How to Keep Dogs Cool in the Summer

corgi en plein été chaud

Heatwaves are an increasingly frequent climatic phenomenon. We’re not the only ones suffering though: cats and dogs are feeling the heat as well. Our pets are dependent on us to be able to cool down, which is why we must be particularly vigilant in hot weather. Here are some tips to help you protect your dog from the summer heat.

How do Dogs React to the Summer Heat?

Heat exhaustion is a real threat. If your pet can’t keep a steady normal temperature, your pooch may die of a heat stroke. Excessive panting, rapid heartbeat and exhaustion in dogs are not good signs. So what hot temperatures can dogs tolerate? In general, with adequate shade, a lot of water, good air flow, dogs should handle 90 degrees F or 32 degrees C.

Can dogs sweat through their skin like humans do?

Sorry but the answer is no. Dogs and cats don’t sweat through their skin the way us humans do. Dogs sweat through their paws. This is not optimal to keep them cool in the summer.  

How do Dogs Cool Down in Hot Weather?

Dogs pant to cool down. When dogs pant they let hot air from their body and inhale cool air. When a dog sticks out its tongue, its breathing becomes short and fast to help the air circulation.

chiens haletant durant un été chaud
Owain & Haribo panting after playtime!

Seek a cool spot in the shade: if your dog is outdoors, it will seek to lie on the bare ground to enjoy the moisture. Indoors, your dog will want to seek the coolest spot in the entire house.

What are the Risks for a Dog During a Heatwave?

If a dog cannot keep cool during a heatwave, its health is at risk. Heatwaves are no joke for dogs.

  • Heart problems are a direct result of overheating. Your dog’s heart works extra hard to help deal with the heat so be careful. If your dog’s belly turns redder than normal…it means that your dog is hot.
  • Your dog can also have breathing problems or a stroke.
  • Fatigue: your pooch has a hard time keeping up with the heat. The hotter it gets, the more tired your pet gets.
  • Dehydration can happen in a few hours and can be fatal. Provide water for your pooch during the heatwave.
  • The heatstroke is the worst danger of them all. Heatstrokes that are not spotted in time are often fatal for dogs.

How to Cool Dogs Down in Hot Weather or a Heat Wave?

Simple Tips When at Home or Out for a Walk

  • Always leave fresh water within reach of the dog (without ice cubes, the dog could swallow them and choke on them). Don’t force him to drink, let him manage his thirst.
  • Provide your dog with a cool place to lie down: a ventilated room or a shaded area in the garden. Why not invest in a cooling mat? You can get those at the dollar store for cheap.
  • Prefer walks at the coolest hours of the day. No peeing under the midday sun!
  • If you have to go out for a walk, use dirt trails near a watercourse: it is cooler there. Avoid hot concrete as much as possible! If you want to cool your dog fast, make sure it can soak its paws in cool water.
  • No coats, no shirts, no clothing!
  • Do not force your pet to run or play during a heatwave.

Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Car

Even if you should avoid driving with your dog as much as possible during a heatwave, sometimes, it’s not possible. If you have to travel with your dog, make sure you follow these tips and everything should go well:

  • NEVER leave your dog unattended in a vehicle in the sun, even if it’s “just 5 minutes to go shopping”! A heatstroke happens very fast and is often fatal for a dog if not treated in time.
  • Keep the car well ventilated, make sure that the dog’s transport cage is also sufficiently ventilated. In this case, we think air conditioning is ideal.
  • Don’t let your dog pass his head through the window, it would be silly to catch an ear infection or conjunctivitis. Make sure the dog remains inside of the car.
  • Take breaks and offer your dog fresh water throughout the trip

How can I tell if my dog is too hot?

The first signs of heatstroke in a dog are a heavy panting, drooling, agitation for no apparent reason. If you notice any unusual behavior during hot weather, call your vet immediately! They will give you life saving advice because a heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency! You should always do something about heatstroke symptoms as they rapidly lead to the death of the animal. You must react quickly to save your pet. Transport your dog to a cool area and put water at its disposal without forcing it to drink.

What is the fastest way to cool down a dog?

Give your pet a cool bath (no cold, not ice cold but simply cool to avoid a brutal temperature drop) or dip its paws in cool water. Your vet will handle it from there on with corticoids to keep your dog’s brain safe while monitoring its blood flow.

Does pouring water on your dog cool them down?

Yet it does. Bluecross advises to wet your dog’s coat or drench a towel in cool, but not very cold, water and drape it over your pet. This should help lower their body temperature and cool a dog suffering from a heatstroke to help get you safely to the vet.

If you are worried, call a vet, acting fast can keep your dog from overheating.


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