Exposure to extreme temperatures can be very dangerous for dogs. But when they sleep outside, it can be hard to control the conditions that they are exposed to at night. In this article, we will explore how to cool a dog house for those warm summer months.
So how hot is too hot for a dog, what are the potential dangers of heat exposure and what are the best ways to ventilate a dog house? Let’s find out.
When To Think About Cooling Your Dog House
First of all, how do we know how hot is too hot for dogs? The general rule is that no dog should face prolonged exposure to temperatures above or around 90°F, as they run the risk of getting heatstroke and/or dehydrated.
That said, some dogs can be vulnerable to this closer to 70°F. Such as puppies, elderly and unwell dogs who have compromised immune systems. Plus smaller breeds and those with thicker coats that conserve more heat.
Dehydration occurs when a dog loses too much fluid and is usually a result of overexposure to hot weather. It is a symptom-based diagnosis. In severe cases, dehydration can be life-threatening and must be treated by a vet with fluid therapy. Mildly dehydrated dogs should be given sips of clean, cold water, with added electrolytes if possible. The signs of dehydration include:
- Heavy panting
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Sunken eyes
- A dry nose and gums
- Weakness & lethargy
To prevent dehydration, never exert your dog in hot weather and make sure they have constant access to clean, cold water that is refreshed every few hours.
Heatstroke occurs when a dog gets so hot that the internal mechanism for temperature regulation stops being able to work. Their body temperature only has to rise by a few degrees for this to happen.
A dog’s body temperature should be between 101°F – 102°F. If it rises above 104°F, they are at serious risk of heatstroke. Between 107°F – 109°F, their organs will begin to shut down. The signs & symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Stomach upsets
- Redded gums
- Uncoordinated movement
- Mental dullness
Heatstroke is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately by a vet with fluid therapy and possibly oxygen therapy. The prognosis depends on the dog’s temperature. During the wait, owners should give affected dogs sips of water and dab them with a cool, wet flannel. To prevent heatstroke, never exert your dog in hot temperatures and never leave them in confined spaces such as cars on hot days.
14 Best Dog House Cooling Ideas
These are 14 of the simplest, quickest, and easiest ways to cool down a dog house.
First and foremost, the simplest way of cooling down your dog house is by placing it in a shaded area. This helps to keep the heat of the summer sun out of it.
Next to your house, a fence, or under a tree in your yard, are all perfect places for a dog house to sit during those hot summer months!
Placing the dog house a couple of centimeters off of the ground is an easy way to make sure the heat from the ground doesn’t transfer to the floor of the kennel. It also allows for a little extra ventilation from underneath the dog house.
Alternatively, there are underground dog houses you can buy that stay significantly cooler than overground ones because the heat cannot reach them anywhere near as much.
If you’re going to buy your dog a new dog house for the summer, consider buying one made from wood. Unlike plastic, wood is a much more breathable material and doesn’t absorb anywhere near as much heat.
Another cheap and simple way of cooling down your dog’s house is with paint. Just like how dark colors attract the heat, light colors deflect it. Painting your dog house a light color for the summer is a quick and easy way to help keep the sun out of it.
This is another benefit of wooden dog houses – they are very easy to paint. And you can keep painting it every time the seasons change, darker in the winter, and lighter in the summer.
Ventilation allows airflow into a room, in this case, your dog’s sleeping quarters! Airflow invites in the fresh air and ensures that the inside of the dog house stays nice and cool at all times. Without it, the house will trap heat inside of it and the air will feel dry and dehydrating for your dog.
You can buy dog houses with detachable roofs, closeable roof vents, and ventilation holes all of which can help to create proper airflow. However, you can also easily create your own ventilation holes by drilling small holes into your dog’s house.
6. High Ceilings
Heat rises, so consider buying your dog a kennel with a high ceiling if you’re looking to buy a new one. This ensures the heat has somewhere to go – away from your dog! And make sure your dog’s bed is as close to the floor of the kennel as possible.
7. Spray The Floor
Another quick and easy way to lower the temperature in a dog house is by spraying the floor with cold water. Dogs’ paws both absorb and release heat. Not only does this create a nice cool surface for them to walk on, it actually causes the heat absorbed by the floor to be released.
For maximum cooling, spritz the floor of your dog’s kennel with the garden hose every few hours.
8. Air Conditioner
Another great way to keep your dog cool in his kennel is to use air conditioners. You can buy dog houses with built-in air conditioning, although they can be quite expensive.
You can also buy chew-safe battery-operated air conditioning machines to put inside your dog’s house that doesn’t cost a fortune.
9. Cooling Pads
Cooling pads are an inexpensive way to make sure your dog keeps cool when he’s sleeping. They are self-cooling mats that are made for pets to sleep on when it’s hot.
Cooling pads contain a pressure-activated gel-like substance that absorbs the heat from your dog’s body and in-turn cools them down. In the morning, when your dog leaves the mat, it ‘resets’ and re-chills for him to use again the following night. Just be sure to buy one that uses non-toxic gel if your dog is a chewer.
