Summers bring along suntans and afternoon walks in the park, but consequently, they bring the scorching heat and dehydration as well. This is especially a concern for owners, more specifically dogs. So are you a dog owner wondering “how to keep my dogs cool in the summer?”
If that’s the case, then we’ve got you covered.
How to Care for Dogs with Heavy Coats in the Summer
If you’re a new dog owner, or even a moderately concerned one, you’re probably worried more about your dog’s health during the intense summer heat than your own. Pets tend to take that special place in our hearts without even trying, where all we can think about is their well-being.
Unlike us humans, our dogs are laden with layers of fur.
Even though this makes the soft doggy hugs a lovely experience, it can be an area of concern as well. Dog species like Huskies, Malamutes, German shepherds, and some Russian breeds are inherently furry creatures. These dogs may even have more than one coat on their body.
Imagine wearing your winter fur coat on a summer beach day. Traumatising right? This is exactly what dog owners feel when they look at the furry creatures during the summers.
Now even though these conditions are practically unbearable for us humans, nature has got dogs covered. This means your pets are conditioned to survive with all those coats, even in the summer. So, all we need to be concerned about as pet owners is the maintenance and facilitation of our furry pets.
Shedding is a natural way for your dog to adapt to higher temperatures. Most dogs let their undercoats go by the process of shedding. This is the case for canines having more than one coat.
Excessive hair all around your house might be frustrating, but understand it is natural and essential for your dog’s summer health. Instead of making a fuss out of the situation, try to aid in the shedding process.
Run a brush through your pet’s mane to speed up the shedding process and also to help ventilate its skin. This ventilation is essential to maintain the dry skin of the dog and to prevent parasite attacks.
The Benefits of a Summer Cut
Even though trimming your canine’s fur isn’t the best idea in most cases, certain conditions may demand an exception. In the following cases, you can trim your pup’s fluff:
- Fur has exceeded 1″ in length
- It is not double coated
- It is an outdoor animal
- Its fur is knotted or has a matte texture
- Is a water lover (often found in pools and lakes)
- Its coat is dark in color
- Has hot spots
Shaving: Should You?
Short hair might be the go-to option for us humans, but for dogs, they actually cause more harm than good.
Dogs have a completely different set of DNA from humans. Which means their cooling mechanisms also vary from ours. Each coat of a double-coated canine serves a different purpose. To beat the heat, they shed their bottom coats since this coat has the function of insulating it at low temperatures.
So what are the topcoats for? The dogs need this coat as a protection and ventilation device. The topcoat allows cool air to reach and circulate evenly all over the dog’s body. As for the protection, this is needed from many different hazards. One of these is cancer-causing UV radiation. This topcoat acts as a shield against not only these radiations but also insect bites, infections, etc.
Since the sweating mechanism of canines is completely unlike homo sapiens, we need to stop comparing them to us and focus on their own needs. Dogs don’t sweat from their whole body. Instead, it’s limited to just their nose and paws.
Their major cooling mechanism is through panting, so we should cater to this and make sure they stay hydrated rather than shaved.
If You Do Decide A Trim is in Order, Here Are a Few Tips
If you find that it is absolutely necessary to shave the fur of your pet, then keep these few tips in mind:
- Double-layered coats are not supposed to be shaved
- Take professional help. A home-based DIY hair trim is not worth the few bucks you’ll save if it harms your dog due to the sharp tools you use
- For single layered coats cutting is allowed but only to a certain limit. Don’t go shorter than 1″. This promotes uncomfortable ingrown hair and may even cause cancer. Not to forget, it makes your pet susceptible to sunburn
- Matted spots should be eradicated immediately. These are the number one cause of bacterial infections in pets. Not only these but other types of diseases are also bound to occur in these spots.
- Avoid trimming your dog’s fur unless it’s necessary. Try preventive measures such as combing and maintaining the hair to avoid the need for a haircut.
Which Dog Breeds Need a Summer Cut?
Just as dogs aren’t similar to humans, they also have varying characteristics amongst their own species. It’s not easy to put all pups in a single category when it comes to their grooming.
Different breeds have different requirements. They have varying amounts of hair on their body.
In addition to this, they may also have varying growing cycles.
Certain breeds are hypoallergenic breeds. This means their coat consists of fine and long hair. This type of hair is rigid. It does not shed very easily. So, it can be expected that these types of dogs won’t be shedding their undercoat easily. Examples of hypoallergenic breeds include poodles as well as doodles.
Other breeds coming from different habitats have hair that has adapted to that specific environment. These could include Siberian huskies or Bernese Mountain Dogs. These canines are used to the colder and more harsh winter environment and hence have coats adaptive to it.
Due to these variations, only certain breeds find trims useful, which include:
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Yorkshire Terriers
- St. Bernards
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
Cooling Techniques for Your Dog in the Summer
Here are a few methods of heat protection for dogs in summers.
Keep cold water available.
Dogs regulate body temperature through unique mechanisms. The focal point of these is their panting. They get ventilated as bouts of air regulates through their whole body during this action.
Other than this, the moisture on their tongue evaporates to produce an overall cooling effect. So you can make sure they don’t dehydrate during the act by constantly hydrating your pup with cold water.
If your dog likes water, let her swim.
Who doesn’t like a swim during the hot summer days? A good swim in ice-cold water and drinks is a great way to spend the hot days. This isn’t just the case with us humans. Our pets enjoy splashing around in water equally, if not more.
So what’s stopping you from taking your dog on a swimming spree? Plan a small picnic with your fluff ball at a place with a lake or a stream.
If you’re asking yourself, “how to keep my dogs cool in the summer?” This is a fun-filled way to do it.
Although you must be careful of your dog’s well-being, try to keep a close eye on your pet while they are in the water. An even better idea would be to use floating equipment.
Limit your time outdoors
If you find that you can’t make the extra effort to keep your dog cool in the summer, a good and convenient option is to not take them out during the more intense days.
This might be the easiest answer to the question “how to keep my dogs cool in the summer.”
Try to find indoor activities to keep your canine busy and utilize the excess energy they have. This should be strictly maintained for dogs whose natural habitats are cold areas. For example, huskies and malamutes have multiple coats and have Siberian origins, which means they are meant for cold environments.
So extra care must be taken to keep them indoors to ensure their health and overall safety from the heat.
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, ensure it has access to plenty of shade.
In any case, dogs are active creatures, especially breeds like golden retrievers, huskies, and german shepherds. These dogs have high levels of energy which can often not be excreted through indoor activities.
These canines are bound to demand outdoor activity time, even in the higher degrees. So the question “how to keep my dogs cool in the summer?” becomes more difficult to answer in this case.
The answer to this would be a compromise. Since you can’t hole your pet up in your house all summer, try to let them out only at specific times. These could include evenings when the sun isn’t on full throttle. Other options could be to only let them out in areas with maximum shade.
In any case, if you are letting your dog play outdoors, minimum interaction with the sunlight should be your main goal. Your second goal should be to provide a constant source of cold water whenever they need it.
Thirdly, try to limit the time they spend playing outside, if they usually spend 2 hours, reduce it to one.
This concludes all the ways to protect your canines from the harmful effects of high temperatures and the sun. Follow the guidelines mentioned above, and your pet will stay in healthy shape.
For further details on canine health and maintenance, seek a veterinarian’s consultation.