10 Top Tips for Keeping Dogs Cool in the Summer Heat

10 Top Tips for Keeping Dogs Cool in the Summer Heat | Animed Direct


Spending time outside in the sun with friends and family is why we love the summer, but whilst we enjoy the BBQs and beach trips, our furry companions may find it hard to cope with the extreme heat.

With their thick fur and limited ability to sweat, dogs can’t cool themselves down as efficiently as we can, and they can be susceptible to heatstroke when temperatures start to climb.

For most dogs, it’s safe to walk, play and exercise in temperatures up to 20°C. But even at temperatures of just 20-23°C, dogs can be at risk of heatstroke.

To help keep your dog out of heat-related danger this summer, we’ve put together a list of 10 top tips to keep your dog cool.

1. Walk your dog earlier in the morning or later in the evening

Ensure your walking route has plenty of shade cover, like a woodland rather than a park or open field, and avoid walking your dog in the middle of the day.

During a heatwave, early morning walks are best, as temperatures can stay high in the evenings.

If it’s still too hot even in the early morning, you may need to limit exercise to calm, indoor activities. Treat puzzles and interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog stimulated without causing them to get too hot.

2. Check the pavement before walking your dog

Put the back of your hand on the pavement for 7 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads and could burn them.

Other surfaces like sand and tarmac can also heat up very quickly in the sun, so always check before letting your dog walk on them.

3. Keep your dog hydrated

Make sure your dog has access to a constant supply of fresh water and keep their bowls full. You can also add ice cubes to their water bowls to keep them nice and cold.

When heading out on walks or long journey, take plenty of water and travel water bowls or bottles so your dog can have regular drinks.

4. Keep your dog well-groomed

Regularly brush and groom your dog at home to get rid of any excess fur and to prevent matting, which can prevent dogs from regulating their own temperature.

You might be tempted to shave your dog’s coat off in the summer months, but for many dogs, such as those with a double coat, this can actually make things worse. How often your dog needs to be trimmed depends on the breed and coat-type, but your dog’s coat naturally adjusts to the warmer weather. Shaving it all off takes away their natural cooling system, and it can also leave them more at risk of sunburn.

5. Never leave your dog in the car

If it’s 22°C outside, it can reach 47°C inside a car within an hour, even if the window is open. At this temperature, a dog could develop heatstroke or even die.

Conservatories, outbuildings and caravans will also heat up very rapidly on a warm day, so never leave your dog in any of these either.

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6. Look out for signs of heatstroke

Signs of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of co-ordination and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke requires urgent veterinary treatment, so contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any of these signs.

7. Give your dog cooling toys and treats

Cooling toys, like an Ice Bone or Chill Out Sea Turtle, will stimulate your dog mentally while keeping them cool.

You can also fill KONG toys with frozen goodies, such as dog-friendly ice cream.

Damp bandanas and cooling coats can also help to combat the heat.

8. Use dog-friendly sun cream

Dogs are susceptible to sunburn just like us, especially those that have thin or white coats. To prevent your dog from burning, use some sun cream on exposed areas with less fur coverage like the ears.

9. Keep watch when your dog is in water

It can be tempting to take your dog swimming in local rivers or the sea to help them cool off when it’s hot. However, don’t assume that your dog is a good swimmer. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers, and some breeds (like corgis, pugs and dachshunds) really struggle.

You also need to consider river currents and seaside tides. You might want to consider buying a dog life jacket, and never leave your dog swimming unattended – keep an eye on them the whole time.

Sprinkler mats can be a good alternative to taking your dog swimming.

10. Ensure your dog has a cool place to retreat to

Make sure your dog always has access to somewhere cool and shaded. Providing your dog with a wet towel or cooling mat to lay on is a good way to keep them cool. You could also provide them with a fan, but make sure they can move out of the breeze if they want to.

Encourage your dog to move inside or to a shaded area of the garden if they’ve been laying in the heat for a long time.

Wrapping Up

If you think that your dog isn’t coping with the heat and could be in danger of heatstroke, speak to your vet for advice immediately. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment.

By following these tips and precautions, both you and your dog should be able to enjoy a fun summer together. For some great ideas for Fun Things to do with Your Dog this Summer read our blog!

Find advice on how to keep your cat cool in the summer here.