The 10 Best Cooling Pads For Dogs
The Importance Of Keeping Your Dog Cool
Owning a dog is one of life's great joys, but in some parts of the world, having a canine companion can be dangerous. This is especially true in hot, humid environments, as heatstroke, dehydration, and hyperthermia all pose big risks to your dog's health.
A dog's normal internal temperature is slightly higher than our own, with abnormal being anything over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over that, up to 106 degrees, is considered mild heatstroke — and anything over 106 degrees is severe. Once you start getting into severe heatstroke, your dog's life is in imminent danger, and you need to rush him to the vet immediately.
Once the mercury starts to climb, you need to take precautions to keep your pup safe. This is especially important if you have a pooch with a thick, full coat, or a cold-weather breed like a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute. These dogs aren't made for sultry climates, so if you live in the desert but just have to have one, be sure that you give them plenty of opportunity to beat the heat.
It's not just your dog's coat that matters, either. Dogs with short, stubby snouts (like bulldogs or pugs) have difficulty cooling themselves through panting, so they'll need a little extra help during the summer as well.
A cooling pad is a great investment for anyone living in harsh climates, as it not only cools your dog, but encourages him to rest for a bit. This reduces the chance of him over-exerting himself, speeding up the cooling process.
Of course, just throwing down one of these pads isn't always enough to keep your dog safe during a heat wave, but it's a good start. Even if your dog isn't in life-and-death danger of overheating, he'll likely appreciate having a cool place to rest during the day, and don't be surprised if it becomes his new favorite spot.
Most importantly, though, it will give you the opportunity to take tons of adorable photos of him, and isn't that what dog ownership is really all about?
Signs Of Overheating In Dogs
While you may realize that it's dangerously hot outside, your dog might be too focused on playtime to care about any risks that he's taking. After all, who has time to take a break when there are squirrels to bark at and tennis balls to chase?
So, it's up to you to make sure that your furry friend doesn't overdo it. Below are some warning signs of heatstroke to watch out for, and if you see any of them, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
His mouth is the first area to focus on. Is his tongue bright red, much redder than normal? Are his gums a different color — typically red, bluish-purple, or pale? Is he panting desperately or excessively? Is his saliva sticky, as opposed to wet and slimy? If so, it's probably worth at least calling a doctor to make sure that he'll be ok.
Next, monitor his behavior. If he's pacing and seems to be uncomfortable, you should be concerned (this is pretty much always a bad sign in dogs, even if heatstroke isn't a possibility). Lethargy is another cause for worry, as he may be too weak to move. Basically, anything too far out of the ordinary is a risk factor.
Finally, if he tries to urinate, but produces very little, it could be a sign of dehydration. Likewise, vomiting (which is different from regurgitation is a bad sign, as is the production of black, tarry stools.
It can sometimes feel like you may be overreacting if you suspect your dog's having an emergency, and false alarm vet bills can quickly add up. Still, though, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
After all, the worst-case scenario in these situations is one you'll want to avoid at all costs.
Other Ways To Help Your Pooch Beat The Heat
As with most conditions, preventing heatstroke is much healthier (and cheaper) than treating it. Luckily, keeping your dog cool can be a fun and enjoyable process for both of you.
The most important thing is to make sure he always has access to lots of cool, fresh water. Keep several large bowls full, including at least one outside, and if you take him hiking, bring water with you. If you have a pool he can jump in, even better, but just make sure that he knows how to get out.
Likewise, you'll want to give him the opportunity to get out of the sun. Keeping him inside and surrounded by central air conditioning is obviously the best way, but if you're not willing to do that, make sure to provide shade or build him a doghouse. Also — and hopefully this goes without saying — never leave him chained up to where he can't get away from the sun.
In general, you'll want to limit his activity during the hottest parts of the day. This may mean restricting his walks to early mornings or late evenings (and always check to make sure the ground isn't too hot before taking him). You can also play indoor games with him, like hide and seek, to make sure he's not bored.
It's also good to teach him tricks like "go to bed" or sit-stays, as you can force him to spend time on his cooling pad when you get concerned about his activity level. This will keep him healthy, while also giving you some alone time if you need it.
Ultimately, keeping your pet cool is mostly common sense, and you'll likely find that many of these techniques help you bond with your dog, as well. At the end of the day, a cool dog is a happy dog — and there's absolutely nothing in this world better than a happy dog.