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Dogs regulate their own body temperature through a combination of drinking water and panting, as they do not sweat in the same way that people do, only passing small amounts of sweat via the pads of their paws. All dog owners know the important rules about never leaving a dog alone in a hot car, and ensuring that your pup stays hydrated and has ample chances to cool down in the summer weather or when exercising, but some dogs still need a little more help in the staying cool department than others!
Dogs that are brachycephalic, with a short muzzle and nasal passages like the Olde Tyme Bulldog and the Boxer, and also those that have very thick, heavy coats designed for cold weather like the Bernese mountain dog may need special care and attention paid to helping them to keep cool in hot weather or when they are very active. In this article, we will share five effective tips on how to do this, aside from keeping them calm and providing shade and water. Read on to learn more!
Getting good airflow moving around will help to lower the ambient temperature of the air and cool down the people and dogs in it, and this is particularly important on very dry, still days.
Opening two windows that are opposite each other is much more effective than just opening one or two that are side by side, as two windows or doors on opposite sides of the room or house will generate more air movement and a tunnel of fresh air through the middle.
Air at floor level is cooler than the air in the middle and top of the room too, so try to encourage your dog to lie on the floor, particularly on cool floors like lino or tiles.
Fans are of course excellent at creating airflow and lowering the temperature, and these can be used either within the home, or outside, and also in the car-although once more, please remember that this is only good for dogs on a journey with someone with them, and not sufficient to use with a dog left alone in the car.
You can also buy clip fans that will attach to the side of your dog’s crate, and solar fans that work without a battery!
Cooling vests for dogs are a relatively new product to come to the market, and at first glance, they look rather like doggy life jackets! These cooling vests come in a range of sizes to suit dogs large and small, and wrap around the chest and shoulders (areas where dogs get particularly hot) after being immersed in cool water, during which time the cooling beads inside of the vest absorb the water and help to keep it cooler for longer.
These vests work by cooling the temperature of the skin and the blood in the veins, which then lowers the temperature of the whole body. They are designed to stay cool for an hour or two at a time before they need to be replenished, and mimic the cooling process of human sweat.
Remember that once the vest has dried out and/or become warm that it must be removed, as otherwise all you will be doing is making the problem worse by making your dog wear an extra layer!
Most dog owners are aware of heat mats, which can be placed on the floor of the kennel and connected by a plug, to provide a pet-safe warming surface for your dog to sleep on when it is cold of they need a warm-up.
Cool mats serve to help your dog to cool down rather than warm up, and do not require mains power. They tend to contain a soft, flexible gel or packing of soft silicone beads, which can either be cooled manually in a fridge or filled with cool water before your dog lays on them, helping to cool them down. The added bonus of cool mats is that they will not make your dog even hotter once they have stopped cooling, which is one of the drawbacks of vests-also, your dog can choose to lie on the mat or not, as they wish.
The neck of the dog is rich in veins and arteries, all of which carry blood close to the surface of the skin. This means that paying attention to cooling this area of the body will help to cool the entire body, as the cooled blood in these veins and arteries then circulates around the entire body.
Absorbent bandanas or wraps can be soaked in cool water before being lightly wrapped around your dog’s neck to cool them off, and also have the benefit of being inexpensive to buy so that you can change them regularly as they warm up.
Also, as they are thin fabric rather than padded out with filling to hold water, they will not go a long way towards making your dog hot again if left on after use.
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