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As the summer months near, you have to plan out how you will keep your pet comfortable, especially if you’re living in an apartment with no air conditioning. Just like humans, your dogs are susceptible to heatstroke under high temperatures. And to ensure that they can get through the summer season safely, you should know how to keep your dog cool in a hot apartment.
Below, we discuss some of the useful hacks you can do to keep your pooch cool and safe.
How hot temperatures affect dogs
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. This is why you’ll see canines panting with their tongues out during a humid day. As much as dogs have several sweat glands on their paws, these are not enough to help them cool down.
Under high temperatures, your dog is at risk of heat exhaustion or overheating. This is the canine version of heatstroke in humans. If not spotted early on, it could lead to the death of your pet.
When your dog’s body temperature reaches or goes beyond 106F, you have to act to prevent the onset of overheating. Take note that the failure to ease the body heat of your dog may cause its heart to shut down.
In addition, the only way to spot this harm is by knowing the tell-tale signs. The following are some of the symptoms you should watch out for:
-Excessive panting with tongue out
-Vomiting and/or diarrhea
-Blue or bright red gums
-Less responsive to commands
–Wandering away, as if seeking something
-Loss of consciousness
If you spot any of these symptoms, use the ten tips on how to keep your dog cool in a hot apartment.
When to call the vet
If your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should perform cooling down steps before bringing it to the vet. Take note that overheating can be lethal for dogs in just a matter of hours. Aside from giving first aid remedies, you should seek the help of a veterinarian to ensure that your dog is safe.
9 Tips on How to Keep Your Dog Cool in a Hot Apartment
1. Always top up their bowl with cold water
The first thing you have to do is to give your dog cold water. You can also add ice cubes so they will have a refreshing bowl of water all day long. Always keep this bowl full and check if it’s still cool.
Aside from cold water, you can also make frozen treats so your dog will have something to chew to ease the hot temperature. Frozen carrots, peanut butter, and coconut oil are just some of the good options. If these aren’t handy, ice cubes are always helpful. Allow the dog to munch the ice cubes.
Take note that even if your dog isn’t sweating, they should still stay hydrated. Also, you should put their water bowls away from direct sunlight or any hot surfaces.
2. Get their coats trimmed
Even before the summer season arrives, you should get your dog’s coat trimmed properly. This way, you can remove the extra length of fur that will make them feel hotter than summer. Just imagine the extra length of their coat as a jacket. You wouldn’t want them wearing one during the hot season.
Some breeds like Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and Samoyeds will naturally shed their fur as the summer season approaches. Your role here is to brush the pooch to remove the shed hair that got stuck in their coat.
On the other hand, breeds like Shih Tzu, Maltese, Poodle, etc. need to be trimmed manually as they don’t shed. If you don’t have experience in trimming dog fur, it’s best to ask a professional groomer to get it done.
3. Keep as much ventilation as possible
Use an oscillating fan to keep air circulating around your apartment. A wall or ceiling mounted oscillating fan is ideal since you’d want to keep it as far away as possible from your pets.
You can also use one oscillating fan and then the other is steady in a specific direction. That way, your dog can camp underneath to stay cool.
If the air proves to be humid, you can make an improvise air cooler. Bore a top and side hole on a styrofoam icebox. Afterward, fill the box with ice and mount a small fan on the top hole. This will blow cold air through the other opening where your dog can stay.
However, if your pooch is an aggressive chewer, you have to supervise them around this improvised cooler.
4. Let them soak in the tub
If the temperature is debilitating, you can let your dog soak in the tub with cold water. You can also add a few ice cubes on the water so your pooch can cool down. This is a great first aid if your dog is already showing signs of heat exhaustion.
For those who don’t have a tub, they can use a kiddie pool instead. Just set it up in the bathroom and let your dog lie on it. You can also point an electric fan toward the pool for added cooling effect.
Again, you should supervise your dog while it’s in the bathroom. Some curious doggos will explore through your bottles of shampoo and soap. You wouldn’t want your pooch to taste any of it.
5. Don’t isolate them on hot rooms
If you’re going to work, avoid locking your dog in a hot room. This is a room with no windows, air conditioning units, or any form of ventilation. In just a few hours, your dog can overheat inside the room and you’ll go home to a lifeless pet.
So if you are to leave your pet in the apartment, you should allow them to roam around. This way, the pooch can look for the coolest spot in the house. Also, you should let the fan or your AC running at a cool temperature (not very cold, though!).
If your home has two floors, you should bring your dog on the ground floor. Remember, hot air rises. You wouldn’t want them bearing the brunt of unnecessary heat.
