Summer is great; it provides plenty of sunshine, blue skies, and short sleeve shirts. The heat feels so lovely after a long winter. It’s great to enjoy being outside again finally. Your dog, however, may not feel the same. Dogs hardly sweat, so they struggle to keep cool on scorching summer days.

You’ve probably seen your dog sprawled out on the floor, panting their little heart out and keeping cool. Remember that we only experience a fraction of the heat dogs feel. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to help your dog during the summer.  

Is It Okay to Leave My Dog in My Car During the Summer?

It is never okay to leave your dog in the car during the summer. Many parking lots are made of asphalt, more commonly referred to as “blacktop.” Black absorbs light, and even though we love the warmth of summer sun, this makes the parking lot get incredibly hot.

Even if you leave the air conditioning on, you must remember heat rises. This means the heat rises off the ground and into your car. It may be 80 degrees outside, but the interior temperature can rise to (or above) 100 degrees! Extended exposure to triple-digit temperatures can permanently harm your dog (if not kill them).

What Happens if I Leave My Dog in My Car During the Summer?

On an 80-degree day in an asphalt parking lot with your air conditioner running, your dog will overheat in 15 minutes. After 30 minutes (if your dog is still alive), your dog will have a seizure and suffer lifelong brain and organ damage.

Whatever you do, never leave your dog in your car. The best idea is to keep your dog in your air-conditioned apartment. If your dog can’t be left alone, ask a trusted friend or family member to watch them. If you’re going to take your dog shopping during the summer, you must bring a leash and shop or dine at dog-friendly establishments.

How Does Humidity Affect My Dog?

Dogs tolerate dry heat better than damp heat. If you live in a humid climate, you must be extra cautious of your dog’s activity. On hot, humid days, do not let them exercise during midday. If your dog likes to run and play, schedule their exercise during the coolest parts of the day. It would be wise to keep to low-intensity workouts. Instead of taking them on a 20-minute run, take them for one 15-minute walk in the morning and one in the evening.

Humidity significantly impairs a dog’s ability to breathe. Veterinary Medical Doctor Barry Kellogg explains, “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they cannot cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

Whatever you do, never leave your dog in your car. The best idea is to keep your dog in your air-conditioned apartment. If your dog can’t be left alone, ask a trusted friend or family member to watch them. If you’re going to take your dog shopping during the summer, you must bring a leash and shop or dine at dog-friendly establishments.

What Should I Do If My Dog is Hot to the Touch?

If your dog is hot to the touch, you must take their temperature. Your dog’s body temperature should never reach 104-degrees. Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and boxers, struggle to breathe. The heat and humidity only add to their challenge.

What Are Dehydration Symptoms?

There are several signs to look for to know if your dog is dehydrated, such as:

  • Sunken-in eyes with a drooping head
  • Dry mouth with thick saliva
  • Tight skin that is hot to the touch
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dark urine
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

Some signs of dehydration are also signs of heatstroke.

What Are Heat Stroke Symptoms?

There are numerous behaviors to look for to determine if your dog is suffering from heatstroke, including:

  • Extreme panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable thirst
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Extreme salivation
  • Vomit
  • Red or purple tongue
  • Seizing
  • Passing out.

What Do I Do If My Dog is Having a Heat Stroke?

Immediately move your dog into an air-conditioned building or shade. Ice packs can be placed on your dog’s head, neck, and chest to lower their body temperature. If you don’t have ice packs, wrap ice in towels. Never place ice directly on your dog (or human skin, for that matter).

Dripping cool water over them will also help lower their body temperature. Coldwater will shock their system and will only make the situation worse. Let your dog drink water but observe their intake. Licking ice cubes is also an effective way to lower your dog’s body temperature. When your dog is stable enough for transport, take them directly to their primary veterinarian.

When Should My Dog Stay Inside During the Summer?

Pet owners must pay attention to the temperature, UV index, and humidity. The hottest time of day is usually late afternoon and early evening, about three to five. The sun is highest in the sky from noon to two in the afternoon (hence the term “high noon”). On hot, humid days with a high UV index, do not let your dog exercise between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Expend your active dog’s energy in the early morning or late evening. If it is dangerously hot out, exercise must wait until after dark. Asphalt and concrete will burn your dog’s paws like walking over hot embers barefoot; ensure they have grass to walk on.

Touch the pavement with your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Dogs with white ears and fur have an increased risk of melanoma. Apply sunscreen to your dog to lower their risk.

What’s the Fastest Way to Cool Down A Dog?

The fastest way to cool a dog down is with a tub or baby pool filled with water. Do not add ice cubes as it will shock their system. The room temperature or cool water will constrict their blood flow and help cool them off.

Dogs do sweat, believe it or not. Dogs sweat through their paws, so placing them in a baby pool is the best way to cool their sweaty feet.

Is A Doghouse Sufficient Shade During the Summer?

No, a doghouse is too small to cool down your dog adequately. A doghouse can be the reason your dog overheats. Dogs need large open spaces allowing air to circulate and a surplus of shade to cool down. Find a spot under a tree or make shade with a tarp or large umbrella. This will let your dog cool off in the fresh, open air.

What Should I Feed an Overheating Dog?

Give your dog a cool or cold treat. Peanut butter placed in the refrigerator and scooped with a spoon or stuffed in a bone is a great place to start. Wet dog food or frozen dog treats also work well. Some treats are messier than others, so use your judgment on which treats can be enjoyed inside and which ones must be taken outside.

Add these tools to your box to ensure your dog has a safe summer. When you implement preventative measures, you won’t have to worry about reacting to dehydration, overheating, or heatstroke warning signs. The best way to help your dog during the summer is to keep them cool and safe from the sun, humidity, and UV index.