How to Keep Dogs Cool in Summer: 12 Tips for Protecting Against Heat Stroke

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We Love Our Dogs, and We Want What’s Best for Them. But, When the Temperature Outside Starts to rise, It’s Important to be aware of the dangers heat can pose to our furry friends.

Summer heat can be tough on dogs, especially those with short snouts who can’t pant as effectively to regulate their own body temperature. Heat stroke can occur in extreme cases and is fatal if not treated immediately. So in this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to keep dogs cool in summer.

When it’s hot outside, it’s important to remember the signs of heatstroke in dogs. If it’s too hot outside for you, then it’s too hot for your dog. Make sure to keep them cool and safe during this time.

Call your vet immediately if you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke. While you are on the phone with your vet, move your dog to a cool place, give them water to drink, and pour tepid water over their body.

We advise using room-temperature (tepid) water when getting urgent veterinary advice. We think that every dog deserves the best possible care, which would require personalized veterinary guidance. After a vet has made a diagnosis of heat stroke, we support the use of cold water.

Heatstroke in dogs

You might think, “my dog has a fur coat; how could they possibly get heatstroke?” Well, it’s easier than you might think.

A dog’s fur coat can insulate its body and trap heat, especially if it’s a thick coat. And while all dogs can suffer heatstroke, certain breeds are more susceptible, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Chow chow, French mastiff, Greyhounds, and Golden retrievers.

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke if a dog’s internal temperature gets too high. This can be caused by exposure to hot weather or even exercise on a warm day. Overheating and heat stroke symptoms include heavy panting, drooling, lethargy, weakness, and collapse.

If you think your dog may be suffering from heat stroke, it is essential to act quickly. Take them to a cool place, indoors or in the shade, and offer them water.

You can also apply cool towels to their body, but do not use ice water, as this can cause shock. If your dog’s condition does not improve, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Panting beagle
Panting is often a sign that your dog is too hot

Summer Skin and Coat

Another thing to be aware of in the summer is your dog’s skin and coat. The skin is the largest organ in the body and can be susceptible to sunburn and other damage from the heat. Light-colored fur can reflect sunlight but doesn’t offer much protection from UV rays. Dogs with short coats are also at risk for sunburn.

Your dog’s coat can also suffer in the summer heat. If your dog has a long coat, it is essential to brush them regularly to avoid matting and tangled fur. The coat can also trap heat, so you may consider having your dog groomed in the summer.

Are Beagles Hypoallergenic?
Regularly brushing helps remove loose and dead hair, keeping your dog cool

Dog’s paws

Check the pavement on very warm days, there is a risk the pavement may be too hot for your dog’s paws.

It’s worth checking the tarmac before you head out for a walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If that is the case, stick to the grass or wait until the temperature drops.

Dehydration in dogs

Dehydration is another serious concern in the summer heat.

Dogs can lose a lot of water through panting and sweating and need to replace that fluid. Dehydration is a severe condition leading to organ damage, so it’s important to ensure your dog stays hydrated in the summer heat.

Signs of dehydration include lethargy, weakness, dry gums, and sunken eyes. If you think your dog may be dehydrated, offer them small amounts of water or an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte. If your dog shows severe dehydration, such as vomiting or diarrhea, seek veterinary attention immediately.

That’s why it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep your dog cool and prevent them from getting too hot in the first place.

12 Best Ways to keep your dog cool in summer

A great image from the Dogs Trust Facebook page

1. Provide shade

The best way to keep your dog cool is to provide them with shade. If you’re spending time outside, bring along a portable shady spot for your dogs to relax, such as an umbrella or pop-up canopy. You can also put shade cloth in your yard to provide a cool spot for your dog to lie down.

It’s important to note that not all surfaces are created equal regarding heat. For example, pavement can get incredibly hot during summer, making it uncomfortable for your dog to walk on.

If your ground is too hot to keep your hand on, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. In these cases, it’s best to provide a mat or towels for your dog to lie on.

2. Offer frozen treats and toys

A way to help your dog cool down is to offer them frozen treats and toys. You can make your frozen dog treats at home using ingredients like peanut butter, yogurt, and bananas. Or you can purchase pre-made frozen dog treats from the store.

You can also freeze your dog’s favorite toys to give them something cool to play with. Kongs are a great option, as you can stuff them with wet food or peanut butter and then freeze them.

3. Cooling gear to help your dog sweat

If your dog is a heavy sweater, a few cooling gear options can help absorb the sweat and keep them cool. The first is a cooling coat, which is a vest that is lined with a cooling material.

These work great for dogs that have to be outside in the heat for long periods of time, such as those that work in law enforcement or the military.

Another option is to use a cooling bandana or scarf. These are soaked in water and then placed around your dog’s neck. As they sweat, the bandana or scarf will absorb the moisture and help to keep them cool.

Other cooling gears for dogs include cool dog beds and mats, providing a cool spot for your dog to lie down on.

4. Take frequent breaks

Outdoor activities are great for you and your dog, but taking frequent breaks is important to avoid over-heating. If you’re going on a hike, bring along plenty of water for both you and your dog, and take a break every 20 minutes or so to give your dog a chance to rest in the shade.

