How to keep your dog cool in the heat

Did you know that dogs sweat badly? They cool down mainly by panting. Here are more facts and tips to help your dog weather the heat.

Dangerously high temperatures have been recorded in the United States for much of the summer, with some areas reaching temperatures near or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Millions of Americans sought comfort by staying in the shade or in air-conditioned homes and offices, and cooled off in fountains, on beaches, or in cooling centers.

As people find unique ways to keep cool, a surge in Google searches showed people are also wondering how to keep their dogs cool in the summer.

The VERIFY team went to experts to find out if some claims about dogs in heat are true.



1. These are the signs to look out for if your dog is suffering from heat or dehydration

A dog can overheat and suffer from dehydration or heat stroke just like a human. These are some early warning signs if your dog is suffering from the heat.

signs of a dehydrated Dog include sunken eyes and dry mouth, gums and nose. Poor skin elasticity is another symptom of dehydration that you can test by gently pulling up on the skin on your dog’s neck, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF).

Overheated Dogs can suffer from heat stroke, heat exhaustion or sudden death, AKCCHF warns. Panting followed by disorientation and rapid, noisy breathing can indicate overheating. Other possible signs: collapsing or cramping, bright red or blue gums, vomiting, and diarrhea.

According to the UK-based The Kennel Club, one of the largest dog welfare organizations in the world, one in seven dogs brought to the vet for heat stroke dies, but 98% of those treated early survive.

sign of heatstroke in dogs include:

  • heavy wheezing
  • lethargy
  • confusion or loss of coordination
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • tremors or weakness
  • seizures

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

2. Giving dogs ice cubes is a useful way to keep them cool on hot days

A copypasta meme recently circulated on Facebook claiming to be from a veterinarian who suffered the loss of a dog to heat stroke. Copypasta is internet slang for a block of text that is repeatedly copied and pasted.

The meme said, “Please don’t give your dogs ice cubes or other frozen items in the heat to cool them off!” Ice cubes don’t cool dogs down!”

The post claims that administering ice cubes causes dogs to heat up because it tricks the brain into believing they are cold. But the Kennel Club says that’s not true.

Giving dogs ice cubes, cold water, or frozen treats is a useful way to help dogs stay cool on hot days, says The Kennel Club.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), a registry for purebred dog breeds in the United States, says it’s best to fill ice cube trays halfway and then add another treat.

“Once frozen, place a small treat like a blueberry or piece of freeze-dried liver in the center of the cube, then fill the rest of the bowl with the remaining liquid. Once the entire cube is frozen, there’s a tasty surprise waiting inside as your dog licks or chews the ice,” says AKC.

Ice cubes could pose a choking hazard for some dogs, says MetLife Pet Insurance Company, so it’s best to supervise your dog when eating.

Here is a list of homemade frozen dog treat recipes.

3. Hot patch can hurt your dog’s feet

Ed Faulkner, DVM, general practitioner at Weddington Animal Hospital in North Carolina, told VERIFY it’s important for pet owners to pay attention to heat index when preparing to walk their dog.

“The first thing I always recommend is to pay attention to the upcoming weather. When they talk tomorrow it will be 95 degrees, don’t let your dog out in the middle of the day. It’s exactly what you would do for yourself — early morning activities when it’s still in your 70s for your walk, and then late evening activities once it gets a little cooler,” Faulkner said.

“On a 100 degree heat index day, this pad can hit 160 to 170 degrees and ulcerate your pads and lead to more heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So get it right early in the morning and really late at night,” he said.

The Shallowford Animal Hospital, based in Lewisville, North Carolina, says, “Think about it when asphalt and cement can get hot enough to boil an egg in the summer, or when it feels way too hot to put your hands on Leaving it comfortably on the ground for at least 10 seconds can cause nasty burns to your dog’s paw pads. This is especially true if you have a new puppy with tender, young paws.”

Here are some tips to protect puppy paws:

  • Walk your dog when it’s cool. It also helps strengthen your dog’s paws.
  • Stay on the grass
  • Wet your dog’s paws with paw wax to prevent injuries such as cuts, tears, or peeling
  • Invest in some dog shoes, peel and stick paw pads or dog socks to protect against possible burns and injuries

4. Dogs sweat through their paws, but that’s not their primary way of cooling off

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have two types of sweat glands: the merocrine glands and the apocrine glands. The merocrine glands work similarly to human sweat glands and are located in the pads of the paws. The apocrine glands are located throughout the body and their main purpose is to release pheromones.

Most dogs are covered in fur, so if their main sweat glands were on their body, the sweat wouldn’t evaporate – and cooling occurs when the sweat evaporates. Therefore, it is much more efficient for dogs to have sweat glands in their paw pads where there is little fur,” says the AKC.

However, the main way a dog controls its temperature isn’t through its sweaty paws. It’s through gasping. When dogs pant, moisture evaporates from their tongues, nasal passages, and the linings of their lungs, cooling them as air flows over the moist tissues.

“Dogs are really inefficient at sweating, it’s not their place to cool down,” Faulkner told VERIFY. “If you [a person] When you go outside you immediately start sweating, you start panting. You cool down with this breathing operation.”

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so you can understand what is true and what is false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text notifications and YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn more “

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