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How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Hot Summer Weather: 8 Effective Tips

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog standing on a car seat cover

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Hot Summer Weather: 8 Effective Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Hot summer weather means fun in the sun, swimming, cookouts, and eating popsicles. However, summer weather can be grueling for dogs, especially those with thick coats like Siberian Huskies or Australian Shepherds. As a dog owner, knowing how to keep your dog safe in the hot summer weather is important.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through important steps to take in order to keep your doggo from overheating or, even worse, getting heatstroke. Most dogs love outdoor fun, but it must be done safely in the summer heat. Read on to learn how to keep your dog cool in the hot summer weather.

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The 8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Hot Summer

1. Hydrate

Keeping your dog hydrated is crucial in avoiding dehydration. Whether you’re in the backyard or on a walk, ensure you have fresh, cool water for your pooch. You can buy easy-to-carry water bottles and bowls to carry on your adventures, especially if your dog will not have easy access to water, such as on a hike.

dog drinking water
Image By: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

2. Invest in a Cooling Bed or Jacket

Cooling beds can help your dog cool off comfortably. Some dogs have thick coats, and providing a cooling bed will help keep your dog cool during a nap or at nighttime. Cooling beds have gel beads that take the heat away from your dog’s body. Dogs can only sweat through their paw pads, and panting helps cool them down, too. Cooling jackets encourage evaporation of water through the mesh vest keeping your dog cool. Providing your dog with a cooling bed or jacket will help bring its internal temperature down.


3. Take Frequent Breaks

When outside playing, especially if there is no shade, it’s imperative that you take frequent breaks. Take your dog inside for a nice cool drink of water and provide some air conditioning. If you have tile, your dog will love to lay on the cool surface, which will help cool your dog down, much like a cooling bed. Watch your dog for signs of overheating, and remember to always provide fresh, cool water.

weimaraner dog sitting on owner's laps
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

4. Provide Frozen Treats

Dogs love frozen treats, and frozen treats will help cool your dog off, all while providing a tasty snack. Frozen treats also help keep your dog hydrated and are super easy to make. Does your dog like peanut butter? If so, try freezing dog-safe peanut butter into a Kong, but ensure the peanut butter has no xylitol or added sugars and preservatives.

Frozen fruit makes a tasty frozen treat, and you can even jazz it up with a cute paw ice tray. Fruits that make excellent frozen treats are blueberries, watermelons, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, mangos, and pineapple. Just pour whatever fruit you select into a blender with ice cubes, blend, pour into an ice tray, and voilà.


5. Provide Shade

While outdoors, ensure there is plenty of shading from trees, a canopy, or even a patio umbrella. Avoiding direct sunlight to your dog’s body will help keep your dog from becoming overheated so quickly. Also, ensure whatever you’re using for a shade allows airflow. If you have a doggy door installed in your home, that’s fantastic! That way, your pup can come inside when it gets too hot.

white dog resting under the tree shade
Image By: Pezibear, Pixabay

6. Avoid Exercise During the Hottest Times of Day

The best time to take your canine pal for a walk or play with other doggie friends is the morning or late afternoon/early evening when it’s the coolest in the summer months. Avoid the middle part of the day, as this is the hottest time.

An important note we want to make is to ensure the pavement is not too hot. Hot pavement can burn your dog’s pads, which will lead to discomfort and possibly an infection. A good way to test if the pavement is too hot is to place the back of your hand on the surface and leave for 5 seconds; if the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s pads. To be safe (if your dog will allow it without too much fuss), you can buy dog boots for extra protection.


7. Take a Dip

If you have a lake your dog fancies, by all means, go for a dip. Have a swimming pool? Terrific! Live near an ocean? Go to the beach and let your dog cool off in the water. Labradors particularly like the water and would be happy to splash around on a hot summer’s day. If you take your dog to the beach, watch your dog’s water intake, as too much salt water can cause diarrhea and other health issues.

Dog in a pool_Anthony Duran_Unsplash
Image By: Anthony Duran, Unsplash

8. Invest in a Raised Cot

Raised cots, or raised dog beds, are a great idea for outside because it helps keep air circulation, which in turn helps cool your dog off. These cots are portable, easy to carry, and excellent for camping trips. You can even buy one with a canopy for added comfort and shading, and you can place a bowl of ice underneath to keep the area under the cot extra cool.

How to Spot Signs of Heatstroke

Now that you know eight tips on keeping your dog cool during the hot summer months, would you know the signs of heatstroke in your dog? If your dog gets overheated, heatstroke can certainly set in, and that’s a dangerous situation. Heatstroke happens when your dog’s body temperature becomes elevated. Symptoms to watch for are rapid, labored breathing, abnormal gum color, dry or sticky gums, bruising of the gums, lethargy, disorientation, and ultimately, seizures.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and if you suspect your dog has heatstroke, it’s crucial to bring the body temperature down until your dog can be seen by your veterinarian. Pour cool (not cold) water on your dog’s head, paws, stomach, and armpits. Cool cloths can be placed on these areas. However, ensure you replace them continually, as the cloths will retain heat.

sick dog
Image Credit: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

The heat inside a parked car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even if a window is cracked. Consequently, 28 states have certain laws pertaining to this issue. Some have restrictions, some protect law enforcement and citizens that break into cars to rescue pets, and some have banned it completely. If you can’t leave your vehicle running with the AC on, it’s best to leave your dog at home.

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Conclusion

Summertime is a time to be outside enjoying the warm (or hot) weather, and your dog will probably want to enjoy it with you. However, ensure you put these eight steps into place when outside with your dog. Remember to keep your dog hydrated and always provide fresh water. Make up frozen treats for those hot summer days, and take frequent breaks from the heat. In taking these measures, your doggo can enjoy the summertime, too, no matter the breed.

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Featured Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

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