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How To Keep Dogs Cool Outside in The Summer

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Provide dogs with clean, fresh, cold water and encourage them to drink frequently
  • Create shade in your yard using outdoor chairs, umbrellas, or outdoor houses
  • Plan walks and outdoor activities during the cooler times of day, such as early morning or late evening
  • Avoid exerting dogs in temperatures above or around 90°F to prevent heatstroke
  • Incorporate water activities like swimming or playing with a paddling pool to keep dogs cool and provide exercise
Written by Laura
Laura is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Wednesday 19 May 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 11 July 2023
keep your dog cool during summer
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During the summer months, we all enjoy spending time outdoors. However, the hot weather can be a concern for dog owners. In this article, we will explore how to keep dogs cool outside during the summer and provide answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.

The temperature should not exceed or be around 90°F for extended periods, as dogs are at risk of heatstroke and dehydration. Let’s find out the simplest, easiest, and best ways to keep your dog cool in the summer.

Provide Water For Hydration

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog cool during the summer is to ensure they have access to clean, fresh, and cold water. Make sure to replace the water every few hours, especially in hot weather. After any exercise, encourage your dog to have a good drink to stay hydrated.

For a refreshing treat, consider giving your dog ice cubes or making ice-lolly treats using fruit juice or gravy! Without sufficient water, dogs can become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include heavy panting, sunken eyes, and a dry nose and gums.

Mildly dehydrated dogs should be given sips of water until they feel better. If your dog is severely dehydrated, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary treatment.

importance of water to keep your dog cool during summer
Water is an important and effective source of cooling for your dog – especially during summer.

Create Shade

When spending time outside on hot days, encourage your dog to play and rest in shaded areas. If your yard doesn’t have natural shade from trees, you can create shade using outdoor chairs, an outdoor umbrella, or an outdoor house for your dog.

Many older dogs may prefer to lie in the sun on hot days as the heat can provide relief for arthritis symptoms. However, it’s essential to keep a close eye on them and limit their exposure, especially if the temperature reaches around 90°F. If they won’t seek shade on their own, encourage them to come indoors.

Choose Your Hours Carefully

Another easy way to keep your dog cool in the summer is to plan your walks & outdoor time around the temperature. Check the weather forecast and choose your outdoor hours based upon that. The coolest times of day will typically be early in the morning and later on in the evening.

During the middle of the day when it’s warmest, try to stay & play indoors or outdoors in shaded areas.

Avoid Exertion

Always avoid exerting your dog in temperatures of above or around 90°F in order to prevent heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature gets so hot that their internal mechanism for temperature regulation stops working. It only has to rise by a few degrees for this to happen.

A dog’s body temperature rises above 104°F, they are at serious risk of heatstroke. Signs include excessive panting, drooling, stomach upsets, lack of coordination, and collapse. It is a deadly medical emergency that must be treated by a vet immediately.

Choose Cool Activities

While it’s important not to overexert your dog in hot weather, they still need exercise. When exercising your dog in the heat, try to incorporate water. If there’s a nearby beach or lake where dogs are allowed, consider taking your dog for a swim. Swimming is an excellent way to exercise your dog and keep them cool at the same time. It’s also a lot of fun for your furry friend.

To encourage your dog to swim, play fetch with their favorite ball and throw it in the water. Always ensure that local lakes are safe for dogs to swim by checking online or with local authorities. Avoid taking your dog on long car journeys in the heat, and never leave dogs in cars or confined spaces on hot days.

If your dog doesn’t enjoy swimming or you don’t live near water, consider getting them a paddling pool. All dogs love a good splash. Not only will this add fun to your backyard for the whole family, but dogs can also lose and absorb heat through their paws. Providing a pool is a great way to help your four-legged friend stay cool. Alternatively, you can spritz your dog with a garden hose or water gun and turn it into a game.

Remember, keeping your dog cool in the summer is essential for their well-being. By following these tips, you can ensure your furry companion stays safe and comfortable during the hot weather. If you have any additional tips to share, please leave a comment below!

Keeping Dogs Cool: FAQ

What outdoor temperature can be considered too hot for dogs?

Dogs should not 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 dogs, sick or injured dogs, smaller breeds, and those with thicker coats can be vulnerable to dehydration and heatstroke 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.

How much water does a dog need?

Dogs need around an ounce of fluid per pound of their body weight per day according to pets.webMD.

How to know if your dog is too hot?

When 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 area and give him water to drink. Watch him for a while to see if he gets back to normal. If he gets worse you should call a vet and ask for advice.

How to play with dogs outside during the summer?

When playing with your dog outside during the summer, make sure that they have access to drinking water and shaded areas.

Paddling pools are a great way to provide your dog with a fun outdoor game that doubles up as a place to keep cool. Alternatively, you could spritz them with a garden hose or water gun.

How do I walk my dog during the summer?

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and walk your dog during the coolest periods in the day, such as early in the morning and later on in the evening. Remember not to exert your dog in hot weather and consider taking them for a swim if you have access to a local beach or lake. 

How can I tell when the ground is too hot for my dog’s paws?

A good rule of thumb for checking whether it’s too hot for your dog to go for a walk or not is the pavement test. Put your hand palm-down on the pavement. If you can’t keep it there for seven seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Can I give my dog ice cubes?

Ice is just frozen water, so it’s perfectly safe to give ice to your dog on a hot day. Plus, dogs 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 for your dog to avoid choking and crush them up for puppies and elderly dogs to avoid tooth damage.

Can I leave my dog outside in the summer?

If your dog wants to be outside, you can leave them out there so long as they have access to shade, drinking water, and a way to get back indoors if and when they want to.
When your dog is outside alone, remember to check on them every once in a while and keep their outdoor exposure limited in temperatures of around 90°F.

Are dogs less active in the summer?

Dogs are naturally less active in the summer because of the heat. They may want to play less, walk less, eat less, sleep more, and drink more. To accommodate this, don’t overfeed or exert your dog in hot temperatures.

How do I know if my dog is dehydrated?

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. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, you should give them sips of water and call your vet for advice.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?

If your dog is panting and drooling excessively or seems confused and uncoordinated after exposure to the heat, he may have heatstroke and you should keep your dog cool & call a vet as soon as possible.

That is how to keep your dog cool in the summer! Summertime is a fun time for everybody and that includes our dogs. Just make sure you take precautions to keep your dog safe in the heat. If you have any other tips you’d like to share – comment them down below!

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