5 Tips on How to Get Through a Heatwave With Your Dog
1. Get up early
Yeah, I know. But seriously, you don’t want to sit around all day doing nothing (well maybe YOU do, but your dog would appreciate the opportunity to stretch his legs and do some nice sniffing without breaking into a pant. And you could use the exercise. Ask me how I know.) Go for a nice, chill morning walk in the shade. Keep it short. Bring water.
⚠️Walk on grass and in the shade whenever possible. Check the surface. If your hand can’t take it for more than 5 seconds, neither can your dog’s paws. And be careful about blue-green algea (cyanobacteria) that proliferate in lakes and slow-flowing streams when temperatures soar.
2. Provide ways to cool down from the outside
A kiddie pool filled with water is nice if you have the space. Rinsing your dog’s chest, armpits and belly with cool to lukewarm water can help a lot, too. If your dog isn’t enthused about water, don’t just make him take a shower. Give him the choice.
(I also made a video on how to start getting your dog used to enjoy playing with a water fountain, which you can watch here.)
If you don’t have tiled flooring, you can use a damp towel or a special cooling pad to provide a cooler place to lie down.
Special cooling vests can be nice, but an old t-shirt run under cold water and wrung out will do the trick pretty nicely by providing cooling through evaporation.
⚠️ Water intoxication and bloat are real and serious health risks. Don’t let your dog play in the pool/hose like a lunatic and swallow a bunch of water. Keep it short. Supervise – always.
3. Offer ways to cool down from the inside
Freezing filled Kongs or making pupsicles by freezing broth or yogurt in a large container with something yummy (fruit, meat, hot dog…) in the center can provide enrichment (counter boredom) and help your dog cool down.
⚠️ Use things your dog has to lick slowly. You don’t want to upset your dogs stomach by feeding ice cubes or let him chew on hard ice that could damage teeth (the same rules as for recreational bones apply: choose a size that’s too big to swallow or bite down on).
4. Make the fun last longer
It’s good to rest a lot when it’s very hot, but energetic dogs will want to DO STUFF. Use food to your advantage, and provide long-lasting food puzzles or enrichment activities instead of feeding from a bowl (also a nice thing to do when it isn’t hot).
Simply scattering food on the lawn in a shady spot in the evening or using snuffle mats and treat towels inside can burn off some mental energy without much physical activity.
5. Play with your dog!
Ok, so if you know me, you know this is actually number one. Put your tennis balls and tug toys away and teach some fun tricks, do some nose work search games, challenge your dog’s brain and experiment with some concept games.
Now is a good time to teach him to fetch that cold beverage from the fridge. 🍺🍸🍹
Stay cool and have fun playing!