help dog stay cool in summer

How to help dog stay cool in summer is an important concern for most dog owners, especially in summer. As thoughtful pet owners, it's our responsibility to remain vigilant and proactive during hot spells so we can avoid dangerous situations that lead to veterinary emergencies and even tragic losses.

Explore more about how to keep your dog cool, what signs to observe, and quick tips to prevent heatstroke.

How to help dog stay cool in summer?

While dogs are designed to handle warmer temperatures better than humans, they still depend on us to spot signs of heat-related issues and respond promptly. 

Here are simple adjustments that can keep dogs cool in hot weather:

  • Provide plenty of fresh water:

Make sure your dog always has access to clean, cool water when outdoors or indoors with no AC. Consider adding ice cubes to the water.

  • Limit exercise and activity 

Limit activity during the hottest parts of the day and take walks in the morning or evening when it's cooler outside.

  • Provide shade:

Make sure your dog has a shady place to rest outside like under a tree. You can also provide an outdoor shelter or dog house with shade.

  • Give him an ice treat:

Freeze bone-shaped treats, peanut butter blocks, or low-sodium broth ice cubes for your dog to lick and chew on. This helps them stay hydrated and cool down.

  • Use air conditioning:

On very hot days, keep your dog indoors with the AC on to help dog stay cool in summer and comfortable.

  • Trim the fur:

Giving your long-haired dog a summer haircut can keep dogs cool in hot weather. But avoid shaving double-coated breeds as it can damage their coat.

  • Add a kiddie pool:

Your dog will love splashing around in a small kiddie pool on a hot day, so make sure to change the water regularly to keep it clean.

  • Use wet towels or bandanas: 

Dampening a light cloth towel or bandana and placing it around your dog's neck or on its body helps them cool down through evaporation.

How Do Dogs Cool Down Naturally?

How to help dog stay cool in summerBeyond the helpful tips we shared about how to help dog stay cool in summer, dogs are equipped with some amazing built-in cooling mechanisms! Let's explore how these natural abilities help them regulate their body temperature when it gets hot:
  • Panting is a dog's main way of regulating its body temperature. 
  • Dogs will naturally seek out shady areas to get out of the sun.
  • Lie on cool surfaces is the favorite for dogs to absorb the coolness through their bodies.
  • Dogs will lick and drool more to evaporate moisture from their mouths which helps dog stay cool in summer.

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How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs?

Here are some guidelines for how hot is too hot for dogs:

  • Above 90°F, it becomes risky for dogs who are not acclimated to the heat.
  • Above 100°F is generally considered too hot for dogs.
  • Asphalt and sidewalks get much hotter than the air temperature.

    If your dog is overheating, you may observe any of these warning signs:

    • Excessive panting
    • Dry mucous membranes (gums)
    • High body temperature of over 103°F
    • Lethargy and collapse
    • Vomiting
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Seizures

    If you notice anything different in these situations, immediately move your dog to a cool place, spray them with water (especially their foot pads and belly), and give them small amounts of water to drink.

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    Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs:

    How to help dog stay cool in summer

    When a dog becomes too hot and cannot cool down effectively, it can develop a serious and potentially fatal condition known as heatstroke. 

    This makes heatstroke an important health issue for dogs. Heatstroke can occur not just on extremely hot days, but even on fairly warm days if a dog overexerts itself.

    Here’re some signs of heatstroke in dogs:

    • Excessive panting: While panting help dog stay cool in summer, panting that does not effectively regulate the dog's temperature can be a sign of impending heatstroke.
    • Abnormal gum color: The gums may turn red due to dilated blood vessels or pale from poor blood flow, indicating the dog's body is struggling to cool itself.
    • Lethargy and weakness: The dog seems tired and uncoordinated, unable or unwilling to stand or walk normally.
    • Vomiting: The stomach can be irritated by overheating, causing the dog to vomit.
    • Thick saliva: The dog's saliva becomes concentrated due to dehydration from heavy panting.
    • Loss of consciousness: In severe cases of heatstroke, the dog may briefly lose consciousness due to the effects of high body temperature on the brain.
    • Seizures: Heatstroke can trigger convulsions, tremors, and staggering which resemble epileptic seizures.

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    5 Tips to keep a dog cool and prevent heatstroke

    To help prevent heatstroke and help dog stay cool in summer, follow these tips:

    • Provide ample shade and cool surfaces for the dog to lay on.
    • Make sure the dog has constant access to fresh, cool water.
    • Limit exercise and activity during the hottest parts of the day.
    • Give the dog opportunities to rest in air conditioning when possible.
    • Trim long hair, spray the dog with water, or use wet towels to help it cool down quicker.
    • Watch for warning signs and take appropriate action immediately.

    Prompt veterinary care is crucial for dogs suffering from heatstroke. The sooner the dog receives treatment, the better the chances of a full recovery with no long-term health issues.

    With knowledge and precaution, dog owners can help dog stay cool in summer and healthy in hot weather.


    How can I keep my dog cool without AC?

    If there’s no AC and need to keep dogs cool in hot weather, use one of these: 

    • Provide plenty of shade
    • Keep water bowls full of cool water
    • Give frozen treats
    • Open windows
    • Trim fur

    Can I smash a window to free a dog from a hot car?

    No, you can’t smash a car window.

    By personally smashing a window, you risk facing legal consequences and charges for damaging someone's property, even with good intentions. Instead, be a good witness. Take notes on details like the license plate and vehicle/dog description, and wait with the dog if possible, slightly lowering windows to allow airflow until authorities arrive.