10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer
As the weather heats up, it will take some extra effort to keep your dog cool. While we humans have our ways of staying cool, like turning on the AC or pouring an iced drink, dogs are more limited in their options.
Not only do they have fur that can trap heat, but their bodies also lack the sweat glands humans have. Though they do have sweat glands in their feet, these are of little help for cooling.
This is where we come in to help our dogs stay cool and comfortable this summer. Here are our top ten tips.
1. Take Walks in the Early Morning or at Night
When the sun is at its peak, the pavement and other surfaces heat up, which can impact your dog’s sensitive paw pads. Going on walks during the early-morning hours or late at night can prevent this discomfort.
On particularly hot days, try limiting your pup’s activity levels to the coolest times of day. If your dog tires out quickly, it may be best to wait until the heatwave passes altogether.
2. Provide Plenty of Shade
If you plan on being outdoors for long periods of time, bring a shade structure, such as an umbrella or small tent. This way, your dog can access shade in between bursts of activity.
3. Offer Plenty of Water and Frozen Treats
Access to cool water is a must in the summer, for humans and for dogs. Bring along a collapsible dog bowl and refill it with water throughout your activity to keep them hydrated.
You could also look into getting some frozen, dog-friendly food, like popsicles made specifically for canines. These tasty snacks should include natural ingredients like chicken broth, fruits, and veggies, as well as added vitamins and minerals. Some people freeze treats, such as peanut butter cubes, inside Kong toys, so that their dog has something delicious to look forward to when they come back from their walk.
4. Trim Their Fur—But Not Too Much
If your dog has a thick, long-haired coat, trimming it down in the summer can be helpful. This can reduce the amount of heat trapped on their body from the sun, allowing them to better regulate their body temperature in hot weather. Make sure to brush out any tangles that can occur due to higher humidity levels before trimming; this will help your dog feel more comfortable during the process.
You may be wondering: Should you shave your dog? In most cases, no—dogs’ coats act as a protective barrier for the skin, guarding them from sunburn. Shaving may actually produce an overheating affect, so regular, proper grooming is a much better course of action.
5. Bathe Your Dog
Bathing regularly is another great way to keep your dog cool during the summer. Bathing removes excess dirt, oils, and allergens that can build up on their fur, as well as reduces the possibility for allergies and skin irritation. Make sure not to bathe too often, though! According to experts, about once every four to six weeks should suffice. Overbathing can strip away natural oils that help keep your dog’s skin healthy and hydrated.
6. Consider Cooling Products.
Did you know there are pet products designed to cool off your pup? Cooling bandanas, for example, come in a variety of sizes and can help reduce overheating during outdoor activities.
There are also cooling mats and beds, which often use gel packs to store coldness and disperse it over time when pressed against your dog’s fur coat. This can be helpful when your dog’s laying down to rest.
7. Avoid Hot Surfaces
Whenever possible, take your dog on walks on grass or dirt instead of asphalt or concrete. Grass and dirt are potentially more comfortable and often cooler on their paws. Just watch out for any sharp objects on the ground.
8. Try Dog Shoes
If you can’t avoid walking on asphalt or concrete altogether, and the summer sun is intense, consider investing in specialized dog shoes to help protect your dog’s paws from the scorching-hot ground. Make sure that these paw protectors fit well, are made of breathable materials, and have good grip. Have your pup wear them around the house first so they can adjust properly, then try a test walk around the block.
9. Consider Canine-Friendly Apparel
Similar to dog shoes, canine-friendly apparel may be a wise purchase for your pup. If you can’t avoid a walk during those peak sunny hours, or if you’re taking a long outdoor trip, consider putting a sun shirt or hat on your dog. These can protect their skin from UV rays. Shirts can provide an extra layer of insulation from harsh temperatures, as well.
10. Be Aware of the Risks
Finally, familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke in dogs. If it’s a hot day and you’re noticing difficulty breathing, excessive panting, weakness, vomiting, or anything else concerning, move your dog to a cool, shaded area and contact your veterinarian immediately.
With these tips, your dog will remain cool and happy while enjoying the sunshine this season.
Thanks for reading and for supporting Baypath Humane!
For more information on how to give your dog their best life, visit We’re All About Pets. There, you’ll find in-depth dog product reviews, behavior guides, and more.