Two key tips for keeping your dog cool this summer are plenty of drinking water and shade. Because dogs are not like us, they don’t sweat, it takes a lot more effort for dogs to live comfortably in the hot sun of the summer months.

Starting with a lot more care, you should also know if your dog is a breed that naturally manages the hot weather well. If they have thin or short coats and longer noses-like beagles, Chihuahuas, and Dalmations-hot days will be easier with less effort. However, many other breeds naturally have thicker, longer coats, and smudged faces have much more trouble in the heat. Some of these are bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers that are more sensitive to rising temperatures.

While many other dogs, like those with health issues, elderly, and obese, need more careful treatment in the heat, there are some helpful tips that can make those summer days more comfortable:

  • Stay inside
  • Watch when you go out
  • Provide a cool spot to lie down or water to play in
  • Work on their weight
  • Don’t shave your dog’s coat
  • Add ice cubes to the water dish
  • Replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food

It is also helpful to watch for heatstroke and dehydration in your dog, though the signs are not always easy to detect. Things like sunken eyes, lethargy, and dry mouth are pretty straightforward. If any of these seem clear, then it is a good time to check their temperature and make sure it is below 103°. Also, avoid cooling too rapidly to avoid shock. Allow access to cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. Your vet may push IV fluids if dehydration is a concern.