Cooling down your dog

How to cool down your dog in this hot weather using damp towels

  • Signs and symptoms of heatstroke and overheating dogs
  • How can you help to bring his temperature down?
  • Damp towels are very useful for instant cooling.

As we are currently in the middle of a heatwave and making the most of the sunny weather, it’s important for dog owners to spare a thought for how their much-loved pets are coping with the hot weather and how best to cool them down. The intense heat can be uncomfortable and intense for humans to deal with, even though we have a built-in cooling system. Your canine friend may not find it so bearable and could need you to help to cool him down.

If your dog is suffering from overheating or heatstroke, there are several signs you need to look out for. He will be unhappy in the heat and may suffer the following symptoms:

  • Panting heavily
  • Tongue lolling out of his mouth
  • The mouth may be tacky or dry with a build-up of mucus
  • Breathing heavily and being lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientated and stumbling around
  • Lifting their feet from the pavement if too hot for them to stand

Important points to remember during spells of extreme heat

Just like we do, dogs may lose their appetite during periods of intense heat. This isn’t usually anything to worry about unless you notice they eat a dramatically less amount of food or they vomit.

Light-coloured dogs will be more prone to sunburn, whereas darker-skinned and heavily furred dogs can absorb more heat from the sun and may suffer more.

Some breeds of dogs suffer more with the heat, including any with thick fur, and others, such as greyhounds, bulldogs and pugs. Remember that any dog can become overheated and suffer serious symptoms.

Dogs may become more irritated with the heat, so be careful around children who may prod them or annoy them.

How to provide relief from the heat

Dogs cool from ground level upwards, so spray his underbelly and paws with cool water, not just over the top of his body and head. It’s probably instinct to lay a cool, damp towel over the dog’s back, but it will give him more relief if it is placed on the ground and he is allowed to stand or lay on it.

Place the wet towel in a cool, shady place, on a surface that will remain cool, such as tiles, marble floor or concrete.

Take a damp towel and wipe it over your dog’s body. Also, wiping inside of his ears as the capillaries that line his ears can help to disperse excess heat. Make sure that no excess water enters his ears while doing this.

Pet cooling mats and coats for dogs

There are several types of cooling mats on the market; some you can fill with cold water; others that contain cooling gel that you place in the freezer to cool, and those that are pressure activated. They vary in price range depending on the size and capabilities. Not all dogs will take to using a cool mat so perhaps check out your purchase options and the customer reviews before you buy. Likewise, with dog cooling coats, as there are so many options, try to purchase one that will also cover his stomach and not just his back, to offer maximum cooling.

This warm, sunny weather is welcomed by us humans, but our pets don’t always enjoy it as much. As responsible dog owners, we must ensure we know how to keep our dogs cool in the summer heat.

Below are some other summer-related articles