10 Essential Ways to Keep your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
When the summer months arrive, we all love to get outdoors with our dogs to enjoy the summer sun. Dogs will usually love to play outdoors despite the heat, so it is important to keep in mind that dog cannot cool themselves by sweating like us sweaty humans! Dogs cool themselves slightly through their pads and by panting, but as (most) dogs have year-round fur coats, it’s essential we help them to not overheat, and to keep cool.
So, you may ask “How do I keep my dog cool in hot weather?” Here are some essential ways to keep your dog cool in the hot summer months.
Also check out these toys and accessories to keep your dog cool in summer.
How to Keep your Dog Cool in Hot Summer Weather
Who doesn’t love a refreshing glass of cold water (or other beverages!) on a hot summer day. Drinking cold water helps to cool us down, and the same applies to dogs. Fresh water is essential for any pet, but especially so on a hot day. Keep your dogs water bowl topped up with fresh cool water by keeping a jug or other container in the fridge, and freshen up his bowl regularly. You can also add ice to the dog bowl for that extra refreshing chill.
Collapsible Water Bowl
When heading outdoors on a walk, keeping your dog hydrated and cool is essential. When they are running about in the sun, they can quickly over-heat which can be dangerous. Rather than relying on stumbling across a stream for water, carry a collapsible dog bowl like this one along with a bottle of water.
Cooling toys can not only be great fun for your dog, but also cool them down at the same time. There are some specialist cooling toys like these which you can soak with water and freeze. You can also use other toys like the Kong, fill with the Kong filling or peanut butter, and freeze for a great cooling treat.
Similar to the cooling toys, these can be great fun for your dog and cooling at the same time. As already mentioned, a Kong can be filled with peanut butter and frozen. You can cover a carrot in peanut butter and freeze, make doggy ice-pop, and more! For a full list of cooling homemade dog treats, click here.
Cooling Dog Mats
Normal dog beds are comfy, but they also trap a lot of heat, and therefore are not always that good in hot weather. You will quite often notice that your dog, on hot days, will prefer to lie on the floor, on their side, stretched out. It helps if you have wood or some other solid floor as these are more cooling than a normal dog bed.
Cooling dog mats or beds are usually comfier than the floor, but also help keep your dog cool. Depending on the type, they are either gel, or can be soaked with water to help with the heat.
Cooling Dog Coats
Similar to the cooling dog beds, these work in the same way. They can usually be soaked with water and worn by your dog to help cool them down. The water helps draw away heat, and will usually cool your dog down quite effectively. These are can be worn outside on hot days, so are great on walks.
Some dogs do not like swimming, but others love it. Either way, most dogs will be willing to get their paws wet to help cool them down, and if your dog does love water, then they will be cooling themselves whilst having fun! Paddling pools are therefore great for all sorts of dogs. Having a splash in a bit of water is always a fun and effective way of cooling down. Paddling pools can usually be picked up relatively cheaply, but even if you do not have the room for a paddling pool (or don’t fancy keep having to inflate one!) then there are some alternatives which are just as good. Have a look at your local department store or DIY store for large, shallow tubs or buckets. Some builders merchants stock large rubber type buckets which can be filled with water, into which you can throw your dogs favourite floating toys to retrieve!
Spray Misting Bottle
Ok, so most dogs may not like being sprayed with water, although some love it. But a spray bottle with a mist setting can be a handy way to cool your dog down without getting the house soaked. They can also be used when out on walks where bodies of water is not available for your dog to swim in. Set the spray bottle to the mist setting, and depending on your dog, you can spray all over their coat (if they like this), or alternatively, you can get closer and spray onto their back. Give the water a rub in to their coat so it takes longer to evaporate and is more effective at cooling your dog down.
Spray mist bottles have the benefit of covering a larger area of your dog rather than water being poured onto their coat which can just run off onto the floor.
Avoid Direct Sun
This may seem obvious, but too often dogs are left in the direct sun and not provided with enough shade. This can cause your dogs temperature to rise quickly, and it may be hard to then cool them back down.
If out on a walk, in the garden or in the house, make sure there is shade available out of direct sun light.
No Hot Cars
The same applies to cars. Every summer there are reports of dogs dying after being left in cars. Never leave your dog in a hot car. You may think it is safe to leave your dog in the car for 5 minutes, but cars heat up very fast, with the glass acting like a greenhouse to trap the heat. A car with air conditioning may feel cool when you leave it, but the car can quickly heat up to above 40°C and result in death. It is always best to not leave your dog in a car, outhouse, caravan, conservatories etc, even for a short while.
Even leaving your dog in a car with the windows part down can be dangerous, as the car may still heat up faster than the open window can cool it down.
If you see a dog in distress alone in a car on a hot day, don’t be afraid to call the police. The RSPCA has some tips here.
Use a Fan at Home
Many people’s first instinct when they are hot is to fan themselves with the nearest piece of cardboard. But why not plug an electric fan in, switch it on, and point it where your dog can benefit from the cool breeze! Of course, always take care with electrics round your dog, make sure your dog cant electrocute him self, or cant touch the fan or blades!
- Always keep a close eye on your dog on hot days
- Always provide fresh, clean water for your dog. Remember water on hot days can evaporate faster than normal and will be drank by your dog faster than normal, so check it more than normal.
- Remember, cooling toys, beds, and gadgets are not a replacement for primary methods of keeping your dog cool and hydrated (ie fresh water, and shade)
- If you see signs of heat stroke, contact your vet straight away.
- Dogs can get sunburnt. Try keep your dog out of direct sunlight, and use special dog suncream when necessary,
Heatstroke in Dogs: The Signs
- Heavy panting
- Raised temperature
- Heavy drooling and/or thickened saliva
- Lethargic, drowsy, fatigue, staggering or uncoordinated behaviour
If your dog has heatstroke, he/she may not display every single symptom.
Heatstroke in Dogs: What to do
- Contact your vet immediately and get your dog somewhere cool with some fresh water to drink. Don’t force your dog to drink.
- Cool your dog with water. You can use wet, cool towels, and assist the cooling with a fan.
- Avoid cooling your dog down too quickly, as sudden changes in temperature can also be dangerous and cause shock.