In an ideal world, when it’s hot outside we’d all love to bring our dogs inside out of the heat, in front of the air conditioning. For many though, this isn’t always an option. To help beat the heat when retreating indoors is not an option, check out our top 10 tips for keeping dogs cool outside!
10 Tips for Keeping Dogs Cool Outside during Hot Weather
Photo by Ryan Christodoulou via Unsplash
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1. Ensure access to clean fresh drinking water at all times
To avoid potential heatstoke and dehydration it is important to ensure that your dog has access to multiple fresh water sources, especially during hot weather and especially when they are outside in the heat.
If your dog has a habit of knocking over their water bowl or is left outside for long periods, you might like to consider some auto-refill options like those pictured below, that way they will never be without fresh water (and you won’t have to worry about them running out!).
The Lixit Faucet waterer pictured above is inexpensive and easy-to-install option and ensures your dog has constant access to fresh water throughout the day.
The Lixit Faucet is nudge/lick sensitive, so whenever your dog needs a drink all they have to do is give it a lick and fresh water will flow straight into their mouth.
Alternatively, if your dog has a habit of knocking over their bowls (or is too small to reach the faucet), you could try a wall (or fence) mounted H20 Animal Hydration Automatic Waterer like the one pictured below.
It refills on its own whenever the water falls below a certain point. The step-on dog drinking fountain is another fun option.
2. Ensure access to reliable shade
Dogs are pretty good at seeking out shade when they are hot so it’s important that you ensure they have access to plenty of it throughout the day.
If your yard is only shaded for part of the day you should consider making alternate options available to them, for example, hang some shadecloth, erect a temporary canopy or install a shade sail.
3. Provide a doggy paddling pool
Doggy paddling pools are great fun for water-loving pups. They’re especially great in Summer as they offer welcome relief from the hot sun (as well as an alternate source of drinking water).
Just make sure you set them up out of direct sunlight, your dog can get in and out of them easily and don’t overfill them (for safety reasons).
4. Place wet towels down for your dog
Wet towels offer your dog a cool place to lie down and help to lower their body temperature via evaporative cooling. A quick and easy way for keeping your dogs cool outside during Summer.
5. Put ice down for your dog
Purchase a couple of bags of ice for your dog and put it on the ground (or fill a paddling pool like the one pictured below!). This will help cool the ground and they can lay near it when they are feeling toasty.
Be sure to put some in their drinking water too to help keep it cooler for longer. As the ice melts it will also act as another source of drinking water.
6. Provide your dog with frozen treats
Frozen doggy treats are another great way for keeping your dogs cool outside, not only that, they’re also long-lasting and mentally stimulating for your dog.
A quick Pinterest search for ‘frozen dog treat recipes’ yields hundreds of results and is a great source of pupsicle inspo! Check out these frozen Kongs from the K9 Instinct Blog for example.
No Kong? No worries… you can easily make a doggy iceblock by freezing some of your dogs food or treats in a plastic container with some water and toys – your dog will love it!
7. Refrain from exercise in the heat of the day
Walking your dog during the searing heat of the day is a recipe for disaster – not only is it cruel but it also leaves you both open to potential dehydration and heatstroke.
Hot pavement is also problematic and can lead to paw burns and blisters, whilst breeds with flat faces will struggle to breath as a result of excessive panting.
Sunburn is also a harsh reality for flat/short coated and fair-skinned dogs.
Save the walks for cooler parts of the day, like early morning and in the evening.
8. Consider investing in cooling aids for your dog
Canine cooling aids like dog cooling vests, bandanas and cooling pads/mats can also help to keep your dog cool whilst they’re outside.
9. Refrain from shaving double-coated breeds
This one is really important if you own a double-coated breed (think Huskies, Shepherds, Collies and Retrievers). Their coats act like natural insulation and not only keep them warm in Winter, but cool in Summer.
When you shave them down to the skin you’re not only stripping them of their natural insulation but you’re also stripping them of sun protection too.
Instead of shaving them, make sure their coats are well maintained and free of mats so that nature can work as intended.
10. Consider leaving a sprinkler running
Finally, if you live in an area where water restrictions aren’t a concern (and you can afford to leave a sprinkler running!), you might like to consider leaving a low-flow sprinkler or mister running for your dog so they can wet themselves down and cool off as needed throughout the day.
Photo by Elijah Ekdahl via Unsplash
Other warm weather considerations:
- Like us, white dogs and short-coated breeds are particularly suseptable to sunburn. Consider investing in some doggy sunscreen if your pup likes to lay in the sun! Pay particular attention to snouts and tummies.
- Protect delicate paws from hot surfaces – concrete and pavement can reach scolding temperatures, don’t risk paw burn and blisters.
- Be alert to signs of canine heatstroke – these include (but aren’t limted to) excessive panting, drooling and salivating, agitation and restlessness, lethargy/weakness, vomiting/diarreah, breathing distress, bright red or pale gums, increased heart rate, muscle tremors.
- Remember preventative maintenance for fleas and ticks as they thrive during warm, hot and humid weather.
- Never, EVER leave a dog locked in a car on a warm or hot day – they can overheat and die in a matter of minutes. Just don’t do it.