A few weeks ago I shared a few tips for keeping your dog’s paws safe during the hot summer months. You can read more about that HERE.
Today, I want to share a surprising discovery I made last year about how our canines cool themselves.
But first, let’s take a look at two other vital doggy cooling tips…
#3 Did you know their skin is like a scuba suit? This means that they do not benefit from evaporative cooling. So… wetting them does not have the same evaporative cooling effect, as it does on humans. It just feels like a blanket. Cool water can momentarily reduce body temperature and give relief, but the moment they are out of the water and in the hot environment the cooling ceases.
#2 If you’re clipping your pet to keep them cool, be sure to check with your vet first. Dogs need a degree of insulation from their coat for their bodies to properly cool, and trimming their fur shorter than an inch can cause their skin to bake causing overheating and sunburns.
And drum roll please… my surprising doggie cooling discovery?
#1 Shade is only helpful if the temperature is WELL below their body temperature. In many parts of the world the shade (or even night time temps) can well exceed 100 degrees during the summer months. The problem with that is that dogs CANNOT cool themselves if the temperature is greater than their body temperature.
A dog’s temperature range is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 38 Celsius). The closer the temperature is too 100 degrees, the less effective their panting and paw breathing is.
A solid rule of thumb is: if it’s 90 degrees or warmer leave your dog inside where it’s cool.
Remember, any temps over mid 80s will produce a ground too hot to walk on. Even if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by grass that stays cool, don’t be tempted to take your pup outside once it hits 90 degrees. Period.
Exercising and playing with your pup in these temperatures can damage your dogs, heart, nervous system and even kill them in minutes.
Don’t take a chance!
If you want more specifics about how to avoid, identify and treat overheating be sure to read Dead in Minutes: Dogs and Heatstroke. It is a very insightful article on how to be safe during the summer months.
Simply put, when in doubt, don’t risk it. Leave your beloved furry friends in a safe and cool environment.
I hope you found this helpful and welcome your input and experience.
In the meantime, I am in your (and your doggy’s) corner.