Regardless of the time of year, it’s essential that you moderate the temperature in your home. If your dog overheats, it can lead to considerable health concerns – especially if you’re not around to react quickly.
The ideal temperature for a dog in the home is 75-78O. Aim toward the lower end of the spectrum if you have a longhaired breed, and higher if your pet is older or a shorthaired dog.
This article will discuss how to ensure that your dog maintains a comfortable temperature in your home, and how to keep them from growing too hot and dehydrated.
How Hot is Too Hot for a Dog in the House?
As we have explained above, anything above 78O would be a little too hot for a dog to remain comfortable when inside. If you are running a temperature any higher than this, you will need to either cool the home down or find an external method of reducing your pet’s body heat.
If you are not going to be home during the day when your home is liable to reach soaring temperatures, you will need to be proactive about keeping your canine cool. The best way of doing this is to ensure that is at least one room in the home is running a lower temperature.
That means doing the following:
- Closing the drapes.
- Moving a supply of fresh water into the room, and ensuring the bowl cannot be knocked over.
- Keeping a window open, assuming that it’s safe and secure to do so.
- Leaving a fan running if you do not have air conditioning.
Just because the temperature appears to be comfortable outside doesn’t mean that it will be inside too – especially in humid conditions. Dogs are clever creatures, but they are not always brilliant at knowing when and how to cool themselves off so you may need to intervene.
How Do I Know if My Dog is Too Hot?
There are many warning signs that your dog is about to overheat, and it’s essential that you pay attention to them. Hyperthermia is a severe problem for dogs and can be just as dangerous to your pet as allowing their body temperature to drop too long.
According to PetMD, your dog is unlikely to suffer from heat stroke until their body temperature reaches three figures. However, this is the apocalypse scenario and one that will result in your pet requiring immediate medical attention. It’s essential to spot the signs of overheating that precede this diagnosis and take the necessary action to cool your dog off.
Some of the warning signs to look out for when it comes to a dog’s body temperature include:
- Excessive panting and drooling
- Struggling for breath
- Seizures and tremors in your dog’s muscles
- Irregular heart rate (either skipping a beat or thumping faster than usual)
- Unsteady gait, as though your dog is drunk
- Struggling to pee
- Blood in the stool
- Fainting spells
Remember, if you have suspicions that your dog has overheated then follow our instructions on how to help a dehydrated dog – and get them to a vet as quickly as possible. There is nothing to gain by taking a wait-and-see approach here, as your dog may need an urgent replacement of fluids to stay alive. However, prevention is always better than cure. Take care to follow the advice found elsewhere in this guide to keep your dog’s temperature at a more neutral level and reduce the risk of needing to take urgent action.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in a Hot Apartment
If you live in an upper-floor apartment, it’s more important than ever to take steps to keep your dog cool. Not only will this presumably mean that won’t have access to a backyard, but the laws of physics dictate that heat rises.
Your pet is more likely than ever to struggle with their body temperature in such a scenario.
Here are some tips that you could incorporate into your dog’s routine:
- Pop ice cubes into their water. While ice isn’t always advisable, it will undoubtedly help your dog regulate their body temperature – and as the ice cubes slowly melt, they’ll keep the water chilled.
- Fill a hot water bottle with ice-cold water. The insulating material of the hot water bottle will offer a layer of protection to your dog, and if it’s placed on their belly, it will get straight to the source of the heat.
- Get a cooling mat. Cooling mats are great inventions for any dog. Your pet can lie on the mat, and it will automatically drop their temperature by around 7O for roughly three hours. There’s no need to charge or refrigerate the mat either.
- Frozen treats. Freeze some wet food and place it in your dog’s Kong. Freeze their favorite plastic toys. Freeze up some gravy in an ice cube tray of your dog has a savory palate. All of these techniques can keep your dog cool!
- Regular grooming. If your dog has thick and shaggy fur, the poor thing will likely feel like it’s wearing a heavy winter coat throughout the summer. Get them to the groomers for a trim.
