I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:
There is nothing worse than suffering through a hot summer’s day.
Drenched in sweat and feeling exhausted? It’s no fun at all.
Spare a thought for your dog – he’s suffering just as much as you, and he’s basically wearing a fur coat!
Want to stop your dog from overheating? Check out these 13 tricks to keep your pup cool and comfortable when the temperature rises.
1. A cold, refreshing drink
It’s hard to beat a refreshing glass of chilled water on a hot day, right?
Your dog feels the same way!
When it comes to cooling down your hot dog, cold water works best.
Cold water has the immediate effects of cooling your dog down from inside his stomach.
Also, your dog is more likely to drink water that is a cold temperature..
But in summer, the water sitting in your dog’s bowl can quickly warm up.
Adding ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl is a quick way to lower the water temperature.
Alternatively, consider buying a freezable water bowl…
Freezable water bowls have an ice pack-like gel inside. When you add water, the bowl will chill the water. No more ice cubes!
What if you are away from home? Consider using a collapsible bowl or dog water bottle to offer your dog a refreshing drink while on the go.
- Regularly check to see if your dog’s water bowl needs refilling
- Use multiple water bowls if necessary. For example, one inside and one outside
- Place your dog’s water bowl away from direct sunlight to keep the water cool.
2. Use a freezing-cold ice pack
I am a big fan of using ice packs to cool down dogs. They provide instant relief from the heat.
Gunner, my German Shepherd agrees. In his old age, he struggles with the summer heat. Even in the cooler evenings, he is noticeably uncomfortable, panting loudly – it distresses me to see him like this.
But when he lays on an ice pack, the relief is immediate. Gunner instantly relaxes as the ice pack refreshes him..
You probably already have everything on hand to make a DIY ice pack.
Grab a water bottle, fill it with water and place it in your freezer. Once it has frozen, place on the ground under your dog’s chin.
Alternatively, fill a zip-lock bag with ice cubes and hand it to your pup to lay on. Or if you want to sacrifice a pack of frozen peas, that will work too.
You can also consider using a cold pack – if you have ever needed to ice an injury, you may even have one in your medical cabinet.
A better solution again is a cold-wrap. These cold packs have an elastic strap, allowing them to be attached to your dog. Now your dog doesn’t have to lay down in to cool off.
Each cold wrap provides roughly 30 minutes of cooling comfort, more than enough time to cool down your hot and bothered pooch.
Important: Ice packs are not safe for chewers. ice packs should only be used under supervision and removed. Remove the ice pack immediately if your dog starts chewing.
3. Give your hot pup freezable dog toys
Is your dog a toy addict? He will love these icy toy recommendations – your dog can play and keep cool at the same time.
Typically, these cold toys cool your dog in one of two ways:
Freezable Treat Toys – Filled with food then frozen. Your dog uses his tongue to lick his frosty treat out of the toy.
Freezable Chew Toys – Filled with water and frozen. The icy toy will cool your dog as he chews.
Let’s take a look at two of the most popular freezable dog toys around:
The Chilly Penguin is a favorite among the DogLab team. It even made the list on our 33 best dog toys ever!
Load the Chilly Penguin up with your dog’s favorite treat and place it in the freezer. Once the food has frozen, give it to your dog
Your dog will be both entertained and refreshed as he tries to lick every last bit of frozen treat out of the toy. We found that
Does your overheated dog prefer to chew than lick? Then check out the Chill Out Ice Bone.
Fill the Chill Out Ice bone with water and leave it in your freezer. Once full, you have a frozen bone – perfect for cooling down your furry chewer.
As your pup chews, the bone will brush against his paws, gums, and roof of the mouth, providing a much needed cooling sensation.
A special gel inside the bone helps stop the ice from melting as quickly. Your pup will be thankful for this feature on especially hot days – he can enjoy his icy toy longer.
Our own experience with freezable dog toys was a positive one…
Do you have a Husky? You’ll know how harsh the summer heat can be for these fluffy dogs. Our Siberian Husky testers find it difficult, and our summers here in New York are relatively mild.
Our poor pups were noticeably uncomfortable and sluggish due to the hot weather. But when we gave them frozen dog toys, they returned to their playful selves – like zombies coming back to life!
While most dogs love freezable toys, they do have a downside I must mention – they melt.
This can lead to sticky puddles of water on your floor. For this reason, only allow your dog to play with these toys on surfaces that are easy to clean – not your couch or carpet.
4. Find your dog a cool spot to rest
When I’m lying awake in bed on a hot summer night, I love nothing more than flipping my pillow over. The cold side is instantly refreshing.
In the same way, a cold surface can be used to keep your dog comfortable on a hot day.
You see, when your dog lays down on a cold surface, his body heat transfers to the floor – regulating his body temperature
In fact, this is why many dogs dig holes on a hot day. They are trying to reach the cold soil below, so they can lay in it.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to dig up your yard to cool down your dog…
All you need to do is move your dog to a cooler surface and encourage him to lay down – a treat will help!
