Temperatures are steadily increasing, which leaves many pet
parents wondering how they can make summer for dogs with heavy coats more
comfortable. Some may understandably think that shaving their dog is the best
way to keep them cool, but for dogs with heavy coats, this can do more damage
While their heavy coats are built to keep them warm in cold
weather, they also protect their sensitive skin from the sun and allow them to
regulate their temperature more easily. But, this doesn’t mean that they
couldn’t benefit from a little extra help staying cool during the summer
Commit to regular
grooming at home
Dogs with heavy coats have something called “double coats”,
meaning they have a soft, fluffy undercoat and tough top coat. These work together
to insulate your pup to they stay warm in inclement weather, but in the summer
months, they can trap too much heat.
The top coat sheds throughout the year, but the undercoat is only shed seasonally and requires regular grooming to help remove it effectively. In the spring and summer, you’ll want to groom your dog every few days with a special raking tool, like the Maxpower Planet Pet Grooming Brush that will help remove the undercoat. Once removed, your pet will be better able to regular their heat on warmer days.
Book your grooming
appointments in advance
When it comes to keeping dogs with heavy coats cool in the
summer, home grooming is only half the battle. You’ll also want to book an
appointment with a professional groomer every four weeks. The raking you do at
home, followed by a bath and a high-powered blow dryer at the groomers, will
help the soft undercoat separate from the coarse top coat. This will allow the
groomer to thin out the undercoat more easily.
Look for alternative
There will be days in the summer when it’s simply too warm for
your pet to safely exercise outside. To ensure that your pup doesn’t miss out
on their exercise these days, it’s helpful to have ideas of alternative
exercise options prepared in advance. Some ideas include:
- Indoor dog park: A growing number of
cities offer indoor dog parks that pet parents can use as an alternative to
traditional outdoor parks. Some require a reservation, so make sure to check
whether this is the case for yours.
- Shift their exercise times: On hot days,
the best time to walk your dog is before the sun rises or after it sets. During
these times the air will be cooler, so you don’t have to worry about the direct
sun, and there’s no risk of your pup burning their paws on hot concrete.
- Get creative with your indoor space: If you have to
skip your pup’s regular outside exercise, see what you can do indoors. If your
house or building has stairs you can run up and down a few flights for a short,
but intense, workout. You can also play an extended game of fetch,
hide-and-seek, or any other game that gets your dog to run around your house.
Invest in cooling
devices and toys
In addition to proper grooming and adjusting their exercise
routine, there are a number of products on the market designed to keep pets
- Adding a cooling pad on top of their regular bed: The Green Pet Shop cooling pad is pressure activated, providing a cooling relief when your pet lays on it and the gel within the pad automatically ‘recharges’ after 15-20 minutes of non-use.
- Put on a cooling vest when they’re outside: The Canada Pooch Chill Seeker Cooling Vest contains water-retaining fabric that will slowly evaporate when in direct sun. This helps your pet stay cool and enables them to better regulate their temperature while outside.
- Have fun with frozen treats: The Chew King Chill Fill toy enables you to make your own frozen treats. Simply add a handful of your pup’s favorite Freshpet recipe, add one cup of water, pop it in the freezer, and in a few hours, they’ll have a tasty treat to cool down with!
Know the signs of heat
stroke in dogs
The final, and possibly the most important, way that you can prepare for summer with a heavy-coated pup is to learn the signs of heatstroke in dogs. When out and about in the summer, keep an eye out to make sure that your dog doesn’t start to display any of these behaviors:
- Heavy panting
If they start to display any of these signs, immediately take them to a shaded area and pour cool – but not cold – water over them, and offer them small amounts of water to drink. As soon as their breathing returns to normal, bring them to the vet immediately for a full check-up.
Taking the time to prepare your heavy-coated dog for summer will ensure that it’s an enjoyable season for all. If you have additional questions or concerns about your pet’s health in the upcoming warm weather, speak to your veterinarian.