Your dog called the team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital—which, you will probably be surprised to learn, is not uncommon. Once pets realize how well our team understands them, we become a regular pet telegram service.
This time, the call was to tell us how uncomfortable your dog can get during the warm summer months, and asking us to relay their suggestions for staying cool and safe. Your dog had such good ideas that we drafted their wish list, a Christmas in July, if you will. Here are your dog’s five suggestions for cool gifts.
#1: Your dog would like a big bowl of water
This may seem as basic as asking for socks for Christmas, but dogs dehydrate quickly in the summer heat. A constant, accessible bowl of cool, fresh water allows them to keep their body’s cooling systems working effectively, and prevents veterinary emergencies, such as electrolyte imbalance, organ dysfunction, and heatstroke.
#2: Your dog would appreciate some shady spots
While many dogs are happy to spend time lounging in the sun, these same dogs often instinctively know when to take a break and seek shade. An unsupervised dog, or a dog who has no access to shady location, can be overcome by the unrelenting sun, and unable to control their body temperature. Do not leave your dog outside alone during the summer months. Always ensure they have shade, and offer regular opportunities to go inside.
Your dog will appreciate a fan, as well as shade. If the fan makes your dog nervous, start the fan on low speed, and at a distance, which you can gradually decrease. Don’t accidentally discourage your dog from resting in the shade.
#3: Your dog wants some cool treats and toys
While you scream for ice cream, a dog’s digestive system may be sensitive to dairy products, so try these fun options instead:
- Frozen treats
- Blend together non-dairy yogurt and pet-safe fruit, such as blueberries, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, or kiwi. Freeze and serve.
- Frozen seedless watermelon slices can be a delightful, refreshing treat.
- Stuff a Kong or similar toy with wet dog food for a long-lasting treat, or try these healthy recipes and freeze.
- Frozen toys
- Try some freezable dog toys, which are a fun novelty for playful pups who love ice cubes.
- Freeze toys or treats in a large ice block—this low cost option can provide long-lasting fun. Serve outside, with supervision.
#4: Your dog wants a Bark-a-lounger. Really?
Dogs love to stretch out on cold floors during hot summer weather, a clever strategy to cool themselves through conduction. You can conveniently create this experience for your dog anytime with a pet cooling mat, which comes in many styles. Many contain a moldable gel center that can be frozen for maximum chill.
Your dog may also like an elevated mesh cot that allows 360-degree air flow. Dogs are naturally attracted to elevated resting places, and may feel more secure with this bed style.
#5: Your dog wants to stay home
Although your dog loves to spend time with you, they also like to spend time at home in the summer. Consider summer from your dog’s perspective, to better understand their stay-cation request.
- County fairs, outdoor concerts, and pool parties may be a pet owner’s definition of a good time, but for dogs, these events can be hot, noisy, unpredictable, and intimidating.
- A spooked dog may slip out of their collar or leash, run away, and become lost or be hit by a car.
- Fireworks displays, with their extremely loud, erratic sounds can terrify a dog and cause them to panic.
- Dogs can eat inappropriate items off the ground and become ill, choke, suffer toxicity or intestinal blockage, and require surgery.
- Dogs can get overexcited and suffer from heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke signs include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, red gums, seizures, collapse, and death.
- Brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced breeds) are exceptionally vulnerable.
- If your pet shows heatstroke signs, get them indoors immediately and call Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car, no matter how briefly, or if you’ve cracked the windows. Temperatures inside a car rise rapidly, leading to unnecessary suffering and countless pet deaths every year.
We love hearing about your summer adventures with your dog, but above all, we want them to be safe and stay cool. Contact Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital if you—or your dog—have additional questions about beating the heat. And, ensure you give your dog Christmas in July with their suggested gifts.