6. Consider using ice packs
Aside from that, you can also use ice packs to soothe your pet. Place several packs around so your dog can lounge on it whenever it feels uncomfortable with the temperature. We recommend making a cool and comfy resting spot for your dog complete with a water bowl, fan, and ice packs.
Take note that ice packs are great remedies for dogs who are finding it hard to breathe under high temperatures.
7. Crack a window
If an air conditioning unit isn’t available, you can open a window for ventilation. You can also use oscillating fans to complement the benefits.
Take note that an enclosed apartment will trap carbon dioxide that the occupants produce. This will make the place hotter than it’s supposed to be. So for you and your dog’s sake, crack a window or two if possible.
8. Avoid mid-day strolls
During summer, afternoon walks are no-nos. The middle of the day is when the sun is scorching hot. Also, the pavement around the neighborhood would be sizzling, which can burn your doggo’s paws.
If you’re bent to stick with your dog’s daily walks, do so at dusk or dawn. These periods of the day are much cooler than in the afternoon. Wait until the outdoor temperature has gone down – your dog will thank you for it.
9. Get some marble tiles
If you have a marble floor, allow your dog to lie down on it. Marble tiles are cold and will somewhat help your dog cool down.
For those who don’t have marble flooring, they can purchase several tiles where their dog can lie down. Take note that during summer, a foam bed and carpet are the hottest surfaces to be in.
10. Use a cooling gel collar/bandana
Another option that you can try is a cooling dog collar or bandana. These products have a cooling gel inside. You just have to put it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before putting it on your dog. The cooling gel will help keep your dog cool for several hours.
If you can’t find a cooling gel collar, you can try the ALL FOR PAWS Chill Out Ice Bandana. This is like an ice pack your dog can wear. You only need to do three steps to use this unique cooling tool:
Step 1. Fit the bandana to your dog. This way, you’ll get the right fit before freezing the bandana.
Step 2. Fill it with water. Just submerge the bandana underwater until it fills.
Step 3. Freeze and put it on your dog
This bandana is a great resort on extremely hot days. It’s also very easy to use. If you need an immediate cooling pack, you can fill this with cold water instead so your dog can use it immediately.
What to do if your dog starts overheating
If your dog has been experiencing the onset of heat exhaustion, you should remember the following points:
*Don’t force the dog to drink water
Overheating dogs are more focused on breathing. Forcing them to drink water through force-feeding might only do more harm. The water may go to their lungs, causing more complications.
*Use tap water to cool your dog down
Avoid dousing your dog with cold water when it’s overheating. The very cold water will constrict the blood vessels, which will make it difficult for the blood to circulate. When this happens, your dog will cool down slower as the blood takes longer to reach various parts of its body.
*Know when to stop cooling
Once the panting stops and your dog’s body temperature neutralizes at 103F, stop cooling and head to the vet. Cooling further may lead to hypothermia, which is as bad as overheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How hot can a dog tolerate?
A: This will vary per breed, but the general tolerable temperature for canines is around 90F. Anything beyond that is uncomfortable and will increase their risk of suffering from heat exhaustion.
Q: Does pouring water on a dog cool them down?
A: While this may work temporarily, it’s best to let your dog lie down on the water. You can use a kiddie pool or a large basin so your dog can lounge on it and cool down. Besides, pouring water on your dog is a waste.
Q: Can dogs have Gatorade?
A: If you’re intending to rehydrate your dog with Gatorade, we recommend that you ask the vet first. Some dogs turn out fine after drinking Gatorade while others don’t. It’s a case to case basis so it’s best to get some professional advice first.
Q: How do you stop a dog from overheating?
A: You can use the 10 tips we discussed above to prevent the onset of overheating. Also, avoid pushing your dog to stay active if your apartment is hot. This will only increase your dog’s risk of experiencing heat exhaustion.
Q: How long does it take a dog to recover from overheating?
A: This depends on the extent of overheating your dog experienced. For those that have been attended to right away, the effects of overheating will wear off within 24 hours. For some canines, it would be as long as 72 hours. However, if your dog sustained body organ damage due to overheating, recovery may take weeks.
Knowing how to keep your dog cool in a hot apartment is important for your pet’s safety. Instead of letting the doggo suffer from the extreme temperature, there are some steps you can take to make them comfortable.
Take note that brachycephalic or flat-nosed breeds are more prone to overheating. So if you own a Pug, Bulldog, Frenchie, and the likes, you must exhaust all means to keep them comfy at your apartment. If you’re foreseeing that the temperature at your home will be harmful to your doggo, you can bring them to the vet clinic ahead of time.