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How to Keep Dogs Cool Outside During Summer

Beat the Heat: Essential Tips to Keep Your Furry Friend Cool in the Sultry Days of Summer

As the temperature rises during the hot season, humans are not the only ones who suffer. Our canine buddy, too, will be uncomfortable. The difference is dogs are more prone to overheating and dehydration in hot weather, leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death.

Keeping our canine companions cool and comfortable during the scorching summer months is crucial, especially when they spend much time outdoors or have thick coats.

So, for new pet parents, this article will be helpful as you will learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, plus some practical tips to keep your pup cool and safe under the weather.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion And Heatstroke

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can happen when dogs are exposed to hot and humid weather conditions for a prolonged period or have excessive exercise. However, heatstroke is a more severe and potentially life-threatening condition than heat exhaustion.

When a dog’s body temperature rises above normal levels, typically around 102°F, heat exhaustion kicks in. If nothing is done to cool down immediately, it will escalate to a heatstroke at 104°F and above.

Especially if your dog is overweight, has thick fur, or is of the short-snout breed (brachycephalic breeds), it is at a higher risk for heat exhaustion. The common symptoms of heat exhaustion are excessive salivation, panting, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

French Bulldog Puppy with Excessive Salivation

In any case, if you notice any unusual behavior, you should treat it as a potential sign of heat exhaustion. Go to a shady place immediately to let your dog drink and rest. Or go home. Better be safe than sorry.

However, if your dog is experiencing muscle tremors, wobbly or staggering gait, uncoordinated movement, loss of consciousness, or seizures, rush it to the vet immediately. Those are signs of heatstroke. Especially when it is in a seizure, the body temperature is dangerously high.

Prevention is Always Better Than Cure

Heat exhaustion in dogs is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment to prevent potential harm or mortality. But the best treatment is still prevention. Every pet owner should pay extra attention to potential heat-related issues during the hot season.

Keep Your Dog Hydrated at All Times

Dogs are like humans. They also need to stay hydrated to maintain optimal health and prevent heatstroke. When dehydrated, dogs can experience various health problems, including lethargy, dry mouth, sunken eyes, and loss of appetite. Therefore, it is essential to keep your dog hydrated, especially when engaging in outdoor activities during the summer season.

One way to ensure your dog stays hydrated is to provide them with easy access to water. You can do this by having a portable water bowl and a water bottle on hikes and other outdoor activities, so your dog can drink water whenever needed.

Black Dog Drinking From a Portable Bowl or Bottle

And it’s important to note that dogs can get dehydrated quickly, so it’s best to bring more water than you think you’ll need.

Another way to keep your dog hydrated is by giving them cold water. This can help lower their body temperature and prevent overheating. You can also add ice cubes to their water bowl or freeze some water in a container to create a refreshing frozen treat for your furry friend.

At home, give them plenty of water to sip throughout the day. And it is a good idea to get an automatic water dispenser so they can get sufficient clean drinking water throughout the day. That will also save you the trouble of refilling it every few hours, as with bowls.

Avoid Strenuous Exercise

Exercising during hot weather can put your pet’s health at risk. One way to avoid excessive exercise is by taking shorter walks and less strenuous activities. Short walks are ideal for dogs, as they reduce the probability of overheating and dehydration, lowering the risk of heatstroke.

Another way to avoid exercising excessively during the hot weather is by staying indoors. You can still engage your dog in indoor activities such as playing with toys, learning new tricks, or practicing obedience training. This can help keep them entertained and active while avoiding the heat.

Lastly, when you decide to go out for a long walk or engage in more strenuous activities, it’s best to do it during the cooler parts of the day. Early mornings or late evenings are lovely times for exercising with your pet as the temperature is cooler, and the Sun is not as intense.

Shade And Ventilation

Providing plenty of shade for your dog is essential to keep them cool and comfortable during the midday heat. You can use a canopy tent or an outdoor parasol to create a shady spot in the backyard or porch. This can help block the Sun’s heat and keep your dog cool anytime they need a rest from outdoor activities.

Canopies and umbrellas are available in different sizes and shapes, making it easy to find one that fits your dog’s needs. And be sure to provide a comfortable bed for your dog to rest on and a bowl of water beside it to keep them hydrated. Outdoor Sun Shades for Pets – Amazon

CoolerDog Pop Up Shade Oasis Dog Shade UV Sun Protection, Large

Besides providing adequate shade, proper ventilation should also be considered. A well-ventilated area will allow air circulation and prevent your furry friend from getting too warm. You can also place a standing fan at its favorite resting area to keep the place cool and airy.

