How to cool your dog in the summer

How to cool your dog in the summer

It got hot very quickly. Hot weather is tough for people and dogs. Older dogs, sick dogs, and dogs with dark or thick fur feel it the most.

How to cool your dog in the summer? How can we make sure they’re not too hot? Let me show you some tricks before it gets super hot again.

brown long coated small dog
Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash

How does the dog regulate its body temperature?

Dogs like it best when it’s not too hot, around 14 to 20 degrees. If it gets warmer, they might feel uncomfortable. They cool down by panting, breathing in through their noses and out through their mouths.

This helps their bodies get rid of extra heat. Dogs don’t sweat much, except for their paws. If they can’t cool down by panting, they might get a heat stroke. It’s different for each dog, but when it’s hotter than 25 degrees, they need a cool spot and shouldn’t do too much running around.

Dogs and heat: When is a dog too warm?

Dogs act differently when it’s very hot. They don’t want to play much, rest a lot, and eat less. If it’s hotter than 25 degrees, your dog might be too warm. Signs of this are:

  • – breathing heavily,
  • – being restless,
  • – sticking out their tongue far,
  • – having a long neck.

If they can’t cool down, they might get heat stroke, which shows as:

  • – breathing fast and shallow,
  • – red tongue and mouth,
  • – fast heart,
  • – feeling tired,
  • – trouble balancing,
  • – throwing up,
  • – having runny poop,
  • – body temperature over 40 degrees.

But dogs usually find a cool spot if they’re too hot. The car is a big danger because it can get really hot inside.

Even if it’s 26 degrees outside, it can be over 40 degrees in the car in just 30 minutes. Dogs can get sick. If a dog has heat stroke, cool them down and go to the vet quickly.

woman in pink bathrobe holding hair blower
Photo by J. Balla Photography on Unsplash

How to cool your dog in the summer

1. Provide plenty of water

Always give your dog water, especially when it’s hot. Set up bowls with cool water in different places like the ground floor, basement, and garden. Make sure your dog can always drink water.

2. Short walks

Take short walks with your dog instead of long ones when it’s hot. 30 minutes is usually enough. Walk early in the morning or late in the evening. If your dog pants a lot or doesn’t want to walk more, it means they might be too warm.

We do this with our dog by walking in the cooler parts of the day and taking short breaks based on what our dog, Pan, needs.

3. Set up cold berths

Help your dog stay cool by giving them cold places to lie down. You can use a special cooling mat or a wet towel.

Cold floors like tiles or stone also keep your dog cool. We do this by placing our dog, Pan, on cool tiles or in the basement. We also use a cooling mat in the car.

4. Shady paths

Walk your dog in parks with trees or on shady forest paths instead of hot asphalt. If you’re curious why, try walking barefoot on heated asphalt – it can be uncomfortable for both you and your dog.

5. Moisten your stomach and legs

Before going for a walk, it’s helpful to dampen your dog’s stomach and legs with cool water. Don’t use ice-cold water, just cool water to keep your dog comfortable.

6. Protect dog from direct sun

Make sure to protect your dog from being in direct sunlight for a long time. This is important because too much sun can cause sunstroke and/or sunburn in your dog.

How to cool your dog in the summer
Photo by Elisa Barrantes on Unsplash

7. No exercise

Don’t let your dog do intense exercise or dog sports in the heat. It’s not good for both young and old dogs because they can get heat stroke from too much activity in a warm environment.

8. Trim fur

Some dog breeds can have their fur shortened or thinned out. It’s best to have a skilled dog groomer do this. However, keep in mind that your dog’s fur also protects them from the sun, preventing sunburn.

9. Brush your dog more often

If you can’t trim or thin your dog’s fur, brushing more often helps. I do this with my male dog, who’s a “half Alaskan Malamute” with thick fur. In the summer, I brush him at least once a day to remove the loose undercoat. It works especially well after he swims, as the water helps reveal the loose fur.

10. Car rides only with sun protection and cooling

When driving with your dog in the summer heat, make sure your car has good sun protection and a cooling option. Quality window tints help protect from the sun and UV radiation. If needed, use car accessories for additional cooling.

You can also keep your car cool with a cooling mat or a damp cloth under your dog. Have plenty of water for your dog, especially on longer trips. Remember never to leave your dog alone in the car, even for a moment, during the summer.

11. Cooling on the go

Always bring water for your dog no matter where you go. A foldable water bowl is a clever solution – we use it for walks, in the car, and when we’re out. I also recommend cooling collars for dogs, which helped my dog in the summer.

If you prefer something else, cooling jackets are an option. Be cautious with a wet t-shirt; don’t let your dog wear it for too long to avoid overheating.

12. Cold rooms in the apartment

Help your dog find the coolest spots in your home, like the bathroom or kitchen, which usually have cool tiles. The basement or basement rooms can also be cooler, just like the office in the basement. These places are usually more refreshing than other parts of the house during the summer.

13. Darken the apartment

If you don’t have cool rooms, make sure to darken your apartment during the day by closing the blinds and curtains in the morning. This is especially useful for dogs alone at home. Closed blinds and curtains prevent the sun’s rays from warming up the apartment. We do this by lowering all blinds on south and west-facing windows when it’s hot, and it helps a lot.

14. Keep windows closed in extreme heat

Keeping windows, especially those facing south and west, closed during the day is a good idea to prevent or delay your apartment from getting too hot. In our case, we tilt the windows on the east side to help with this.

German Shepherd dog on beach
Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

15. Get your fur wet or go swimming

Many dogs benefit from having their fur wet in the morning or going for a swim. When the water evaporates from their fur, it creates a cooling effect, helping the dog cool down a bit. This is especially helpful for dogs with very thick fur throughout the day.

In our case, on extremely hot days, we usually take our dog swimming early in the morning. It’s a delightful start to the day and helps our male dog cope with the heat. When in large bodies of water, always remember to use a life jacket for safety.

16. Get a dog pool

If you don’t have a lake or pond nearby for your dog to cool off, consider getting a dog pool. These pools come in different sizes, making them suitable for balconies and gardens. Your dog can cool down well in the pool, especially in the morning or during the day.

17. Set up the fan

If your dog is afraid of water or needs extra cooling, a good fan can be helpful. These fans come in different types, such as pedestal fans or tower fans (available on Amazon*), so you don’t need to drill into anything, and you can adjust them based on where your dog lies. Fans can provide a cooling breeze to keep your dog comfortable.

18. Allow yourself to rest

It’s normal if your dog sleeps and dozes more on hot days. The heat can be stressful for dogs, and when they’re stressed, they need more rest to feel better. Just like how the heat can make you feel weaker and tired, your dog might feel the same way. It’s their way of coping with the warm weather.

19. Make and feed your dog ice cream

A great idea for dog lovers is homemade dog ice cream. It not only tastes good but also cools your dog from the inside. In the article “Make your dog ice cream,” you can discover over 50 ingredients, 8 quick recipes, and many ideas for creating your dog’s favorite icy treats.

20. Small portions of food

On hot days, it’s best not to let your dog eat large portions at once. Several small portions of food are ideal. Just like how small portions are easier for you to handle in the heat, they are easier for your dog to digest. This helps to keep them comfortable and prevents any issues related to eating too much in the heat.

21. Shady spots in the garden

If your dog spends time in the garden during the day, make sure there are shady spots or set up a shaded area with a parasol or awning. This provides a cool and comfortable space for your dog to enjoy the outdoors without getting too hot in the sun.