How to keep your pooch safe during the dog days of summer

Lowell Strauss

Hot dogs

With a fur coat and no ability to sweat, your dog needs some hot-weather help

Beating the heat outdoors during the peak of summer isn’t easy, especially for those who wear a permanent fur coat and can’t sweat. This summer, be sure to only exercise or train your four-legged friend in the morning or evening in order to avoid the hottest part of the day. Besides, dogs perform at their best when running a little cooler. Here are some more tips for keeping your pooch safe in the heat this summer.


Dogs lose water from breathing, salivating, urinating and defecating, so keeping them well hydrated and cool is the name of the game during the summer months. Carry extra water and a dog bowl in your vehicle, and always take both with you when you head afield. Don’t rely on natural water sources, because small waterholes can go dry and standing water can have toxic algae growth. If practical, bring some ice cubes in a cooler and pop them into the water bowl for extra cooling power. If you’re near a deep and clean water body, meanwhile, let your dog go for a swim before, during and after exercise; this will help keep his body temperature at a normal level. And keep in mind that dark-coloured dogs heat up faster and take longer to cool down than lighter coloured dogs.


If your dog’s body temperature reaches 39°C, he can begin to exhibit heat stress symptoms, such as excessive panting, a lack of focus and glazed eyes. If his body temperature rises over 41°C, life-threatening heat stroke can develop. In such cases, immediately stop whatever you’re doing and get the dog into some shade to cool it down. As well, pour or splash cool (not cold) water on his tongue, ears, neck, belly, back and groin. A breeze can also help accelerate the cooling process. As soon as possible, bring the dog to a vet for a check-up.

Lowell Strauss

Saskatchewan’s Lowell Strauss often writes about hunting dogs for Outdoor Canada. He's our top dog guy!

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