How would you feel if you had to wear a fur coat all summer? You’d probably feel pretty miserable and be a prime target for heat exhaustion or worse. Well, imagine how your dog feels when they’re out and about in the summer sun and have a thick, heavy coat.
Providing access to fresh, cool water throughout the day and a shady place for your dog is essential. If your pup has a heavy coat, keep up with regular brushing and consider giving them a summer cut. You can also use products like a cooling bed, dog boots, and sunscreen to provide extra protection from the summer heat.
Of course, all dogs need proper protection from dangerous heat and too much sun. But when you have a pup with a heavy coat, you need to be even more aware of keeping them cool. Mainly, you’ll want to do a few extra things with their grooming routine you wouldn’t need to do with other pups.
Popular Heavy-Coated Dog Breeds
If your dog has a heavier coat, they’re likely also at an increased risk of heat stroke. Here are 15 popular dog breeds with heavy double coats or long coats.
- Chow Chow
- Golden Retriever
- Shih Tzu
- Lhasa Apso
- Rough Collie
- Australian Shepherd
- Afghan Hound
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Saint Bernard
If your dog isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about the heat. There are plenty of dogs out there with thick, heavy coats, including mixed breeds. Also, regardless of their fur, all dogs require extra care when spending time in excess heat.
Five Tips for Keeping Your Heavy-Coated Dog Cool
You don’t need to avoid fun summertime activities with your dog just because they sport a thick fur coat. But, it is important to take precautions so your pal stays happy and safe from the heat.
1. Consider Getting Your Dog a Summer Cut
You might assume shaving your dog is the best way to keep them cool in the summer, but it actually does the opposite. A dog’s coat is an insulator and protects your pup from sunburn and UV rays.
However, sometimes that heavier coat can make it more difficult for your dog to regulate their body temperature. So, a summer haircut can help your pup stay cooler in the warmer months. You should still leave at least one inch of fur, so a summer cut doesn’t mean a shave.
Unless you’re handy with the clippers, you might want to find a professional groomer. A pro can ensure your dog gets a proper summer haircut. The right cut will help your pup stay cool and still provide protection from the elements.
2. Change Your Walk Schedule
Pay attention to the weather and adjust your walk schedule accordingly. Typically it’s hottest in the middle part of the day, so try to avoid grabbing the leash during this time. Adjust your walk routine slightly to take a stroll before things start to heat up, then not again until early evening.
3. Get Your Dog a Cool Bed
Give your best friend a place to cool down while they sleep with a cooling gel bed. Your dog will appreciate the extra cooling effect when they come in from spending some time outside too. You can find them in various sizes, so get one that fits your dog well so they’ll want to use it.
4. Brush Your Pup Regularly
Keeping your dog’s coat free from mats and tangles can help keep air circulating and cool your pup. If your dog has a thick, double coat, they’ll shed their undercoat in the summer.
So, brushing regularly not only helps stay on top of the shedding, but it can help keep your dog’s cooling system working efficiently. Getting rid of all that extra fluff keeps the air moving and your dog’s skin drier and healthier.
5. Create a Splash Zone for Your Dog
If your dog adores playing outside, the fun doesn’t need to end just because things heat up. Instead, create a splashtastic water play area for your pup. Some suggestions are a kiddie pool with shallow water, a sprinkler, and even having your pup chase water from the garden hose.
Always make sure to supervise your dog when they’re playing in the water. Place a large water dish nearby so your dog can grab a drink whenever they’re thirsty.
Summer Safety for Dogs
No matter what kind of fur coat your dog flaunts, it’s easy for the summer heat to take its toll on any breed. Therefore, when the temps start to rise, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Keep your dog inside during the hottest parts of the day. Save outdoor exercise and play sessions for early morning or evening hours.
- Always ensure they have access to cool, fresh water. Try a freezer bowl to keep water cold for hours.
- Make sure your dog has a shady spot to retreat to when they are outside.
- If you have a pool, make sure your dog can’t get into it without supervision. A hot, thirsty dog will seek water and relief wherever they can find it.
- Familiarize yourself with dog swimming safety if you plan to take your furry friend to the lake or pool.
- Don’t assume your canine companion doesn’t need sunscreen. Light-colored dogs are especially vulnerable to sunburn. Therefore, if you’ll be in the sun for an extended period, use a doggy-safe sunscreen.
- Do you like walking on burning hot pavement? Nope, neither does your pooch. Get some dog boots to protect your pup's paws if you’re taking your pal for walks and the ground feels hot.
- Protecting your dog from fleas, ticks, and other parasites is vital. But it can be even more critical when your pup’s outside more in the summer. Likewise, ensure your pal is up-to-date on all their vaccinations.
- Never leave your dog inside of a hot car. Even if you think it will be for a few seconds.
Stay Aware of the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Always stay vigilant when you’re with your dog in the heat. If you notice signs of heat exhaustion, stop all activity immediately and move your dog to a cool place.
Call your vet, give your dog some cool water if they want to drink, and use a cool towel around your pup’s paws and ears. You can also place a fan near your pup to help cool them down and keep air circulating.
Top warning signs of heat exhaustion in dogs:
- Excessive panting
- Bright red or blue gums
- Confusion or acting disoriented
- No longer wanting to participate in an activity
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Enjoy the Sun, But Keep It Cool
There’s no reason to shutter your windows and doors and avoid going outside in the summer. You can still enjoy some fun in the sun with your pooch and spoil them with a dog-friendly frosty treat.
Stay alert, watch your dog for any changes in behavior, and keep them cool. Check out our blog for more valuable tips on keeping your dog healthy and safe, and have a happy summer.