs cool without getting them wet. Check your local pet store and/or animal supply catalogs for cool mats, rugs, vests, and collars (one version of a cool mat is shown above). My experience with a cool mat has been good, and a 20-minute soak in cold water keeps the mat cool (and dry!) to the touch for up to two days, then another dunk in cool water and we’re good to go for another couple of days. I’ve not tried the vest or collar but the concept is similar and may be the perfect solution for some dogs. Some dogs have expressed in our animal communication session that they prefer or *need* the cooling to come from their belly area. Other dogs hold their heat in their neck area. Choose the style that works best for your furry companion. The material in the mat, vest, etc. may be toxic so choose your style and brand wisely if your pet is a chewer.
These are my tips. If you have tips which keep your extra furry dog cooler on hot summer days, leave a comment!