At Home Cooling
UPDATED MAY 2017
Now that I’ve covered cooling beds and how to keep dogs cool during outdoor activities, the final topic we will explore is day-to-day activities at home. Because our dogs tend to spend a majority of their lives at home, we want to make sure they’re cool, comfortable, and stay hydrated all day long.
These are an easy way to make sure your dog always has access to a cold water source regardless of the temperature outside. Because dogs don’t have sweat glands, one of the primary ways they cool off, is through their mouth. The reason dogs pant so much when they get hot, is to pass cool air over their tongue, which in turn, lowers their body temperature. These bowls not only help re-hydrate your dog, but also provide a cooling effect as the dog drinks. The bowls come with removable rings that you stick in the freezer and then place under the dogs water bowl during the hottest parts of the day.
If you have a little extra freezer space, another popular way to keep your dogs water cool during the day is by freezing a bowl that is specifically designed to keep your dogs water cool throughout the day. This one from K&H can keep the water cool for up to 15 hours.
If you don’t think you’ll need your dogs water bowl cooled very often, you can also just take your existing water bowl and freeze and inch or so of water in it the night before you need it. This will keep the water cool for an hour or more depending on how hot it is outside and doesn’t require to you purchase any additional bowls.
If you’re like me, and like to take your dog on day trips to the beach, park, or anywhere else outdoors, these bowls are great to take along with you. When we’re at the beach, and Sierra has access to cold fresh water, she is less likely to try and drink the ocean water. This is a huge benefit because if you haven’t seen what salt water does to a dog’s digestive track, consider yourself lucky. Explosive diarrhea is never something any dog owner wants to deal with.
This a easy to install product that attaches to any hose line you have in your yard. You keep the line on and anytime your dog needs a drink, they just lick the lever on the end, and water will come out. If you want to use this product but don’t have an open hose line, you can buy a splitter. This will allow you to dedicate one side for the hose, and the other side for the Lixit. Most dogs can learn how to use this product relatively easily, just apply some peanut butter or cream cheese to the tip of it, and let your dog do the rest. A few reputations of this, and most dogs will catch on.
If the location of your hose line isn’t easily accessible for your dog, there’s still the option of using an auto refill bowl that can be hooked up and put a few feet away from the hose line. The bowl itself is stainless steel, so it will stay clean and bacteria-free longer than other materials commonly used to make dog bowls. This product is pretty strait forward, hook it up to your hose line, and as the dog drinks, the water will be replenished. Most dog parks have something similar to this, but for $38, this one is much more affordable.
Both of the automatic water options can guarantee your dog always has access to drinking water while at home. The one thing you do need to keep in mind however, is these products can get hot in the sun. If you have a hose line that is shaded for a good portion of the day, the dog’s water will stay cooler and you wont have to worry about the bowl, or Lixit, getting so hot that it burns your dog. Before you leave your dog alone with any of these, test the temperature during the hottest part of the day to make sure it’s safe to leave them in the location you chose.
The following video demonstrates how to make your own inexpensive, semi-portable, A/C that will not only keep your dog cool, but also save you $$$ on your monthly energy bill. This DIY project can come in handy when you don’t want to run the A/C for the whole house, but you would like to have one room cool enough for everyone to sit in comfortably, and don’t want to spend $200+ on a single room A/C unit. With this DIY unit, you can also alter the design to have the airflow angle down so it can blow directly onto your dog, which I’m sure he will enjoy, after you get back from a long walk in the Summer’s heat. One of the best parts about this, is the gallon water jug it uses. It can be refrozen every night so you don’t have to worry about making or buying ice everyday.
This unit works great for me because of the way my bedroom is laid out. We don’t get a very powerful breeze running through the house to help cool the bedroom down at night. When the temperature outside is 80°+ at midnight, this unit can help cool the room down faster to make it comfortable to sleep, for everyone. You can also turn the unit on when you leave the house for an 8 hour work day, that way, you can leave the house A/C off, but know that your dog will stay cool. It by no means has a high end designer look to it, but for the price, around $20-$30, it’s a simple way to efficiently cool a room, and your dog, will thank you.
Safety Tips for Dogs in Heat
(No, not that kind of heat)
How to Check for Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Now that we have gone over all the ways to keep a dog cool in the heat, let’s look at what to do if you get into a situation where you think your dog might be experiencing some form of heat exhaustion.
If you do spend a little too long outdoors on a hot day, and are concerned that your dog might be suffering from dehydration or even heat stroke, there are a few test you can do at home, or on the trail, to check their symptoms, and then seek vet treatment if necessary. Watch the two short videos below for a step-by-step guide you can use to determine if your dog is suffering from dehydration or heat stroke.
If you do see any of these symptoms, call or visit your vet immediately. If help isn’t close by or available at all, you can try to cool your dog down by using ice packs on their pads, armpits and underbellies. When cooling the underbelly, try and get the cool packs under the back legs. Major artery passes through each leg and cooling them down will hopefully help lower your dogs core temperature quicker. However you don’t want to bring their temperature down to quickly. Dropping them into a pool or bath might seen like the logical way to cool them down, but this could cause them to go into shock, slow and steady is the motto here. If you have access to rubbing alcohol you can rub it on their skin. Alcohol evaporates faster than water, so it will cool them down more effectively. Lastly, if the dog is still conscious, make sure they have access to cold drinking water. If the dog passes out, but is still breathing, don’t force water into their mouths, it could end up in their lungs and make things worse. Instead, try gently pulling out their tongue and slowly dripping water onto it, the water should naturally evaporate, which will start to cool them off.
Even if you are able to cool your dog down yourself, I still recommend seeing a vet. They will be able to take blood and urine samples to make sure there wasn’t any internal organ damage, which can occur in severe cases.
Dogs in Cars
Lastly, even though you’ve hopefully heard this many times before, PLEASE, NEVER leave a dog in the car unattended, even for a few minutes, in the heat. The inside of a car heats up quickly when the car is off, and dogs can’t sweat to cool themselves down like we can. When the temperature inside the car get to be over 96°, it can quickly become deadly for any dog. Even when it’s 70° outside, with the windows cracked, the internal temperature can reach unsafe levels fast. If you need to run errands someplace a dog can’t go, leave your dog at home to sleep comfortably, problem solved.
Hopefully some of the information in the last three posts will be helpful to you as we transition into the always warm Southern California Spring and Summer. If you have any additional questions about keeping your dog cool, or if you’ve found a cooling product that was not mentioned here, but you can’t live without, please feel free to comment or leave me a message. I love researching and reviewing new dog products, but cooling products always have a special place in my heart. I’m always looking for new ways to keep my Husky cool during the Summer!
If you haven’t read the previous two posts check them out here: