A happy chihuahua amongst some tall grass.

It’s hot outside! Summer is here at last, and it has come in the form of soaring temperatures and miserable pancake dogs lying all over. If your chihuahua is less than enthused about the heat, we’ve got a few ways to cool them down, as well as some tips on how to keep them safe during extreme temperatures.

Safety first

Never leave your chihuahua in a car during hot weather. Just 70F outside (21.1C) can send temperatures as high as 103F (39.4C) inside the car. A few minutes to get groceries may end up being deadly for your pet, even if you park in shade.

If you’re taking your dog to the beach to escape from the heat, make sure you have a plan in place for what to do if you need to leave your car. This might include leaving the A/C on in the car, bringing a friend to stay with the dog, or bringing the dog inside if it’s a dog friendly store.

You should also avoid walking during the hottest part of the day and check the pavement with your bare skin before walking your dog on it. If it feels hot to your skin, it is definitely going to feel hot to your dog’s feet.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

If your pet loves to bounce around despite the heat, they can sometimes get themselves into a spot of trouble in extreme heat. If your dog is:

  • Lethargic
  • Heavily Panting
  • Has thick, sticky saliva
  • Has a temperature above 103F (39.4C)
  • Collapses
  • Dry or sticky gums
  • Seizures

Your dog may be suffering from heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. If your dog collapses from the heat, find shade or a cooler are and poor cool, but not cold water over his body. Cold water can shock the dog, but cool water will help bring down his temperature slowly.

You can also use a fan to help blow cool air on the dog to try and reduce their temperature. If your dog’s temperature has exceeded 103F (39.4C) you should take your dog to the vet as they may need more treatment to avoid long term health problems.

How to keep your pet cool

Of course, no one wants to end up at the vet for heat related health problems, so how do we keep our pets cool in the first place?

You can help cool off your dog by adding ice to their water, or even making them their own doggie popsicles. You can make your own by freezing broth in a popsicle mold. It’s fine to add bits of shredded chicken or other treats into the mold so your pup gets a fun surprise as they lick their treat.

You can also help keep them hydrated by switching to wet pet food during a heat wave, or wetting down their kibble so they’re getting more moisture. You can also freeze a kong to keep them busy and cool during the summer months.

Damp towels

You can also leave a damp towel out for your pet to lay on. Dogs cool from the bottom up, so it’s better for them to lay on the towel than have it draped over them. If your chihuahua is open to a kiddie pool this can also be an option but know that our chihuahuas have universally rejected the idea.

Escape to the beach

When things get hot for us, we often head to the beach, the river, or other cool retreats for relief. If you find relief in going to the beach, there’s no reason your chihuahuas won’t! Bring them along, just have a plan for how to keep your pet safe if you need to get out.

Your dog may not enjoy going in the water, but it’s often 10 degrees cooler at the beach. Check brinfido.com to help find a dog friendly beach or lake near you if you’re not sure what the rules are for your favorite one.

Avoid walking in the heat of the day

This should be obvious, but don’t take your dog out in the hottest part of the day. Walk your pet in the early morning and late evening when the temperature is lower. Avoid intensely exercising your dog, and check the pavement with your bare skin before letting your dog walk on it. If it’s not comfortable to your bare skin, your dog’s paws will burn if he walks on it.

If your dog is clearly stressed by the heat, take them back home early. It’s better to carry your dog home than to deal with heat exhaustion.

What are your best tricks for helping your chihuahua beat the heat? Share it with us in the comments below!

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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