It’s not just us humans who are affected by hot temperatures. Dogs also get hot under their fur. But how do dogs sweat? How much water should you drink a day? How do I recognize a heat stroke? And above all: How can I cool down my dog? We asked ourselves these questions and give you the ten best tips for cooling off on hot summer days.
Why do dogs pant?
Another question could also be: How do dogs sweat? Because panting plays a crucial role in thermoregulation. Unlike us humans, dogs do not sweat over the skin over large areas, but only have sweat glands in the ball skin of their paws. That’s why they cool off by panting over their noses and mouths. When inhaling and exhaling, air gets to the well-perfused nasal and oral mucous membranes, water evaporates and the evaporative cooling cools the dog. This keeps your body temperature stable.
So it is completely normal for dogs to pant more after physical exertion or over high heat. The normal breathing rate of 10 to 40 breaths per minute can even increase tenfold. However, excessive panting can also indicate stress or pain.
How much should dogs drink?
In order for thermoregulation to work in dogs, they must drink enough on hot days to balance their water balance. On average, a dog should consume 40 to 50 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight. At high outside temperatures, the need for liquid increases to 100 to 150 milliliters per kilo. If dogs are fed with wet food, part of the water requirement is met when eating. With dry feeding, dog owners should make sure that all needs are met daily with drinking water.
Practical tips to cool down dogs
We give 10 tips for hot summer days to cool your dog without straining the circulation.
- Provide sufficient water, even on the go
So that dogs can drink enough liquid on hot summer days, the drinking bowl at home should always be filled with fresh water. The dog should always be offered something to drink on the go. Foldable drinking bowls are suitable for this, which can be easily taken on any excursion.
- Don’t go for a walk at noon, rather in the morning and in the evening
Choose the times for walks wisely. On hot days, lazy walks with the dog should be moved to the morning and evening hours. Older animals and dogs with thick undercoats in particular suffer from the midday heat.
- Selection of the location for gas laps: Better to the lake
Instead of walking on fields or meadows, in summer it is advisable to go to the forest without direct sunlight or a lake. The animals feel much more comfortable in the water or in shady places. Long distances on asphalt roads should also be avoided, as the hot asphalt can cause burns to the paws.
- Avoid physical exertion
At high temperatures, strong physical exertion, such as cycling, extensive play with fellow species, and sports such as agility should be avoided. Because extensive exercise increases the body temperature of the dogs, which puts a heavy load on the cardiovascular system of the dogs in hot weather. In the worst case, heat stroke can result.
- A cooling mat, a wet T-shirt or a towel cools you down
On particularly hot days, dog owners can cool off their dog with a wet T-shirt or a dampened towel. It should be ensured that the t-shirt is not too tight to ensure air circulation. So-called cooling mats or a damp towel that is placed on the floor are better. Because here the dog can decide whether he wants to use this form of cooling.
- Never leave the dog in the car
Dogs should never be left alone in the car in summer as this can be a fatal trap. When the windows are closed, the interior of the car heats up very quickly, which can cause dogs to suffer heat stroke.
- Divide the feed into several servings
The daily ration of feed should be divided into several small portions in summer. This does not unnecessarily burden the dog’s digestion and circulation.
- Regular coat care: Brush daily
Dogs with dark fur in particular suffer from direct sunlight. In principle, all dogs should be brushed regularly so that more air can get to the skin. For some dog breeds, shortening the fur provides relief. Find out more about grooming dogs here.
- Offer cool retreats
After walking or staying in the garden, dogs should always be given a cool, shady retreat. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that the dogs can recover sufficiently after walks. Older dogs may need a break while walking.
- Know signs of heat stroke
Heat stroke is life-threatening for dogs. Signs of this are apathy, swaying walking, dark tongue, glazed eyes, fever, whitish mucous membranes and vomiting. In this case, the dog should be brought out of the sun to a cool place immediately and, for example, cooled with a damp cloth. Ice-cold water should not be used and the dog’s feet should be cooled. After the first aid measures, the animal should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.