As the dog days approach, you already know that if your pet hangs out in the yard a lot, it’s important to make sure he has a shaded spot and a bowl frequently replenished with cool, fresh water to encourage hydration. You know, too, that pavement can get awfully hot during the summer months. If it’s hot enough to fry an egg, just think what it can do to your pal’s bare paws. That’s why, on super-hot, sunny days, you want to find grassy spots for your dog to have his walks and to keep him out of the heat in the middle of the day.
Of course, you also never leave your dog in the car during hot weather, even if just for a very short time. If it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can reach 104 in just 10 minutes — more time than you might spend on a long grocery line and enough to put your pet on the road to heat stroke. The interior of a car parked in the sun can become very hot even if the weather is mild — say, in the 70-degree range.
But summer doesn’t just have to be all about safety. It’s about pleasure, too! Here are some items (a number of which belong in the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that category) that will keep your dog happy and appreciative while remaining cool — and calm and collected — as the sun shines bright.
An ice cube, or even a handful of them, can keep the water in your dog’s bowl cold temporarily. And some dogs enjoy watching the cubes or even pawing at them for play. But ice cubes only last for a short while. For an extended period of cooling action, there are a number of bowls with freezable inserts that help keep the water cold longer, thereby encouraging your dog to stay hydrated and making his thirst-quenching more enjoyable. Such bowls are also a plus for dogs who prefer wet food but want to eat when they’re ready, which can be quite some time after you’ve put out the food and left for work or errands; the freeze factor helps food taste fresher.
FroBo Pet Bowl has a nontoxic insert that you place in the freezer. Once it has changed color, you place it in the bowl and then fill the bowl with water. The manufacturer says this cooling feature keeps water cool for as many as eight hours. The bowl can withstand the attention of dogs who enjoy chewing on their bowl as much as eating or drinking from it. Available on amazon.com, myfrobo.com, and other sites, from $14.99 to $34.99.
HomeTek USA Freezable Pet Bowl has a non-toxic gel center that stays frozen for several hours and keeps water cool. The frozen center is placed into the bowl base, which can then be filled with water or perishable food. If you are camping or enjoying time outdoors, the bowl can be kept in the ice cooler and brought out when your dog wants or needs water or food. Dishwasher safe. Costs $39.95.
K&H Manufacturing Cooling Bowl keeps water from heating up for as many as 15 hours without electricity. Freeze the bowl overnight, and cooling crystals will become activated when you fill the bowl with water the next morning. Works well for traveling to the beach or camping, for time when you will be away for hours, or for general use. The bowl holds 96 ounces and has a one-year limited warranty. Costs $32.49.
Neater Feeder Polar Bowl for Dogs &Cats is a straightforward product. The freezable stainless steel bowl is kept cold by a gel core contained within the bowl’s double walls Once frozen, the core helps keep the bowl and its contents cool. Comes in small (14 oz.), medium (28 oz.), and large (58 oz.). Dishwasher safe. Available on chewy.com, drsfostersmith.com, amazon.com and other sites, from $5.85 to $19.99.
You can keep some sensitive areas on your dog’s body cool in the outdoors with these special accouterments.
Guardian Gear Cool Pup Dog Cooling Harness can keep your pet cool for up to six hours with patent-pending “Cool Pup” technology. The SPF fabric is lightweight, allows the release of heat, and holds cooling packs within the harness. The fabric also has an underlying layer of foam to hold cool water against your dog’s body. Comes in extra small, small, small/medium, medium, large, and extra large. Available on baxterboo.com, amazon.com, petedge.com, and other sites, from $18.99 to $39.97.
Kumfy Tailz™ Pet Harness has a breathable mesh outer fabric combined with an extra layer for insulation. An insertable gel pack can be cooled (or heated, in winter) to help your dog manage extreme temperatures. The pack rests against the chest and belly to directly cool your dog. And the harness’s belly strap has a double buckle design that makes donning and removing it easier, which is a plus for older or arthritic dogs. Comes in xx-small (for 3- to 7-pound dogs), x-small (6 to15 pounds), small (14 to 30 pounds), medium (30-75 pounds), and large (75 pounds). Available in black, blaze orange, blue, camouflage, lime green, pink, and red. Further specifications about sizing can be found on kumfytailz.com. Also available on amazon.com, drsfostersmith.com, and other sites, from $21.56 to $39.99.
KT Fit Cooling/Warming Sport Harness for Active Dog works to cool or, in cold weather, warm your dog with gel packs that can be frozen or heated. The harness has reflective straps so your dog can be spotted in the dark. Comes in orange, neon green, and camo and in small, medium, and large with prices ranging from $11.53 to $24.98.
HyperKewl Cooling Dog Coat provides flexible material so your dog can move about in comfort while being kept cooled for five to 10 hours. The vest is made cool by soaking its lightweight quilted nylon. It secures under the tummy and is water repellent. Comes in blue and silver in small ($33.42), medium ($36.06), large ($38.70), extra large ($42.22), and extra-extra large ($44.86).
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Basset hounds and English bulldogs, for instance, have relatively short legs that can’t keep their disproportionate bulk above water. Other dogs simply are not the next Michael Phelps. If you plan on getting your pet in the water, start in shallow, swimmable water and go from there, watching him at all times, as you would a child. Better still, let your dog enjoy the water with flotation gear, if necessary, making canine swimming more enjoyable for both of you. Flotation gear could prove an especial boon in choppy water or a strong current. Note that even with flotation gear, you must be present as a lifeguard every moment your dog is in the water.
