Dogs love to be outside even in the warmest months of the year, but it is important to understand how your dog handles the heat. There is a big difference between the way a human’s body processes hot temps and the way a dog’s body handles it. Humans cool down by sweating with the approximately two million sweat glands found throughout the entire human body. Dogs don’t sweat. The only sweat glands they have are on the nose and the pads of the feet. The primary way they bring their temp down is through panting and breathing. The lining of their lungs, which are moist, serve as the evaporative surface. There is a common notion that a dog’s tongue contains sweat glands, but this in a fallacy. Some minimal cooling occurs as your dog pants and draws air over moist surfaces in his mouth, but there are no sweat glands in the oral cavity. Dogs can overheat quickly, so it is important to stay alert for signs of overheating, which include excessive panting and drooling, accompanied by an elevated body temperature. They love to play right through the summer heat, so it is up to the caregiver to limit exercise and activity in the extreme heat.
Dogs love frozen treats, but they are a bit messy. Best if served on an easy-to-clean surface, a giant dog popsicle will not only help them keep cool in hot weather, but it will help keep them from becoming bored during the long hot days. Fill a large ice cream tub or any plastic container with water and freeze (to make it even more special, mix in a few treats). Recipes for dog popsicles can be varied so there are different tastes. Please remember that popsicles don’t substitute for a separate source of fresh water. A dog popsicle is great, but won’t be adequate to meet your dog’s hydration needs.
Some creative additions for your dog popsicle:
- Cut up apples
- Baby carrots
- Meat broth (chicken, turkey or beef) for flavor
- Peanut butter
- Mashed up bananas
- Chucks of cheese
- Be creative, but Do NOT add raisins or grapes …they are toxic to dogs!
You can also make up small frozen goodies in ice cube trays or plastic cups or any “mold” that you can remove once your popsicle is frozen.
Yummy Ice Cube Tray Treats
A great recipe for a yummy treat made in ice cube trays can be made by combining:
- a ripe banana,
- a cup of meat broth
- ½ cup yogurt.
- Mix well & pour into empty ice cube trays and freeze
- When frozen solid, pop out and place in plastic bags.
Another favorite with almost all dogs is Cheesy-Burger Pops made with just 3 ingredients: crumbled up cooked ground beef , grated cheese, and low fat, low sodium chicken (or beef) broth.
- Scoop ½ tsp of ground beef into each section of an ice cube tray.
- Crumble a little grated cheese on top
- Pour chicken stock over ingredients.
- Freeze until solid
A little extra effort will assure that your dog will stay cool and comfortable in spite of summer’s heat!