Remember: Besides water, shade and ventilation are as important to keep your pup safe and happy during the hot summer.

Stay Cool and Have Fun Under the Sun

You can still let your canine friends play and exercise under the scorching Sun while keeping them cool. Dogs love water, and a kiddie pool will allow them to have some outdoor fun and cool off at the same time.

There are different types of dog pools available in the market. Foldable dog pools are a popular option as they are easy to set up and store. They come in various sizes and shapes, making finding one that fits your dog’s needs easy.

2 Dogs Playing in a Foldable Dog Pool

Setting up a dog pool is a breeze. Simply choose a flat and level area in your yard for the pool, then fill it with clean and fresh water and make sure to change the water regularly to keep it clean. Add some toys or treats to the pool to make it more fun and exciting for your furry friend.

Lastly, setting up a dog pool doesn’t have to cost a lot. Foldable kiddie or dog pools are affordable and can be found in most pet stores or online. They are also durable and can last several years with proper care and maintenance.

Use Cooling Products

Using cooling products is an excellent way to keep your dog cool and comfortable during hot weather. These products are designed to absorb body heat and help reduce heat stress probability, making them an essential item for pet owners.

One of the most popular cooling products for dogs is a cooling vest. These vests are lightweight and made of breathable materials that absorb and retain water. When the vest is soaked in water, it activates the cooling properties and helps to keep dogs cool for several hours.

Cooling vests are available in different sizes and styles, making it easy to find one that fits your dog’s needs.

SGODA Dog Cooling Vest Harness Cooler Jacket Grey Green Large

Another popular cooling product is a cooling mat. These mats are made of special materials that absorb and dissipate body heat. They are ideal for dogs who like to lie down and rest during warm weather. Cooling mats come in different sizes and thicknesses to fit any dog size and needs.

Chillz Dog Cooling Mat, Extra Large - Pressure Activated Cooling Mat for Dogs

Cooling bandanas are also a popular product that can help to keep dogs cool during the hot Summer days. These bandanas’ materials are lightweight and breathable, good at absorbing and retaining water, similar to cooling vests. They are easy to tie around your dog’s neck to provide immediate relief from the heat.

EXPAWLORER Dog Cooling Bandana Set - 4 Pack Hawaii Dog Bandana, Summer Triangle Scarfs Bibs with Cute Fruit Patterns for Small Medium Large Dogs

However, it’s important to note that cooling products are not a substitute for other precautions, such as limiting your dog’s time in the Sun, providing shade, and ensuring access to fresh and clean water. But they are excellent tools to use along with other measures to keep your dog cool and comfortable during the hot weather.

Stay Indoors to Stay Out of Troubles

One of the best ways to keep your dog cool and away from the Summer heat is to stay indoors. When the temperature outside is too hot, it’s important to keep your furry friend inside to prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Staying indoors will keep your dog cool and comfortable and provides them with a safe and secure environment. Dogs can become anxious or stressed when exposed to extreme heat, so staying indoors can help them feel more relaxed and at ease.

You can still keep your dog active and entertained while indoors with dog toys. The right toys can provide mental stimulation and physical activity, which can help to deal with boredom and promote overall well-being.

Various types of dog toys are available, including puzzle, chew, and interactive toys. You will have no problem finding one your dog loves and enjoys playing with. dog loves and enjoys playing with.

Other Safety Precautions

Never Leave Your Dog in the Car Without Supervision

A dog inside a stationary car alone.

Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature as effectively as humans and are more susceptible to heatstroke. So leaving your dog inside a parked car, even with cracked windows, can quickly lead to heat exhaustion, dehydration, and organ failure. This can occur within minutes, and it can be fatal.

If you need to run errands or go somewhere that doesn’t allow dogs, it’s best to leave your furry friend at home. If this is not possible, turn on the air conditioning in your car before leaving your dog inside. This will help keep the temperature inside the car cool and comfortable for your dog.

And it’s important to note that leaving your dog in the car, even with the air conditioning, can still be problematic. That’s because anxiety might kick in when the dog stays too long in a confined space.