If you’re spending time at the beach, take plenty of breaks in the shade, and don’t forget to rinse your dog off with fresh water every so often to help them stay calm.

5. Keep your house cool

One option is to use air conditioning when you are looking for ways to keep your dog indoors. But not all dogs enjoy the blast of cold air, and some may even be allergic to it. In these cases, you can use fans near the dog bed to help circulate the air and keep your dog cool.

Take advantage of the mild temperatures at night by opening the windows and letting in some fresh air. Just make sure to use screens to keep bugs out.

6. Give your dog a haircut

Dogs with long coats may benefit from a trim to help them stay cool in the summer heat. But don’t go too short – you don’t want to shave their coat down to the skin. A good rule of thumb is only to trim off the length of their coat.

This will help them stay cooler without sacrificing too much of their protection from the sun. If you’re not comfortable giving your dog a haircut, you can always take them to a professional groomer.

7. Give unlimited access to water

One of the important things you can do to help your dog stay cool in the summer heat is to ensure they always have access to fresh, clean water. Fill up a bowl before you leave the house, and if you’re going to be gone for a few hours, consider investing in an automatic water dispenser.

These dispensers can be filled with water and then left out for your dog to drink from whenever they’re thirsty. You can also add a little ice to their water bowl to help keep it cool.

Hydration is key to keeping your dog cool and comfortable in the summer heat, so make sure they’re always able to get access to water.

Always ensure dogs have access to fresh drinking water
Always ensure dogs have access to fresh drinking water

8. Let your dog swim

Swimming is an excellent way for your dog to stay cool in the summer heat. If you have a pool, ensure it’s fenced so your dog can’t accidentally fall in. You can also take your dog to a lake or pond to let them swim. Keep an eye on them, as dogs can tire quickly when swimming.

If you have no access to a body of water, you can always give your dog a pool of their own to cool off in. These can be found at most pet stores and easily set up in your backyard. Just empty and refill the pool often to keep the water clean.

Swimming is a great way to keep dogs cool
Swimming is a great way to keep dogs cool

9. Avoid hot pavement

Hot pavement is one of the most common ways dogs get burned in the summer. The pavement can get incredibly hot, especially during a heat wave, and can cause serious burns on your dog’s paws. Take your dog for walks on the grass whenever possible.

If you must walk on pavement, do it during the cooler hours of the day and avoid walking on the blacktop or other dark-colored surfaces, as they tend to absorb more heat. You can also put booties on your dog’s feet to protect their paws from the hot pavement.

10. Avoid walking in hot temperatures

If you feel the temperature is too hot, it’s probably too hot for your dog. Avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day, and stick to shady or grassy areas to help keep your dog cool. When walking during the heat of the day, take frequent breaks in the shade and bring enough water for you and your dog.

11. Exercise at cooler times of the day

If your dog loves to exercise, that’s great! Just be sure to do it during the cooler hours of the day to help them stay cool. Avoid exercising in the heat of the day, as this can put your dog at risk for overheating. Stick to morning or evening walks, and take plenty of water breaks.

11. Never leave your dog in a parked car

The worst thing you can do in the summer heat is to leave your dog in a parked car. The car temperature can rise very quickly, even on a mild day, and can easily reach dangerous levels. Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather!

You should leave them at home if you’re going to be away for more than a few minutes. This is one summertime danger that is easily avoidable, so make sure never to leave your dog in a parked hot car.

12. Keep an eye on body language

A way to tell if your dog is too hot is to pay attention to their body language. If they’re panting heavily, drooling excessively, or seem weak or lethargic, it’s a sign of your dog being sick if they’re overheating and need to cool down.

If you see these signs, move your dog to a cooler location, give them water to drink, and apply a cool compress to their body. If they don’t improve within 30 minutes, call your veterinarian.

These tips help keep your pup cool in the summer heat. Taking some simple precautions can help ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable all season long.

How do dogs naturally cool down?

It’s no surprise that dogs cool themselves by panting. When dogs pants, they draw in cool air and exhale hot air. This is their natural way of cooling down, as the saliva’s evaporation helps lower their body temperature.

This process helps to regulate their body temperature and keep them from overheating.

Most dogs also sweat through their paws, which helps to cool them down. However, this is not as effective as panting, as only a tiny amount of heat is lost through the paws. However, in extreme heat, this may not be enough. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What temperature is too hot for dogs?

Dogs should not be outside for more than 10 minutes at a time when the temperature is above 80 Fahrenheit.

Does wetting a dog cool it down?

You may wet the dogs by drenching the coat with cool water but avoid using cold water as it can cause shock. You can apply a cool, damp cloth to the dog’s head and stomach.

How can I keep my dog cool in hot weather without AC?

There are several ways to keep dogs cool in hot weather without AC. One way is to provide plenty of shade and water. Another way is to use a fan. You can also try frozen treats, such as ice cubes or frozen chicken broth.

Can dogs have ice water?

Yes, dogs can have ice water. Ensure that the ice cubes are small enough, so your dog does not choke on them.

Conclusion

Remember a few key things when keeping your dog cool in summer. Make sure they have access to shade and water, use cooling products such as mats or clothing and consider investing in fans or air conditioners. Following these simple tips can help your furry friend beat the heat and enjoy a fun summer.