As the summer heats up, you’re looking for ways to cool down, especially when you’re outdoors with your furry friend. While you can remove layers of clothing, your pet can’t take off their fur coat, and they may not let you know when they’re getting too hot. Active or working dogs who play and work hard often may not stop when they’re becoming overheated, so it’s up to you to force your pet to take a break from the heat. When working or playing outdoors, here are five cool ways to beat the heat with your pet.

#1: Avoid exercising your pet during the hottest time of day

Although you may think playing with your pet outside after you get home from work in the evening is cool enough, early evening can still be too hot for your furry pal’s comfort. Additionally, humidity levels can be much higher in the evening than in the early morning. To help prevent your pet from overheating, exercise outdoors early in the morning, when the temperature and humidity are typically the lowest.

#2: Choose water-based activities when outside with your pet

Splashing in water is a great way to stay cool when you and your pet are outside. Set up a sprinkler in the yard, or put a few inches of water in a wading pool for your pet to enjoy. They may need some help learning that playing in these items is refreshing, so encourage them with toys and treats. Never force them into the water. 

If you have a backyard swimming pool, keep a close eye on your pet to ensure they don’t dive in without supervision. Not all pets can swim, and your pet may panic during their first dip in the deep end. Keep your pet safe while swimming by making them wear a safety vest, and then swim alongside to support and encourage them. If you head to a pond, lake, or other water body, follow the same swimming rules. Also, keep plenty of fresh water on hand for drinking, so your pet won’t turn to chlorinated pool water or lake water that may contain pathogens.

#3: Provide plenty of fresh water, shade, and ventilation for your pet

Being outdoors in the heat and humidity with minimal shade and no breeze is an unpleasant situation. Keep your four-legged friend cool and comfortable by refreshing their water, providing shade, and checking the ventilation in their hang-out. If the area is sunny and the air is stagnant and still, take your pet indoors to prevent overheating.

#4: Check the pavement temperature before walking your pet

Although you likely have a set walking path when you and your pet stroll around the neighborhood, the pavement is probably too hot for their paws, especially if you head out during the afternoon or evening. Test the pavement first, by placing the back of your hand on the surface. If you can’t hold your hand there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your pet to walk on. Turn away from paved surfaces and seek out a dirt or grass path, ideally in shade, for your daily walk.

#5: Take action at the warning signs of heatstroke in your pet

Learn the heatstroke warning signs, and monitor your pet closely for overheating when outdoors. If you notice the following signs, bring your pet indoors immediately and cool them off:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Slowed response time
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse

Place a fan in front of your pet to cool them down. Next, place them in a cool-water bath, ensuring their head remains above water, because they may be too weak or lose consciousness if they’re overheated. Do not wrap your pet in wet towels, because this will trap the heat, and prevent evaporation. Also, avoid cooling your pet with ice or freezing-cold water, which will cause their blood vessels to constrict and shunt the heat to their body’s core, effectively raising their temperature. Once your pet’s temperature reaches 103 degrees, stop all cooling measures, because continuing can cause hypothermia. 

Any heat-related illness puts your pet in danger. If you suspect your pet is overheating, don’t delay. Contact our Animal Medical Hospital of Naples team immediately for help.