Sunday, August 16, 2009

How We Keep Our Dogs Cool On Hot Summer Days

Well, summer is finally here in the Hudson Valley. With all the early rains keeping the temperatures cool, I thought we might not see summer at all this year. Now it's here loud and clear. Oy. I sweat just thinking about it, or maybe it's our un-air-conditioned house that's making me sweat???

Anyway . . . time to dust off the list of important things to remember about keeping our dogs cool in the hot summer months. I've seen a lot of lists with good rules to follow -- this is my own homemade version of what we do to keep our own dogs cool:

1. Limit playtimes to cooler parts of the day and keep sessions short. On days like today, our dogs get a little romp in the morning, and nothing after that, unless it's a water activity. Swimming is always great exercise, but is especially good in the hot summer. On days where the temp is 90+ though, we are even pretty careful with them in water. Watch the tongue -- if it's getting enlarged or red, and especially if it starts to curl up on the edges, call it quits! Dogs can overheat even when swimming. Surprising but true . . . much depends on the temp of the water.

2. If your dog gets hot, the best way to cool her down, is to wet her underside with cool (not cold) water, focusing on the groin area and armpits. All too often I see people hosing down their dogs' backs -- this is not very effective at cooling, and with darker-colored dogs, can actually make them heat up more.

3. Think about investing in a cooling coat of some kind, especially if you know your dog will be out during the hot hours of the day. We keep the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler in stock at Hooked On Dogs at this time of year, so stop by to check it out if you think you might need one.

4. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

5. Don't leave your dog in the car. At most times of the year, dogs are okay in the car as long as your leave the windows partially rolled down, but at this time of year, it's too hot even for that. If you have to run errands in places where you can't take your dog in with you, leave her at home at this time of year.

Please share other thoughts and ideas in the comments section if you have them, and . . .

stay cool!



  1. At home, I like to have the fan on for Rosco, he usually lies in front of it to cool off. We also don't have an airconditioned house. Thanks for the tips.

  2. There used to be a place in NYC called Guru Snoball, maybe 10 years ago, that was a shaved ice stand and they had flavors for dogs (as well as for people of course). Coleman and I would wander over and each get something yummy. His favorite was chicken, mine was pomegranate. I think we went at least every other day when it was hot. When it closed down we replaced it with trips to the Mr. Softee truck but it was never as cool.

  3. Hanna - that's so cool that a shaved ice stand would offer flavors for dogs!

    My pups like to crunch up small ice cubes when they're hot. Bet they would love the shaved ice, especially with flavors just for them.