Keeping dogs cool during hot days is extremely important: canines don’t have as many sweat glands as humans do to keep themselves cool, so they’re not able to regulate their body temperature as effectively. Once a dog’s body temperature rises over 104°F, its cooling mechanisms (such as panting) stop working properly, leading to heat stroke. Dogs are also more susceptible to heatstroke than cats, because while the latter can regulate their body temperature by grooming or resting in cooler places, dogs produce more heat through physical activity.

Count The Cost

The most compelling argument against leaving the air conditioner on all day for our pets in the summer has to be the cost. It’s not just bad for your wallet; it’s also bad for the environment. However, adding a pet pooch to the equation complicates matters. If you see your dog always sitting by the air conditioner during hot days, it probably needs it to stay cool. When you do need to use the air conditioner, cold air could seep out through poorly maintained seals and other cracks. It’s a good idea to get a home energy audit from your utility provider or a contractor to figure out how to make your home use energy more efficiently. And of course, make sure that you’re using your air conditioner efficiently by making sure that it’s working correctly. Proper maintenance can make your air conditioner more efficient, saving you money.

Not All Dogs Are Alike

While some dogs will do fine without having the air conditioner on all day, some are more sensitive to changes in temperature. For example, dogs with short snouts like Pugs and Griffons are susceptible to overheating, as are overweight dogs, senior dogs, and dogs on medication. Dogs with thick fur coats — such as Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds — are more likely to overheat. Meanwhile, dogs with single coats may get uncomfortable if they spend too much time in close quarters with air conditioning vents, so make sure to keep their bed or crate far from the air conditioner.

Some pet owners choose to shave their dogs during the summer to help them keep cool. However, it’s not a good idea to shave dogs with double coats. Double coated dogs have two layers of fur: the fine, fluffy undercoat, and the tougher topcoat. These coats act as insulation and keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Shaving double coated dogs can ruin their coat, leaving them with a patchy look and making them even more vulnerable to the weather. Double coated dogs do shed during the summer, but if you feel like your dog needs more help staying cool, regular baths and grooming is the best way to do so. And, of course, turn on the conditioner when you need to.

Other Ways To Keep Your Pooch Cool

Simply cranking up your air conditioner every time the weather gets warm can get expensive. To keep the heat of the sun out of your home, keep the curtains drawn but the windows open to let in breezes, and keep your home well-ventilated. Even just keeping a fan on to circulate the air can help dogs stay cool.

Pet owners can help keep their dogs cool by putting ice in their water or giving them ice treats. Letting your dog play in water can also help them cool down. Keep your dog out of the midday heat, and always make sure to keep your dog’s water bowl filled, whether or not you use an air conditioner.

 Because all dogs are different, it’s best to keep a close watch at your dog to see if they really need an air conditioner. Though it may be expensive, an air conditioner is often the best method for keeping pets cool. Focus on keeping your dog comfortable, and take it from there.

About the Author: Now working as a writer, Jackie started her career as a veterinary nurse and has always been an animal lover –  but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local animal welfare charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after, including a sparky whippet called Charlie.