This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.
Dogs don’t have sweat glands like humans do, but do dogs sweat? Yes! They sweat through their foot pads but generally use their hair coat and panting to stay cool. This makes dogs susceptible to overheating and even heat stroke. As temperatures rise, here are five ways to keep your dog cool and protect them from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Keep your pup hydrated. Provide your dog with an abundance of cool water. If your dog isn’t an enthusiastic consumer of water, consider adding water to their food or flavoring their water with chicken broth (avoid onions). Ideally, your dog should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight everyday. If your dog will be in the heat, I would recommend increasing this amount by 50%.
- Keep your pup in shape. Obesity can increase your dog’s risk of heat stroke while cardiovascular fitness can decrease the risk. Ideally, your dog should be walked or exercised everyday. If you plan on taking your dog on a long hike or outdoor activity, start by gradually extending your dog’s exercise before the event.
- Stay in the shade. The temperature in the shade can be drastically cooler. Whenever possible, allow your dog access to shade. This alone can be life saving.
- Be careful with certain breeds. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and dogs with flat faces (Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs) are more susceptible to heat stroke.
- Don’t leave your dog in a hot car. Unfortunately, thousands of dogs die every year from being left in hot cars. Dogs can become overheated in a matter of minutes. Venting the windows is often not enough in warmer climates. I don’t recommend dogs be left in cars when the outside temperature is above 60 degrees F.
How do you keep your pup cool? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!