How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer

8 December 2022

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 7 June 2023

When summer comes, the sunny, longer days can provide hours of fun for both humans and canines alike. However, when the days heat up, keeping your dog, borrowed or owned, cool in the warmer weather is very important. Heat stroke, overheating and dehydration can be very common when the summer months roll around. So we have 10 ways to help your pup keep cool in the summer.

Whether you read our article on outdoor activities to do with your dog or are planning a holiday with our dog friendly holiday guide, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure their health and wellbeing while spending time in the sun this summer.

Day to day care

If you’re staying in on a hot day, make sure your pup has a room to relax and cool off in and provide them with fresh water throughout the day.

We can’t always prevent our dogs from following us around, even when we tell them to go and lay down because it’s too hot. If you want to spend time in the sun but you’re worried about your dog, provide a shady spot near you with an umbrella and maybe a paddling pool that they can dip in and out of. A paddling pool is also a great way for them to play and wear off some of their energy while waiting for their evening walk.

Even on hot days, your dog might still need walking. Of course, this depends on your dog and their health but it can be a good idea to get a bit of energy out of your pooch if you can, when the temperature isn't too warm. It is recommended to take them out early in the morning before the temperature increases and in the evening when it has started to cool down again. And always check the pavements before a walk, as a general rule, if the pavement is too hot for you to put your hand on for a few seconds, it will be too hot for your dog’s paws.

Adventures away from home

Nelly the Hungarian Vizsla standing poised in the shade on a pebbly bank by the water
Nelly the Hungarian Vizsla

If you are planning on taking a long walk or a day out that involves your dog, then you may need a little extra planning.

Whether you are enjoying a picnic in the park or exploring outdoors, you will need to look for shade for your dog so they can rest and cool off after walking or sitting in the sun. Remember to pack a water bowl and some fresh water, so you can offer them a drink every so often. Cool mats can also be useful to bring along for your dog to lie on.

Keep an eye on them at all times to check for signs of exhaustion or heat stroke. Take breaks when you can to sit and cool down for a few minutes before carrying on with whatever activity you might be doing!

Signs of Heatstroke

  • Excessive panting
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bright red or pale gums
  • Fitting
  • Collapsing
  • Increased heart rate

Action to take

  • Call your vet immediately and follow their advice!
  • Place cool, never cold water on their coat (cold water can cause their bodies to go into shock)
  • Soak some towels in cool water and place on your dog
  • Calmly move them to a cool place and offer water
  • Keep calm while transporting them to the vet, and cool down the car for travelling

1) Always have water available

Mo the Toy Poodle chilling in the shade on a picnic blanket with a bottle of water to the side
Mo the Toy Poodle

It may go without saying but always ensure you doggy has access to plenty of fresh and cool water. Try adding some ice cubes to their bowl for an even cooler alternative and take a portable bowl with you on walks.

2) Wet, cool towels

Draping a cool towel over your pooch can help bring their temperature down gradually. Focus around the neck, forelimbs and hind legs.

3) Paddling pools

Ozzy the Labrador Retriever springing out of the paddling pool and making a splash!
Ozzy the Labrador Retriever

Who doesn’t love a good paddling pool? Try getting your pup a shallow pool filled with cool water so they can paddle and sit in the hotter weather.

4) Cool accessories

For the summer months your doggy can benefit from cool accessories such as cooling vests, collars or mats. These are often stocked in local pet shops or online stores.

5) Cool treats

Rufus the Chow Chow enjoying a tub of Waggy Doggy Ice Cream
Rufus the Chow Chow

Humans love ice cream so why not treat your pup to a cool frozen snack. There are some super simple recipaws to make at home too.

6) A cool trim

Echo the Cockapoo looking very smart and short haired after his fresh groom
Echo the Cockapoo

While fluffy hair is adorable, it may be best to give your pup’s coat a trim when the summer months start. This can help them keep cool in the hot weather.

7) Watch their exercise

While our four-legged friends love a game of fetch and running around the park, too much activity on a hot day can cause your pup to overheat. Dogs are often unaware of their limits so make sure to keep a close eye on them and try walking them earlier or later on in the day when the weather is cooler. Although you should be extra careful with dogs with underlying health conditions or shorter noses, even the fittest, healthiest dog can succumb to heatstroke.

8) Head to the shade

On a sunny day your pup may naturally head to shady areas to try and keep cool, but it’s always best to make sure they aren’t spending too much time in the sun. Make sure they have access to the inside of your home to find a cooler spot, and if you’re worried, bring them in to help them cool down.

9) A cool breeze

Another way to cool your pup down is by providing them with some cool air. This can be in the form of a fan, air-con or even a cool breeze by a shaded window. Just make sure they are safe, and have access to water.

10) Things to avoid

In the warmer weather there are few things to avoid with your doggy.

  • Hot pavements. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dogs paws.
  • Cars. Never leave your pup in a car no matter how quick you think you may be.
  • Greenhouses and conservatories. These can get very hot even on milder days.

Loki the wet Border Collie standing on a paddleboard keeping cool and having some fun in the sun
Loki the Border Collie

If you want to find out more about preventative care for heat or visiting the beach with your pooch, you can read our article on beach safety here.

We hope these tips may help your furry friends stay a little bit cooler this summer. If you have any concerns about your dog overheating or being dehydrated we always recommend calling your local vet. Premium members can also make use of our 24/7 vetline who are always happy to help and advise our members.

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

Useful summer guides

Hey there!

Want to hear about a different kind of dog care that both you and your dog will love?

Or perhaps you're a dog lover who can't have one of your own right now?

We have the pawfect solution, BorrowMyDoggy!

How it works
Dog speaking
The benefits of dogs for our mental health

The benefits of dogs for our mental health

The relationships we have with dogs can give us so many benefits, not least for our mental health and wellbeing, learn more here.

Read article
Dogs and Poisonous Plants

Dogs and Poisonous Plants

Our pawsome pals over at ProFlowers have pulled together this super interesting list of 199 plants that are poisonous to dogs (and cats!)

Read article
Top tips for a dog safe garden

Top tips for a dog safe garden

We all love seeing dogs playing in our gardens, but how do we make it a safe experience for them? Here's how to pet proof your garden for dogs

Read article
Tips for a dog friendly Easter

Tips for a dog friendly Easter

Vet Kathleen Pohl shares her top tips for keeping your dog safe at Easter around chocolate, other hazardous foods, seasonal plants and other things to look out for.

Read article