It’s tough for a dog to regulate their own temperature in summer.
The temperature can be enough to make them exhausted. And if you’re not careful, your dog might catch heatstroke–a potentially fatal problem that killed 58 dogs in one year alone.
So, how can you take care of your dog in summer and make sure they’re safe?
In this guide, we’ll share the 11 ways you can keep your dog cool in summer, including:
- Make space for them in the shade
- Give access to water at all times
- Put a paddling pool in the garden
- Make use of the garden sprinkler
- Lay damp towels on the floor
- Apply dog suncream
- Give them frozen treats to munch on
- Never leave your dog in the car
- Plan summer walks in advance
- Check the pavement before going outside
- Don’t overdo it with exercise
Ready? Let’s dive in.
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1. Make space for them in the shade
Just like humans, it’s not sensible for your dog to be outside in direct sunlight in the middle of summer. Not only is the sun overwhelmingly hot, but there’s a risk of sunburn.
Always make sure your dog has some shade–whether that’s beneath a table or their own canopy bed.
But here’s the most important part: try to encourage your dog to stay in the shade. Some pups are too excited and will run around in the sun for hours before realising they’re too hot or burnt. So, reward your dog whenever they’re in the shade, and make it a nice place for them to be.
2. Give access to water at all times
Chances are, you’ve got a water bowl for your dog to drink from beside their food bowl.
You’ll need more than this in summer. In fact, you should have various sources of water for your dog to drink from–including a bowl in the garden, and a collapsable water bowl if you’re out on a walk.
Constantly encourage your dog to drink some water throughout the day. Dehydration is serious, and happens when your pup doesn’t have enough fluids in their body. Plus, cold water can help keep them cool.
3. Put a paddling pool in your garden
Do you have room in your back garden for a small paddling pool? Your dog would love it!
You can pick up a small padding pool on Amazon for as little as £30. And, most of them don’t need inflating–you can get small plastic pools that are ideal to help your dog cool off in summer.
You don’t need a huge garden, nor a huge paddling pool, to keep your dog cool.
But if you’ve got some extra space, consider a larger pool. It could teach your dog to swim (a valuable life lesson). That’s a great way to get some exercise in summer without overheating.
(Just remember to stop your dog drinking from the pool water, if they try.)
4. Make use of the garden sprinkler
Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge garden for a paddling pool.
You can still keep your dog cool in summer months by making use of the garden sprinkler, hosepipe, or water guns. Water fights are great family activities your dogs and kids would love.
A sprinkler is especially great, though, because you can leave it on. Use the sprinkler to water the grass and let your dog come and go as they please. Chances are, they’ll wonder into the sprinkler on their own if they’re getting too hot and need cooling down.
5. Lay damp towels on the floor
What happens if you don’t have any outdoor space at all?
A superb way to keep your dog cool inside the house is to lay damp towels on the floor (so long as it’s not carpet, obviously.) You can do this on wooden or lino flooring–just be careful you don’t slip.
A damp towel isn’t too cold to freeze your pup, but it does give them a cool place to lie down.
6. Apply dog suncream
Yes, dogs can get sunburnt, and some are more likely to get it than others (like those with white fur.)
You’ll need to keep an eye on the UV scale throughout the summer months, and make sure your dog isn’t playing outside when the sun’s rays are strongest. This can result in sunburn–a painful thing for your dog to experience that could develop into heatstroke or skin blistering.
Luckily, it’s easy to prevent. Pick up some dog-friendly suncream and apply it to their body before leaving the house.
Dog suncream can come in two versions:
- Wipes: Ideal for delicate places like their face or paws
- Spray: To cover large areas of their body, such as their torso
Remember to top it up every few hours so they’re always protected.
7. Give them ice or frozen treats to munch on
Some dogs (including mine!) love to snack on ice.
And, the best part: it helps keep your dog hydrated without marching them to their water bowl. They’ll just crush the ice until it turns into water they’re able to swallow.
It’s not just ice you can do this with, though. You can introduce more vitamins and minerals into your dog’s diet with frozen snacks that keep them cool in summer. Things like frozen carrots, strawberries, and bananas make for great summer-friendly snacks.
(This works especially well if your dog is food-orientated. Use your frozen snacks as a homemade treat when teaching your dog a new trick. Every time they master the command, give them a snack to help cool them down.)
8. Never leave your dog in the car
If you’re using the car to take your dogs on adventures in the summer, never leave them alone in the car.
The RSPCA explain why: “When it’s 22°C outside, temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C [inside a car] which can result in death.”
But even if you are taking them on car journeys, try to limit the time you’re spending in the car. An open window might not give them enough fresh air if they’re in the back of the car. And if you have to travel long distances, break the journey into short breaks to let them stretch their legs and get some fresh air.
(Side note: always try to help a dog if you seen them locked inside a car–especially if there are no windows open. You can do this by ringing the emergency number.)
9. Plan your summer walks in advance
It’s great to take an impromptu walk with your dog, following paths you’ve never taken before. But not in summer.
You want to plan any walks you’re doing in the summer months so you’re never in direct sunlight for too long, and you’ve always got a reliable water source.
For example: Let’s say you’ve followed a footpath and found yourself in acres of fields. There aren’t any trees, nor pools of water for your dog to drink from. That’s a problem–walking to find water can make them dehydrated, and they’re at-risk from getting sunburn due to the lack of shade.
Try to go on walks where you know you’ve got guaranteed access to shade.
And, bring the collapsable water bowl on any summertime walk so your dog has always got access to water. It’ll save you from searching for a river or stream for them to take a sip from, or pouring from a water bottle into your palm (where most will spill out anyway.)
10. Check the pavement before going outside
Dogs paws are extremely sensitive. They’ll injure and burn their paws if they’re walking outside on a surface that’s been baking in the sun all day–potentially resulting in blisters that burn every time they walk for days afterwards.
You can test whether it’s okay to walk your dog by placing the back of your palm onto the floor. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.
We recommend walking your dogs in the morning or evening. This means you’re avoiding midday (between 11am and 3pm), when the sun is brightest and the air most humid.
There’s also less risk of a hot pavement from burning your dog’s paws if you’re avoiding times where direct sunlight is strongest.
11. Don’t overdo it with exercise
It’s tempting to go on hour-long walks when it’s nice outside. But be wary about the impact that both direct sunlight and heat have on your dog.
You don’t want your dog to overheat and get dehydrated. So, pace out their exercise in a way that makes sense.
For example: You could start the day with a long walk before it gets too warm. When it’s too hot outside, get the paddling pool out and throw some carrots in. They’ll cool down by submerging their nose to find it. Then, when it cools down in the evening, take them on another walk, or play some games to stimulate their brain.
It’s irresponsible to have your dog running around in the middle of the day during the summer. Allow them to relax and cool-off in the shade, and save the physical exercise for a suitable temperature.
Use these tips to cool your dog down in summer
As you can see, you need to take extra care of your dog during the summer months. You don’t want them to overheat, get dehydrated, or suffer with sunburn–all of which can be fatal.