Consider using a fan to create and direct a cooling breeze towards your dog as they sleep. You can buy fans that are specifically designed for dog kennels; with chew-proof battery-operated fans that don’t require a cable or electricity for ensured safety. Furthermore, you can even buy ones with heavily guarded blades that are designed to stop working if anything touches them without causing harm.
An incredibly simple way of cooling down your dog’s kennel during the summer is by using ice. Just fill up a bottle with water in the morning and put it in the freezer for the duration of the day, then place it in your dog’s kennel at bedtime.
The coolness of the ice transfer out into the kennel and help to keep it cool. Many owners who use this method find that their dogs use the bottle as a pillow to keep themselves cool. It’s super easy because you can just pop it back into the freezer each morning!
12. Paddling Pools
A super fun way to keep your dog cool in his kennel in the summer months is by placing a paddling pool outside of it. This way, he is in control of his temperature and can take himself out of the kennel and get into the water whenever he is feeling too hot or wants to cool down.
It will also add an element of fun to sleeping outside… You can even buy claw-proof paddling pools that are specifically designed for dogs!
13. Water Access
Speaking of water, you should make sure that your dog always has access to a water bowl to drink from throughout the night, but especially in hot weather. This reduces the risk of dehydration and generally keeps them cool, happy, and healthy.
Your dog’s water supply should come from a clean, fresh, cold source. It should be changed every few hours or every night before bed for dogs sleeping in kennels.
14. Cooling Vests
It may sound counter-intuitive to dress your dog up in order to cool them down, but these cooling vests really do work. They use a multi-layer evaporation technology that mimics sweating or panting.
When worn dry, they reflect heat away from your dog, but when worn wet, they keep your dog cool for hours. Some people even put them in the freezer for a while for maximum cooling!
Dog House Cooling Methods: FAQ
No dog should be exposed to or exerted in temperatures of above or around 90°F for long periods of time as they run the risk of becoming dehydrated or getting heatstroke.
That said, some dogs such as puppies, elderly or unwell dogs, smaller breeds, and those with thicker coats can be vulnerable closer to 70°F. This is because younger and older dogs or those affected by sickness have compromised immune systems. While smaller dogs and dogs with thicker coats conserve more heat.
If your dog is too hot, he may pant excessively and have a dry nose and gums. If this is the case, you should take him to lay down in a cool, shaded, ventilated area, give him water to drink, and watch him for a while to see if he gets back to normal.
A dog’s body temperature should be between 101°F – 102°F. If it rises above 104°F, they are at serious risk of heatstroke. At around 107°F – 109°F, their organs will start to shut down.
If a dog is seriously dehydrated, his eyes may appear sunken and his skin may lose its elasticity. You can test this out by lightly pinching your dog’s skin and seeing how long it takes to bounce back. Furthermore, if you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, you should give them sips of water and call your vet for advice.
If your dog is panting and drooling excessively or seems confused and unco-ordinated after exposure to the heat, he may have heatstroke and you should call your vet immediately. Dab him with a cool, wet flannel and give him sips of water until you can see the vet.
Dog houses can be a great way to keep dogs cool if done properly. Make sure you put your dog’s kennel in a cool, shaded area, and try to provide them with some kind of ventilation.
Furthermore, cooling pads, air conditioning, and fans are all great additions to dog houses in the summer. Make sure your dog always has access to water to drink, and if you’re buying your dog a new kennel, go for one made out of wood!
Wetting a dog with a hose can be great fun for your dog and is a brilliant way to cool them down on a hot day. Just make sure that the water is not too cold and that they dry off properly afterward.
Ice is just frozen water, so it’s perfectly safe to give them to your dog on hot days. Plus, they love it. To make it more fun, you can make ice out of fruit juice or gravy as a nice treat for them.
Just make sure the ice cubes are an appropriate size to avoid choking and crush them up if your dog is younger or older to avoid damaging their teeth.
Air conditioners and fans are both safe to use around dogs as long as you buy ones that are appropriate for them. For example, chew-safe battery-operated machines that don’t require a cable or electricity. Also, make sure you set up the machines to work in the appropriate settings for your dog.
Neither option is better than the other, it all depends on what you want and what you have to work with. For example, if you live somewhere that gets very hot and need to do some serious cooling down but don’t fancy putting a lot of work into it. Moreover, you could just buy an air-conditioned or readily ventilated dog house.
However, if this is too expensive, you can buy a small battery-operated air-conditioner or fan that will get the job done for a much smaller price. You could also drill some ventilation holes into your existing dog house and paint it a light color to deflect some heat. Then in the winter, cover them up and paint it dark again. Simple!
It is impossible to eliminate the heat completely, but hopefully, with these tips, you now know how to cool down a dog house and keep your dog a little bit more comfortable in those hot summer months! Will you be using any of our top tips or do you have some of your own you want to share? Let us know in the comments down below!