Summer time is a blast for the whole family, but it's important to keep your dog cool as the weather warms up. Let's talk about how to help keep them comfortable while they enjoy the sunshine with us.
Did you know dogs sweat? They do! Just not like us.
Dogs only produce sweat on certain parts of their bodies, like their paws, and it doesn't provide an adequate way to cool down from the summer heat like it does in humans.
You can read more of the sciency stuff here.
So what do they do? Well, they pant. A lot!
According to the AKC's website here is how it works:
"When dogs pant they evaporate moisture from their tongues, nasal passages, and the lining of their lungs, cooling themselves as air passes over the moist tissue.
They also rely on vasodilation to help them cool off, which is the expansion of blood vessels, especially in their ears and face. When the blood vessels expand, they bring the hot blood closer to the surface of the skin, which allows it to cool down before returning to the heart and helps regulate an animal’s internal body temperature."
So, now that we know the basics, let's talk about steps you can take to ensure your pup stays safe during those warmer days.
1- Have cool water available for them, always. Heading out for a drive, hanging in the backyard, going camping and taking them along? Warm weather might feel great to you but for them it can get unmangable fast. Cool water keeps them hydrated and helps regulate their temperature throughout the day.
2- Hang out in the shade! Sunshine on our skin feels great, but the coat of a dog can retain warmth better than we can. That means it get hot real quick for them- timing varies by breed but always keep in mind dogs can get sunburned too! Always plan ahead and have a shady spot for them to relax in too.
3- Stay off asphalt whenever possible. Asphalt is usually black and retains a lot of heat. Did you know if the temperature in the air is around 70 degrees, the temperature on ground can be 50 degrees hotter! Thats 120+, yikes! If it's too hot to touch for 5 seconds, it's probably too hot for your pup.
4- Going hiking? Take lots and lots of breaks. Taking the time to cool down and regulate temperatures will keep your pup happy and at a lower risk of overheating. Sunny hikes are wonderful, but not worth risking your dog's health. Practice caution when you plan your trip. Head out early, and head in early. I promise you'll still have a blast together!
5- Wear cooling gear. Makers have vests with cooling insertable pads that lift heat from your dog's body and keep them feeling cooler longer. They come in all sizes and colors, we love Ruffwear vests for all occasions.
One of the best things I can recommend is outfitting your dog in the right gear. Cooling vests are an awesome accessory, but you can do things everyday to help prevent overheating in your pup. Here are a couple quick Hundenfolk approved action items:
-Give them a lightweight, adventure ready collar. The weight of a collar is a big deal for dogs. We make all our Adventure Collars to weight less than an ounce, and our water proof Waxed Canvas varieties to weight less than 2 ounces. Keeping the weight off of them helps ensure they don't get winded faster than they need too.
-Pick out the perfect bandana and dunk it in water. Yes, you read that right. Grab your favorite Hundenfolk bandana and submerge it in cool water. Tie it on your dogs neck as you normally would and turn the flag towards their back. The cool water on the bandana will help lift heat from their body quickly and the cotton fabric will bounce right back, looking new as ever. Promise! (We make square bandanas only and this is one of the major reasons why!)
Hoping you all have an amazing Summer! Fall is just around the corner.