Nothing beats the bells and whistles of summer, with guaranteed long days out soaking up in the sun. However, one practical way to get the most of this warm and refreshing season is to take some time out for nature camping and enjoy the fresh air.
And so, you might want to include everyone else, especially your furry friend. However, the most significant challenge is keeping your dog safe and cool outdoors in hot weather.
If that causes a spin in your head, this article will give you tips and insights on how to keep your dog cool while camping.
Ensure Your Pooch is Healthy Enough to Handle the Heat
Perfect dog health is paramount to handling the heat in the hot summers. They usually don’t have the physiological capacity to tolerate heat and rely much on ambient temperatures. Technically, dogs’ normal body temperatures range between 100 and 1010 C, and any nuanced heat changes will cause them problems.
Feeding your dogs less fatty foods will prevent them from accumulating too much of it to alter heat dissipation. Even though they usually don’t expel heat through the skin, it alters their homeostatic activity, increasing heat retention.
Start training your dog by walking daily and taking them on shorter hikes. Give your dog time to build up stamina before taking them on a camping trip or outdoor adventures.
Dog Overheating? Know What to Look For
Sometimes it’s challenging to tell when your dog is going through hell with overheating. However, a few telltale signs are perfect indications that a dog is starting to experience heat exhaustion and would appreciate some little cooling. Especially so, controlling their temperatures outdoors can be challenging since there are no AC air conditioners except car camping to help them out. These signs will tell you that your dog needs some cooling off.
- Dog’s ears are too hot – Feel your dog’s ears. If it’s too hot than normal, it’s a sign that you need to put your dog in a shady spot, away from direct sunlight to avoid heat stroke.
- Excessive Panting – while dogs can normally pant on end, specific levels should act as a red sign for overheating. If your dog breathes as if they’ve just out from a run yet they’ve been still for long, take it as a telltale sign.
- Bright-Red Membranes – if your dog’s eyes and nasal membranes appear logged with blood such that they’re bright red, it’s apparent that they’re overheating and need your help. Normal membranes should be pink in color when blood flows through their veins normally.
- Extreme Salivation – if your furry friend drools more than they should, there’s an incredible chance that the heat is getting beyond their tolerance levels. Usually, the saliva is stickier and thicker to aid quick heat dissipation.
- Labored Breathing – Your dog may switch from frantic panting to labored breathing (heavy panting) showing as noisy and strenuous breathing. That means that your dog is trying hard to get some much-needed oxygen into its system for cooling.
- Inactivity – it’s typical to notice a drastic decrease in your dog’s activity, including increased sleep or trouble walking or standing up. Excessive heat usually weakens your dog’s body functions, altering their behavior.
If your dog showed signs of heat exhaustion or collapsed (especially older dogs), get them to the nearest vet immediately.
What Items Should you Pack for Your Pet?
How to keep dogs cool while camping? Bring essential gears and accessories that will help to keep your dog comfortable and enjoy nature.
While you might find patching some extra cooling accessories for your dog a bit hectic, it’ll prove helpful once your dog starts burning up during outdoor adventures. Keep in mind that everything is different outdoors than when indoors, and while your dog may love it out there, ambient heat could immensely disrupt them. Therefore, here’s what you need to add on your dog camping gear to keep your dog cool when camping.
A Cooling Dog Bed – cooling dog bed or cooling mat, can stay a few degrees cooler than room temperatures and can be perfect outdoors when the temperatures are way higher. You can even fill some with cold water or non-toxic gel to enhance their cooling capacities. That’ll help keep your furry friend cool and comfortable.
Pop-up sunshades – Pop-up shade add extra shady spot to hide under when the sun is scorching high. Of course, you might have to install them under trees or shades since that’ll keep them cooler and comfortable for your dogs to stay in.
- A cooling dog bandana – besides giving your dog some style, dog bandanas serve the functional purpose of keeping them cool. However, you must dip them in cool water before wrapping them on your dog’s neck. Nonetheless, ensure that it loosely grips the neck, so breathing isn’t a problem. You can also use wet towels if you do not have a bandana.
- Cooling vest – it works the same as cooling collar and cooling bandana. It is filled with gel that helps evaporate heat from your dog’s body.
- Dog-friendly sunscreen – since dogs are furry, you might question the essentiality of doggie sunscreen. There are special dog-friendly sunscreens you can slather on your dog to protect them from the ravages of the sun. This is essential for dogs with pink skin or short hair.
- Some booties – it’d be worthwhile if you get some shoes or boots for your dog’s paws to keep them warm. Especially so, walking on hot surfaces makes things worse for their dog paws, and they’re likely to get hot faster. Besides, dog booties prevent injuries and discomfort when the camping terrain is unforgiving, thus a valuable addition to their pack.
- Water bowl – Don’t forget to carry a drinking water and watering bowl since hot summers usually induce excessive dehydration. You can bring a collapsible water bowl so you can use it anywhere you go or anytime you need. Watering your dog more frequently can prove essential, especially if they favor running and jumping around in the warm weather.
- Kiddie pool – You can use this as DIY dog pool especially if you have Labrador retrievers. It is useful when camping trips with your dog especially if your campsite is far from fresh water, lake or stream. It can keep your dog stay cooler while camping.
If you love bringing your dogs camping at parks or campgrounds, some doggy shades can be a valuable addition to your dog’s camping pack. There’s no chance that doggy shades will keep your dog stay cool but will keep them more comfortable – and look cool. Dog shades help reduce the sun’s rays hitting their eyes and improve their camping experience.
What Activities Should You Avoid While Camping to Keep Your Canine Cool?
While all activities are fun during camping, it’s recommendable that you avoid certain activities. Or instead, you shouldn’t overdo them to levels that can put your dog in jeopardy. Here are the no-no’s when camping to keep your dog cool and comfortable.
- Wildlife chasing – while your dog loves to run and may get excited seeing things moving around them, try your best to stop them from chasing wildlife. Running around increases their bodies’ physiological processes and keeps their body heat high, which won’t be comfortable. However, try not to use your leash since that defies the camping purpose.
- Playing outdoor games in the hot sun – Avoid games that’ll make your dog pant or breathe incredibly hard. Some games are best played when the weather is cool and timid, including Frisbee fun and Fetch. Besides, some dogs – especially the fluffy breeds – won’t fancy staying longer in the sun and will be fine staying in shades.
- Lengthy trail walk – keep the trail walks short and less intensive to prevent your dog from overheating. Increased body vigor usually escalates your dog’s body temperature, and they’re likely to overheat.
A day or a couple more out camping in the sun with friends and family can feel refreshing. Especially so, tagging along with your furry friend can make your camping experience wholesome. While it may feel more comfortable for you, your pooch might find it challenging to cope with the heat outside.
However, that doesn’t imply that they should come out with you, but taking the necessary precaution will enable them to enjoy the trip with you. Hopefully, this article will help you keep your dog cool on your next canine camping adventure and give them an experience they’d cherish forever.