We all love hot weather, but there is nothing worse than being entangled in a duvet on a hot night. While you can strip off the sheets on your bed, your dog is stuck with their warm coat. Dogs can overheat pretty quickly in hot weather, so what can you do to help them cool down at night?
In this guide we have put together all the information you need to know about cooling a dog down at night. Ignoring heat can lead to a number health complications and possibly even death in extreme circumstances. Before we get into ways to make your dog more comfortable, let’s look at a few different factors that can impact how your dog deals with heat.
Age and Health
Young puppies, older dogs and those with health conditions are much more likely to feel the effects of heat. This is because they are not as good at regulating their temperature when compared to healthy dogs.
Your Dog’s Breed and Coat
Different breeds are better or worse at dealing with hot weather. Dogs that have longer, thicker coats or those more suited to lower temperatures like Huskies are more likely to struggle in hot weather.
The colour of your dog’s coat can impact on their ability to deal with hotter temperatures as darker colours absorb more heat. However, as we are dealing with cooling a dog down at night, this should not have any impact.
Your Dog’s Heat Tolerance
Some dogs have developed a tolerance to living in hotter climates. If your dog has only experienced cold or mild temperatures and then gets hit by some hot weather, they are more likely to struggle.
The environment your dog is in can have a big impact on how hot they get at night. Is your house well ventilated or does it keep the heat in at night? Have you got air conditioning or can you open the windows to let heat out? All these things will impact how well you can cool your dog down at night.
How Do Dogs Dissipate Heat?
Instead of sweating, dogs reduce their body temperate by panting. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the pads of their paws, which help to dissipate heat, but not by much. If panting is not enough, a dog’s body temperature will rise and they can quickly overheat.
Health Concerns for Dogs at Night
Heatstroke and Overheating
Overheating is a major concern in hot weather. Dogs can get too hot and they may not be capable of bringing their body temperature down quickly enough to avoid nasty health complications.
Excessive panting and other signs of discomfort indicate overheating or heatstroke in dogs. Extreme cases can cause vomiting, weakness, seizures and possibly even death. Heatstroke is associated with a body temperature that is higher than 41 degrees Celsius.
Main Causes of Overheating and Heatstroke in Dogs
We have listed some of the main causes of heatstroke and overheating below:
- Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being stuck in an environment with no ventilation.
- Too much exercise.
- Diseases that increase the chance of developing hypothermia; such as heart diseases, paralysis of the voice box and other muscular related diseases.
- Any disease or sickness that restricts breathing.
- Poisoning from various different products or compounds such as weed killers and slug and snail bait. These chemicals can cause seizures which can lead to a rise in body temperature.
How to Treat a Dog with Heatstroke
It is incredibly important to reduce your dog’s body temperature if they are overheating or suffering from heat stroke. You must recognise the signs of overheating and then deal with them in a swift manner.
Try and immerse your dog’s body in cool water (not their head) or spray them with water from either a hose or water bottle. You can also try wrapping your dog in wet towels or using fans to cool them down. If possible, move your dog out of the hot environment and put them in a place that is cooler.
You should not use ice water to cool your dog down quickly as it can actually reduce the body’s ability to cool. Icy cold water can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict, which can slow down the cooling process. Additionally, drinking water should not be icy cold and never force your dog to drink, only encourage them to do so.
Always take your dog to be examined by a veterinarian if they have suffered from heat stroke. Your vet will be able to confirm that your dog’s normal body temperature has been reached, and that no damage has occurred.
The good thing is that heatstroke is very uncommon at night and is more of a concern during the day. You can read more about heatstroke in dogs here.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool at Night
Keeping your dog cool at night requires you to pay attention to environmental factors. You need to be aware of the temperature both outside and inside where your dog sleeps. There are some things that can’t be changed, but there are still plenty of things you can do to make your dog’s night a bit more comfortable.
Keep the Air Conditioning On
If your house has air conditioning, make sure you leave it on overnight. This will help to keep the room cool and will keep both you and your dog much more comfortable. If the air con doesn’t reach the room in which your dog sleeps, move them to a room that it does (if possible).
For those that don’t have air conditioning, try place a fan in front of where your dog sleeps and leave it on overnight.
Keep Their Water Topped Up
A dog should always have access to plenty of fresh water to drink, especially when it is hot. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated if they do not have access to water, so never leave them without any.
When it is hot we recommend that you provide an additional bowl of water or two, to make sure they never run out. You can also drop a few ice cubes in their bowl or fill it up from cool water from out of the fridge.
Give Them a Cool Surface
When dogs are hot they will naturally find the coolest place to lie down on. Floors that are made from tiles will be cooler than those that have a layer of carpet on them. In addition to this, your dog may not want to sleep on their bed as it may trap more heat.
If you do not have a cool floor to let your dog sleep on, we recommend that you use something like a cooling mat. This cooling mat from The Green Pet Shop is perfect for dogs that get too hot at night.
Move Your Dog Downstairs
If you have a multi-story house and your canine companion sleeps upstairs, you should move them downstairs if possible. They will be a lot cooler and more comfortable than being in a stuffy bedroom.
Purchase a Kiddie Pool for Your Dog
A plastic kiddie pool or dog wading pool filled with water is an excellent way to cool your dog down. Your dog’s body temperature will quickly reduce if they sit in it and they hold more than enough water for them to drink. However, a paddling pool filled with water probably isn’t going to work for dogs that sleep inside. Still, you can get your dog to lie in one before they go to bed to reduce their body temperature.
Give Them a Wet Blanket
Wetting a blanket and letting your dog lie on it is an excellent way of cooling them down. Replace your dog’s regular blanket and a wet towel and let them sleep on it at night. You can also cover your dog with a wet towel to cool them down if they are overheating or suffering from heatstroke.
Groom Your Dog
Regularly brushing your dog can help to remove any excess or old fur, which can trap heat close to the body. If your dog has a longer coat, you may want to consider getting it trimmed for the summer months.
Give Them Some Icy Treats
Dogs love treats and icy ones are an excellent way of getting your dog’s core body temperature down. Freeze some food like carrots or peas in ice cubes and let them have them before bedtime. You can also give your dog a plain ice cube, but don’t do this if they are suffering from heatstroke.
Concluding How to Keep a Dog Cool at Night
Keeping your dog cool when it is hot at night is really about managing environmental conditions and recognising when your dog is starting to overheat. If you are feeling too hot, then your dog is probably feeling the same way.