Remember, if you are not going to be at home to keep an eye on your dog, you’ll need to be particularly vigilant about keeping the apartment (or house) chilled. Have somebody check in on your dog if you are worried about the running temperature of your home, and be sure to follow these tips to keep your pet as comfortable and safe as possible.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool at Night
In theory, your dog’s body temperature will drop when the sun goes down – after all, this is when the air outside becomes a little cooler. However, this is also the time that we may consider turning up our central heating, so it pays to ensure that your dog has somewhere to scurry off to and cool off if need be.
This could take the shape of a room with a canine bed or blanket with no radiator or other heat sources that your pet can spend a little time in when they cool off, or the use of a small portable fan. Something low to the ground that will keep your dog cool, but not lead to a draught that will leave you shivering.
Also, manage any access to blankets and hot water bottles. Your dog will crawl onto these comforting items by default, but may soon find themselves overheating and panting as a result.
Sleeping Arrangements to Keep a Dog Cool
There are pros and cons to sleeping with your dog, and ultimately it will be up to you and your pet. In many respects, however, both you and your dog may be more comfortable if you decide not to sleep together if either of you is prone to overheating.
Humans kick out a great deal of body heat, as do canines. This could be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties, with your dog acting as a living teddy bear and hot water bottle in one, or it could lead to one or both of you struggling to maintain a comfortable temperature. If you do all sleep together, ensure that your dog has a clear path to move elsewhere should he or she want to, and cool, fresh drinking water nearby.
Likewise, if you have more than one dog in your family, try to discourage them from sleeping together. This may feel a little mean at first, and your pets may resist. After all, dogs are pack animals and instinctively look to bundle up when vulnerable, such as sleeping. However, two or more canine bodies nearby mean two or more sets of body heat, and if a dog is sleeping, they may not realize that their temperature is rising to dangerous levels.
Separate beds or cushions is better and safer for all concerned – and once they realize how much quality sleep they are getting since you moved things around, your dogs will start to agree!
How to Keep a Dog Cool in a Kennel
Spoiling your dog with an outdoor kennel is a great way to give them somewhere to go to escape the indoor heat when it starts to become oppressive. However, dogs may not realize that their kennel is just as dangerous to them if they are not careful, and you will need to take certain precautions.
Things to take into consideration when allowing your dog to relax in an outdoor kennel include:
- The temperature of the ground. If the sun is beating down outside, it will bounce from the ground and warm your dog’s belly. Place the kennel away from concrete and onto grass wherever possible.
- Access to water. Make sure that your dog’s kennel also plays host to a constant supply of fresh drinking water.
- Apply windows. A kennel provides an excellent den for your dog to hide and relax in, but they’ll still enjoy a little sunlight for Vitamin D. Applying a window will allow your dog to enjoy small, controlled bursts of natural light while remaining cool.
- Apply a cooling mat is necessary. Cooling mats are designed for indoor use rather than outside and thus will not be effective outside of room temperature, but they could still be useful in a kennel alongside other materials.
- Allow plenty of space. Much like with sleeping arrangements, your dog will need their own space in a kennel so they can stay cool. Make sure the kennel has enough room for each dog to stretch out and be alone if necessary.
A well-constructed kennel can be a great way for a dog to keep cool in summer months, escaping any heat from inside the house without being exposed to the sun’s occasionally cruel and unrelenting rays. Just make sure that you supervise and keep on your dog throughout their time outside, stepping in to cool them off as soon as such action may be required.
How Hot is Too Hot for a Dog in the Car?
Dogs and cars make for a strange combination – and sometimes a dangerous one. On the one hand, it’s always a gleeful sight to watch a dog in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, mainly because it’s so incongruent to what we’re expecting. The giant grin that spreads over Fido’s face in such a scenario as he gets to take in every smell under the sun adds to the enjoyment too.
