Hot dog! Dog feeling hot in the heat? Learn how to keep your dog cool, especially in the summer months!
How to Keep Dogs Cool
Is it hot out where you live? Chances are if you’re feeling hot, your dog is feeling hot too. Heat can be pretty dangerous for dogs, since they do not sweat like we humans do.
Dogs cool themselves by panting, which allows them to evaporate moisture from their lungs. However, if the air is too hot or humid, panting is not enough to keep a dog’s body temperature down. This can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition for dogs.
Some dogs can experience heatstroke more than others. These include dogs with thick fur, short muzzles, or those who have breathing problems. Elderly dogs and puppies are even more at risk.
Signs of Heatstroke in a Dog
The signs of heatstroke in a dog include:
- Panting heavily
- Rapid breathing
- Bright red gums
NOTE: If you see signs of heatstroke in your dog, take them to the vet immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal if it is not treated promptly.
But no worries! There are ways you can keep your dog cool and prevent heatstroke.
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Best Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer
Here are some ways to keep your dog cool in the summer heat:
- Provide plenty of fresh, cool water. Your dog should have access to fresh, cool water at all times, especially during hot weather. Add ice cubes to their water bowl to help keep it cool.
- Give cool snacks. Even dogs like cool treats in the heat! Watermelon is refreshing and hydrating for dogs. Try freezing fruit and yogurt, banana bites, peanut butter and fruit, and more. You can even chill some fresh dog food for your dog to enjoy.
- Brush your dog regularly. Brushing your dog’s fur helps to remove dead hair and dander, which can trap heat.
- Avoid strenuous exercise outside during hot weather. If you do take your dog for a walk, try to do it early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler. Be sure to take frequent breaks in the shade and offer your dog plenty of water. There are portable water bottles like these for dogs that are perfect for walks.
- Provide cool bedding. Some dog beds are designed to keep dogs warm, while others have cooling technology. Elevated dog beds like this one from Bedsure allow air to flow around them with breathable mesh and the slight lift off of the hot ground. They are a great option for keeping dogs cool, especially when outside. Bonus! They are portable AND easy to clean!
- Find shady spots for your dog to relax. If your dog is outside, make sure they have a shady spot to relax in. Sitting under trees on a hot day can be actually very refreshing!
- Consider using a cooling vest or mat. There are a variety of cooling vests and mats available that can help keep your dog cool. These products work by absorbing heat from your dog’s body and evaporating it.
- Take your dog swimming. Swimming is a great way for dogs to cool off on a hot day. Just be sure to supervise your dog closely and make sure they don’t overheat from playing too much in the water.
More Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool Inside
- No air conditioning? No worries! If you don’t have air conditioning, you can use fans to help circulate the air and keep your dog cool. There are even clip on fans for dog kennels if your dog is kennel trained.
- Create a cooling station. You can also create a DIY cooling station for your dog by placing a shallow bowl of cool water in front of a fan to create a slight misting effect.
- Going away? If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, make sure to leave your dog with a friend or family member who can check on them and make sure they have plenty of water.
Do not leave your dog in a hot car!
How to Keep a Dog Cool Outside
If your dog stays outdoors throughout the day, make sure you provide ways to stay cool when it’s hot outside.
TIP: Before you leave your dog outside for an extended period of time, make sure to follow any local dog ordinances that are in place to keep dogs safe when outside. For example, in my area, a dog left outside for longer than 30 minutes in temps above 92o F, even with access to a dog house or other structure, is a neglected dog and the owner is subject to a fine.
Some ways to keep dogs cool outside include:
- Providing enough fresh cool water. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh cool water easily available.
- Making sure there’s enough reliable shade. If your dog’s outdoor area is under a tree, that might not be enough since as the sun moves, the area of shade moves as well. It’s probably a good idea to get a sunblocking kennel canopy, a pop-up tent, or a pet bed canopy to help provide continuous shade.
- Hanging rechargeable clip on fans to kennels. If there’s no breeze, a rechargeable portable fan would be great to hang on a kennel to provide air movement.
- Filling a small dog pool with cool water. Some dogs enjoy laying in a small doggie pool on hot days.
- Using an elevated bed. Just like inside, elevated beds provide a cooler resting experience than traditional dog beds. They’re easy to clean, so if they get messy outside they can be hosed off.
- Bringing your dog inside as often as possible for breaks. Give your dog a chance to come inside whenever possible to take a break from the heat and humidity. My two dogs love to spend time out on our deck or in the yard, but they’re always able to come back into the house through a magnetic mesh screen in our solarium.
You could also use a cooling mat for your pet, but if your pet is prone to chewing things, only use one under supervision when outside.
Is Your Dog Staying Cool?
By following these tips, you can help keep your dog cool and safe during the summer months.
Have any other suggestions? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Many thanks to Bedsure for providing these awesome elevated cooling beds for Ruby and Keeva! You can find these elevated dog beds here.