American Kennel Club Flotation Life Vest has a reflective strip for nighttime visibility, double-layered neck floats to keep your dog’s head from going under water, and a padded top handle to make retrieving your pet from the water easier. Comes with velcro strips and three adjustable clip straps for proper fit. The vest is available in bright yellow or orange in x-small, small, medium, large, x-large, all for $29.99 on Amazon.com.
Outward Hound Kyjen Ripstop Dog Life Jacket with a quick release, easy-fit, adjustable life preserver has a front float that helps keep your dog’s head above water and a top grab handle to rescue Fido, if necessary. Comes with reflective strips and buckles that release quickly. Available from Amazon and chewy.com in highly visible pink or orange in x-small ($7.71), small ($12.71), medium ($17.99), large ($21.99), and x-large ($21.68).
Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat allows your dog to participate in whatever water activities you enjoy, from boating to paddle boarding. The lifejacket has reflective strips that show in and out of water, a powerful but low-lying handle that is unlikely to inadvertently catch on things yet allows for safe retrieval from the water should your dog need assistance, and cell foam panels placed to position your dog for easy swimming. The coat has an attached adjusting neck closure and easily clipped buckles. Comes in yellow and red in xx-small, x-small, small, medium, large, x-large. Available on ruffwear.com, which has videos to demonstrate use and specifics in sizing; amazon.com; backcountry.com, and other sites. Prices range from $59.96 to $79.95.
SeaDog Pro Dog Life Jacket comes with a clip-on LED safety strobe that is activated once in water and shuts off once out of water. The strobe lasts for about 300 hours without batteries. Other safety features include a strong handle for grabbing on to your dog and lifting him from the water, as well as reflective strips for easy viewing at night. The jacket is comfortable enough for movement with its adjustable straps but is fashioned to encourage a natural swimming position. The vest has 2 D-rings so you can also attach your dog’s leash for walking or afix a locating gadget for additional safety. Check for the sizing guide because it is important that the jacket not entirely cover your dog’s back. Available on amazon.com in x-small ($20.77), small ($25.77), medium ($29.77), large ($33.77), and x-large ($38.77).
What could make more sense for backyard fun than a swimming pool for your dog that he can stand in? It’s an easy way to safely acclimate younger dogs or older novices to safe, clean water while allowing them to splash about and cool off when the mercury climbs.
Pawhut Foldable PVC Pet Swimming Pool is a foldable, easily set up pool of strong PVC material that allows pets to enjoy the pool without damaging it. No inflation is necessary, and the pool has a drainage plug that allows for water to fill or be let out — easier than a plastic kiddy pool that you have to turn over to dump the water. Also easily stored or carried. The pool comes 8 inches high by 32 inches in diameter ($26.95), 12 inches high by 47 inches in diameter ($40.95), and 12 inches high by 63 inches in diameter ($54.95).
Hammacher Schlemmer Canine Splash Pool also does not need to be inflated. It offers rip-free PVC material and reinforced sides to help prevent waves from sloshing out of the pool and can handle dogs ranging from 29 to 110 pounds. The pool itself is a manageable 11 pounds, making it easy to empty through the side drainage plug, fold, and take along on your travels in its own carry bag. Measures one foot high and 63 inches in diameter. Available at hammacher.com for $140.00.
Frontpet Foldable Dog Pet Pool Bathing Tub is made of durable PVC material. A sealed drain can be opened to let out water when done, and the foldable tub can be tucked away or taken along when traveling. Measures 50 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep. Works as a wading pool for your dog or small kiddie pool. Costs $69.99.
Fuloon Foldable Pet Swimming Pool, Bathing Tub and Bathtub is made of PVC material with sealed corners to prevent leaking. It can be used for summer fun for your dog, but it can also serve as your dog’s bathtub, or even as your own fish pond or simple water pond. The pool folds, stores, and can be used for travel. Small size measures 8 inches high by 32 inches in diameter ($49.92). The medium size measures 12 inches high by 47 inches in diameter ($74.99).
General Foam Plastics Snoopy Pool is a three-foot circle of kiddie pool fun for your dog. No frills, but plenty of happy chills. The $15.39 pool doesn’t fold and doesn’t have an outlet for water but is light enough to be tipped over for emptying and then filled up again for more cooling play time.
Mats and beds
A cooling mat or bed can bring real relief to a dog overheated from the summer sun or inclined to rest on the floor rather than a heat-holding bed.
Arf Pets Self Cooling Mat Pad works for crates, beds, or wherever you choose to place it. When pressured by your dog’s body, the durable, self-activating liquid gel-containing mat provides about three hours of cool comfort and recharges without electricity or batteries within 15 minutes. The product is non-toxic and can be easily stowed and brought on trips. Wipes clean with soap and water. Comes in two sizes: 19 by 35 inches ($29.99) and 31 by 37 inches ($39.99). Available on amazon.com.
Hugs Pet Products Cooling Gel Pet Mat provides a puncture-proof, lightweight cooling sensation that can ease joints, cool your dog’s overheated body, and be put on any bed or surface where your dog enjoys taking his naps. Comes in medium ($30.00), large ($27.65), and x-large ($45.30). Available on amazon.com.
The Green Pet Shop Self-Cooling Pet Pad recharges automatically, providing three to four hours of coolness for your dog. The pad is made of non-toxic materials and works without water, electricity, or refrigeration — your dog’s body pressure activates its cooling process. The pad is easy to wipe clean and easy to take with you or to place in your dog’s bed or anywhere else he might want to relax. Comes in small ($16.67), medium ($23.27), medium-large ($24.28), large ($39.97), and x-large ($54.97) on amazon.com and other sites.