As summer finally comes to fruition, our dogs are just as excited as we are—if not more excited!—to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. However, as we’ve learned over the last few years, summer months across Canada can vary from perfectly balmy to dangerously hot, and it’s up to us to manage our precious pup’s temperatures while still ensuring they’re squeezing out as much fun in the sun as they can. This week, let’s look at seven summer essentials for dogs that will keep them safe, cool, and happy!
Before you rummage through your closet full of doggy gear or start a new online shopping cart, let’s run over some of the basics of managing and monitoring your dog’s temperature during the summer heat.
Dogs only have sweat glands on their paw pads, meaning they can’t cool down as efficiently as we do: instead, they mostly rely on panting to provide the same evaporation effects. Even dogs with thick fur use their coats to help keep them cool! Just like how a dog’s fur insulates them in the winter, it also moderates their temperature in the summer. This means that you should never shave your dog’s heavy coat because you think it’ll help them cool down—without their natural first defense from the elements, you’re more likely to give them heatstroke!
Speaking of Heatstroke…
When it comes to monitoring our dogs in the heat, the two issues we’re worried about most are heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is essentially the more mild form of the two, but if left untreated it can rapidly become heatstroke, which can be fatal if not immediately addressed. If you see your dog panting incessantly in the sun this summer, it’s likely they’re too warm, and “sweating” heavily. Get them to shade or an air-conditioned area quickly and let them relax with some cool water to be safe.
Check out our full blog article to get in-depth information about other symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and how to treat them—it’s better to know it and never need it than to be scrambling for what to do in a moment of panic.
7 Summer Essentials for Dogs
1. Cooling Bandanas
Just because your dog doesn’t sweat efficiently enough to cool themselves down doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a hot day at the beach! Cooling bandanas or vests are made to help your precious pup manage the dog days of summer. They use a special fabric that allows for all-over body evaporation, providing the same relief as sweating. As a bonus, these fabrics don’t require any refrigeration to use—just dunk them in water and watch your dog tackle the summer heat like a champ.
2. HydroSMART-Pro Pet Bowl
Staying cool is important, but that goes hand in hand with staying hydrated. While a good number of dog-friendly parks around Vancouver have puppy-accessible water fountains, you should always be prepared to supply your dog with some water. Enter the BRB Pet Bowl: this handy bowl attaches to a number of different water bottles to provide a quick and easy way to hydrate your dog when you can’t find a fountain on your summer adventures. Sure, there are plenty of collapsible dog bowls on the market, but this attachment makes hydrating your dog quick and easy by allowing you to portion as much water as your dog wants without wasting a drop. But wait, it gets better: this pet bowl is completely eco-friendly and biodegradable, so you can bid your fears of plastic waste goodbye!
Looking for the best dog-friendly parks and trails around Vancouver? Look no further—we’ve got them all listed here!
3. Dog-Safe Sunscreen
Sunburn is inarguably one of the worst parts of the summer, and unfortunately, our pups aren’t immune to it. Dogs with thin or light-coloured hair are most susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays, but any dog can benefit from a little bit of extra protection—especially on their noses and ears! It’s not as easy as sharing your bottle of sunscreen, though. The sunscreen you’re slathering on yourself when you hit the beach is full of chemicals that shouldn’t be ingested, and our dogs aren’t the best at knowing when to not lick an interesting smell. That’s where doggy sunscreen comes into play. Parker & Co is a Canadian company that makes an all-natural, 100% lick-safe “snout screen” for your dog. Its lip-balm-like applicator makes it easy and mess-free to apply, so your dog never has to know the painful repercussions of getting too much sun!
4. Hot Pavement Paw Protectors
Those paws are made for walking, and that’s just what they’re gonna do. One day those paws are gonna walk all over…scorching hot pavement. Ouch! When the sidewalk or sand gets too hot for you to hold your hand on it for more than 5 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog’s little toe pads! If you have winter boots for your dog, then they can probably do double duty to protect their feet in the summer, too! That said, if you’re just starting to shop for doggy footwear, look for summer-specific booties, or at least ones with a durable sole and plenty of ventilation. Remember that your dog’s front and back feet are different sizes, so measure carefully before adding to your cart!
If you’re looking for high quality Canadian-made booties, Muttluks has you covered—for many seasons and terrains! Although most doggies are sporting their winter booties, they do also have some fantastic summer dog boots called the Mud Monsters. Grab some to make sure your dog's paws are protected, no matter the summer adventures you decide to go on.
5. Dog Pool
For the days when you just can’t muster the energy to get to a lake with your pup, then maybe it’s time to invest in a backyard pool to let your dog splash around in. There are a few things to consider when you’re about to become the best dog paw-rent on the block, though. A standard inflatable kiddie pool will be fun at first, but it might not stand up to your dog's claws for long and end up being a one-time use item. Instead, look for hard-sided plastic pools—they’re inexpensive, and you can use them as ball pits when they’re not filled with water! Folding pools are also a great option if you’re worried about storage space; whichever form of pool you decide to provide to your dog, just make sure it’s durable enough to withstand your dog splashing, digging, and general romping around.
6. Dog Tent
A chance to escape from the sun and lounge in the shade is an essential part of any dog’s day in the summer. But if you have a particularly shade-free backyard, you might want to create a dog-friendly space to beat the heat. Pet tents are generally inexpensive and efficient ways to offer your dog some much-needed relief—they usually come with a raised cot to lay on, so your dog can get some fresh air circulating all around them while lounging under their own private canopy. As a bonus, these tents can fold up like a standard camping chair, so you don’t have to share your umbrella space next time you hit the beach.
7. Raw Bones
Raw bones are an essential part of a pet’s diet—they’re a great source of important vitamins and minerals- specifically calcium. However, they can also be an amazing way to beat the summer heat while providing great mental stimulation. As chewing comes naturally to dogs, giving them an extra cold raw bone in the summers will not only help them cool off but keep them busy, and clean their teeth at the same time! Occasionally, you can give your dog a bone to supplement other exercise time (especially if you’re trying to avoid extremely hot weather) or even a meal. Take a look at RDBK’s selection of high-quality, ethically-sourced bones—we have something for every type of dog!
Are You Ready to Tackle the Dog Days of Summer?
Knowing how to care for your dog in the heat is an essential step to enjoying the fairer weather together, and we can’t wait to see what summer adventures you and your dog get up to! If you have a go-to method or piece of equipment you don’t do summer without, we want to hear about it. Come find us on Instagram or Facebook at @reddogbluekat to tell us all about how you plan on pampering your precious pup!