Keeping your dog cool during the dog days of summer isn’t just a matter of comfort; it can also be a life-saving measure. August temperatures may cause life-threatening heat illness in dogs, just as in humans. There are numerous ways, though, to ensure a cool canine — without breaking the bank. Here are six suggestions:
1. Make frozen treats. Ice and other frozen treats are a fun and inexpensive way to pamper your pooch on sweltering days. Make your own frozen treats by mixing water with low-sodium chicken or beef broth, and then freeze it in a plastic container to create a bone-sized chew.
2. Create a cooling bandana. You’ll find commercial cooling bandanas on the market, but you can easily make your own. Bandanas, folded and sewn to hold nontoxic, water-absorbing polymer beads, are designed to be soaked in water and tied around your dog’s neck for some cool relief. These beads are sold in crafts supplies stores. If you have two dogs, and one likes to chew the other’s bandana, you can skip the beads and just wet and refrigerate the bandana before your next trip outdoors. Another cheap alternative is to tuck a few ice cubes in a bandana, fold it up, then tie it around your dog’s neck, where it will slowly melt and cool your canine.
3. Chill some towels. We all know how refreshing it is to be given a chilled towel on a hot day. It’s just as refreshing for your dog. Take an old towel or sheet, wet it, then wring it out and pop it in your freezer. When it’s chilled (you don’t have to wait for it to freeze), spread it out as an optional place for your dog to lie.
4. Cool an outdoor spot for your dogs. Although it’s best for dogs to be indoors in the heat, if they’ll be outside, take a moment to create a cool spot. Hose off a porch or wet a shaded portion of the yard to provide a cool getaway. If you have an old cot or chaise lounge, those can be favorite outdoor hangouts since the woven fabric allows cooler air to circulate beneath your dog.
5. Groom. Matted dog hair holds heat, so be sure to keep your dog well-groomed during the heat with regular brushing.
6. Get a kids’ pool. Inexpensive children’s pools are generally on sale late in the summer; these make perfect swimming pools for dogs!
As you can see, just a few minutes of preparation can lead to some fun and healthy ways to beat the dog days of summer — without taking a toll on your budget.