However, few things make a dog lover’s blood boil more than the sight of a canine trapped in a stationary car, windows tightly closed. It’s hardly a secret that this is extremely dangerous, so it’s baffling why so many owners appear to consider it to be acceptable behavior.
If you’re going to need to leave your dog in the car while running errands, there is a simple solution – leave them at home instead, or with a pet sitter if they cannot be left alone. If you must bring your dog with you on the road, don’t leave them in the car.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only going to be away for a minute. Even something as simple as paying for gas can end up taking considerably longer than you anticipate.
As PETA explains, a summer’s day where the temperature outside reaches 78O outside can quickly become a triple-figure temperature in a car with no windows open after just a few minutes. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose by taking any chances with your pet’s health. If your dog is in the car on anything resembling a warm day, they need the windows down – no exceptions.
Should I Wet My Dog When it’s Hot?
Yes, getting your dog wet is an excellent way of quickly reducing their body temperature. However, the way you approach this dunking depends upon the personality of your particular canine, and how they feel about water.
If you are lucky enough to live close to a natural water resource such as a river or lake, the water within is calm, and clean and your dog loves to swim (something of a holy trinity for many pooch parents!), you have everything you need to cool your dog off. Allow Fido to go for a dip, and he stops panting in no time, as well as having a great time and getting some exercise at the same time.
2) Garden Hose
If your dog is like keen on swimming but still enjoys playing in the water, you could consider turning the garden hose on them in your backyard. Just be careful with the water pressure, as you want this is to fun for your pet, not to feel like a punishment.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on your pooch while they frolic through the water, and make sure that they are not swallowing substantial amounts of H2O. If your dog does start guzzling water at high velocity straight from the hose, there is a very real risk of flooding their lungs – which can be extremely serious, and potentially fatal.
3) Cool Water Bath
Finally, there is the dreaded B-word. Sure, most dogs hate baths, but you could take a slightly different tack in this situation! Firstly, there is no need to use any shampoo, which is often something that drives your pooch up the wall; whether it’s the smell or the sensation of the soap against their skin, many canines will resist the need to be cleaned up when the bottle of shampoo is first squeezed. Also, many dogs have a problem with having water splashed in their face – which can again be avoided in this scenario.
If you’re looking to cool your dog off in the tub, run a bath with cool water. Not ice cold, as that will be painful for your pet, but equally, there is no need to run the usual warm water that you would use for a shower.
Next, encourage your dog to lie in this water in this water for a few minutes. The heat will be quickly transferred from your dog’s body to the water through their belly and their paws, and leave them considerably more comfortable – and less likely to overheat. Provided your pet doesn’t make a bolt for it and leave a trail of damp paw prints in their wake, you’ll have a hydrated dog on your hands.
4) Soak a Towel in Cold Water
You could try filling a bath with cold water (potentially adding some ice cubes) and dunking a towel in it, before wrapping this cool cloth around your dog. They may not like this at all and refuse to let you do it for long – many dogs don’t like being cocooned and wrapped up – but if your pooch will tolerate it this could be a way to cool them off quickly and effectively.
5) Rub a Cool Washcloth
Finally, if your dog will refuse to place on paw in the bathtub, you could try rubbing their belly down with a cool, cold washcloth. It may not be as impactful as a bath, and it will take quite a while to have the desired effect, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Once you have managed to get your dog cool with the help of water, consider applying a little oil to your dog’s skin to lock in that moisture; this will help your pet stay cool. Coconut oil will be the most impactful option here, and will also have all kinds of positive impact upon your dog’s skin and fur coat. Offer them a little to eat directly from your palm as a treat too, as this may make your dog more agreeable to the idea of a wash in the future.
Keeping your dog cool when they’re in the home is just as important as when you’re out for a walk, and the temperature of your house or apartment should never be ignored.
Be vigilant about watching your pet, especially during the summer months (though watch your use of central heating in the winter too!), and if they show any sign of struggling with their body heat, take the necessary action to cool them down. Follow the advice laid out in this guide, however, and everybody in your home will be perfectly comfortable.