Stay Away From Hot Surfaces

Surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and even sandy beaches can reach high temperatures that can burn your dog’s paw pads. Therefore, taking precautionary measures to protect your furry friend is essential.

The best way to protect your dog’s paws is by avoiding hot surfaces altogether. But this can be challenging during the hot weather, so it’s important to be mindful of the surfaces your dog is walking on. If you notice the surface is hot, try to walk your dog on grass or a shaded area with a cooler surface instead.

Another way to protect your dog’s paws is by using dog boots. These boots protect your dog’s paws from hot surfaces and other hazards. They are available in different sizes and styles, so finding one that fits your dog should be easy.

81BLqwGfjNL. AC SL1500

Please note that dog boots may take time for your dog to get used to. So it’s best to introduce them before the Summer months and train them to accept gradually by rewarding the dog with treats and praise to make the experience positive.

Never Do This to Cool Down Your Dog

According to the American Kennel Club, “Shaving a double-coated dog can actually make it harder for them to cool off.”

It is not recommended to shave your dog with the idea of cooling them during the Summer months, as it can negatively affect its health and well-being. Dogs have a natural fur coat that helps regulate their body temperature, and shaving can interfere with this natural process.

Here’s what shaving can lead to:

  • Skin irritation, sunburn, and other skin problems can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog.
  • Shaving can affect the quality of the dog’s coat as it is a natural barrier against the Sun, dirt, and other elements.
  • It can cause the coat to grow back unevenly, affecting its protective qualities. Furthermore, some breeds of dogs should never be shaved, as their coat serves as insulation from both heat and cold. Such breeds include Huskies, Malamutes, and other breeds with double coats.
  • The worst is shaving can potentially cause skin allergies, which can be challenging to treat.

Instead of shaving your dog, it’s best to provide them with proper grooming and maintenance during hot weather. This involves regular brushing and trimming to remove excess hair and prevent matting.

So please spare the dog’s fur coat unless it’s for a medical reason. And don’t feel ‘hot’ for your furry buddy with a double coat. They should be cool and happy as long as they are well-hydrated and not under the Sun in the hottest hours.

Extra Care for the Hairless Breed

If you think it is easier to keep the hairless breed dogs, such as Chinese Crested or Mexican Hairless, cool during the burning Summer months, you are probably right. But they have different health issues under the Sun, which can be more difficult to treat.

Three Mexican hairless dogs outdoors on a summer day

When exposed to the Sun’s UV rays often and for a long time, hairless dogs are more likely to suffer serious health problems. They are more susceptible to skin cancer than their furry counterparts, especially in vulnerable places like the ears and nose, where the skin is thin and unprotected.

And without a layer of fur to shield off direct sunlight, sunburn is a common issue that causes discomfort and pain, leading to skin irritation, itching, and redness.

It’s essential to provide the hairless breed dogs with a shaded area to rest and limit their time in the Sun to protect them from the harmful effects of sunlight. Applying pet-safe sunscreen to their skin can also help prevent sunburn and skin damage.

Epi-Pet K-9 Care Sunscreen, Paws to Tail Protection, Prevents Sunburns on Dogs and Horses, Sun Protector Spray, SPF 30+, Non-Greasy/Oily Solution – 3.5 oz

Though they may not have fur to trap heat, it’s also important to keep the hairless breed dogs cool and hydrated during the hot weather. Just like what you would do to the furry breed, ensure they have access to fresh and clean water and provide them with a cooling mat or other cooling products to help regulate their body temperature.

Conclusion – Hydration, Shade, And Nutrition

Like humans, dogs, regardless of breed, must stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid heat stroke or dehydration. Make sure your pup has access to cool water at all times. And it is essential to replace the water regularly as standing water can rapidly become unhealthy.

Aside from drinking plenty of water, proper nutrition is essential in maintaining your dog’s health during hot weather. Avoid feeding your dog heavy meals as it may cause indigestion or discomfort. Instead, opt for light and nutritious food such as fruits (with no seeds), vegetables, or wet foods with high moisture content. Or you can make them frozen treats from their favorite vegetables and fruits.

Keeping your dog hydrated with ice water and serving nutritious food will make them feel comfortable and improve their overall well-being during the scorching summer months.

And don’t forget to provide adequate shade for your dog to take refuge from the hottest time of the day. A more permanent solution is to grow more trees if you have the land, as they provide natural shade and also help cool your property.


How do you keep your dog cool and safe in the hot Summer months? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

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