Naturally cold surfaces include tiled and concrete floors. Even a shaded grassy area in the corner of your backyard will work.
However, this cooling technique does have a drawback. Over time, your dog will warm the spot he is lying on. When this happens, the cooling becomes less effective – just like how the cold side of your pillow doesn’t last long.
It can also be challenging to get your dog to stay in one spot. Even though she was uncomfortably hot, our Golden Retriever was determined to remain near her owner – she wouldn’t stay on the cold bathroom tiles.
If you are having the same problems, then check out a cooling mat.
These mats provide your pup with a long-lasting cold surface and can be set up anywhere in your home, even next to you while you watch TV…
Cooling pads come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Some contain a gel that cools down quicker than a regular mat. Others include freezable inserts that stay cooler for longer but need to be refrozen.
Before buying a cooling mat, consider your dog’s size. A Dachshund or Chihuahua can get by with a smaller mat. But a Great Dane or Mastiff are going to need something bigger.
Oh, and if you crate your dog overnight, consider buying a cooling mat that will fit inside the crate. This way, the mat can keep your dog fresh as he sleeps through the night.
5. Go for a swim
There isn’t much I enjoy more than going for a swim on a hot summer day – A quick dip in cold water immediately makes you feel refreshed.
And if your dog loves to swim, he will feel the same way.
Spaniels, Poodles, Irish Setters, and Retrievers are just a few of the dogs that love to swim.
A quick dip in the pool, lake or ocean will have your dog cool in no time – Don’t forget to practice water safety and equip your dog with a life jacket if you need too!
Don’t own a pool, and not lucky enough to live near a lake or beach? I feel you…
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use this solution to cool down your pup.
All you need to do is grab a dog pool…
Fill the dog pool with water, add your pup’s favorite toys, and you have a cooling solution that will keep your dog’s entertained for hours.
Okay, so these pools aren’t deep enough to swim in. But that doesn’t matter. They are the perfect size for splashing around or even laying in.
My neighbor’s dog pool can fit two Labradors lying down. Their tails wag with joy every time they see her set up the pool.
6. Hose down your dog
Don’t have room for a pool? Hose your down your dog instead.
Turn on your garden hose and spray your dog down. As the cold water flows over your dog’s body, it will cool your pup down.
Now, some dogs will be more open to this than others. For instance, our Pug tester hates being sprayed with water. As does our Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu.
But our Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, and Beagle would let us spray them for hours.
You’ll know soon if your dog enjoys being hosed down. He’ll run for cover if he doesn’t!
If your dog really loves the water, or you have multiple dogs, consider attaching a sprinkler to your hose.
When it comes to sprinklers, grab one that randomly shoots water in all directions. It turns cooling down a fun game as your dog tries to chase the different streams of water.
Note hosing down long-haired fluffy dogs may actually have the opposite effect. Especially on humid days with low airflow…
If you soak heavy-coated dogs, the water will weigh his coat down, Trapping heat underneath.
For these dogs, focus on hosing the chest, stomach, and paws. This way you can take advantage of the cold, flowing water while body heat is free to escape through the hair on the top of your dog.
Don’t have a backyard but still want to spray your pup with water to cool him down? Our next option is a little more apartment friendly.
7. Mist your dog with cold water
Apartments and wet dogs just don’t mix. It’s a recipe for mess.
Do you live in an apartment? You can still achieve the cooling effects of a hose by using a spray bottle.
The advantage of a spray bottle is accuracy. You can spray specific areas of your dog without making a mess. And if you use the mist option, there will be almost no water to clean up.
To cool your dog, you will need to use the correct technique. Lightly misting your dog all over won’t have much of a cooling effect.
For maximum refreshment, you should aim for the paws and underbelly, where there is less hair.
While a spray bottle won’t soak your floor in the same way a hose would, I still advise spraying your dog on a towel – the last thing you want is water marks on your carpet.
While any old dollar store spray bottle will do, my preference is to use a plant mister.
A plant mister is designed for watering indoor plants. The mist that comes out of a nozzle is considerably finer than an ordinary spray bottle. A finer mist means less wet dog hair and fewer water droplets on your floor.
Now, I must warn you that a spray bottle can startle your dog. The sharp “pssssst” sound and the cold water hitting your hot dog can
We used a spray bottle on Charlie, an overheating Corgi. He reeled back and gave us a dirty look as if to say, “Excuse me, sir, what are you doing to me?”
But once he associated the sound and feeling with cold comfort, he happily let us spray him all over.
Oh, and if you use a spray bottle to punish your dog (you shouldn’t) don’t be surprised if he doesn’t let you use one to cool him down.
8. Create a cool breeze
There’s nothing quite like a cool wind on a hot summer day – the breeze makes the temperature feel cooler than it actually is.
As the wind flows over you, it evaporates sweat. This removes heat from your body, creating a cooling sensation.
What do you do if the wind isn’t blowing? You buy a fan!
When the hot weather strikes, the airflow from a fan will make your pup feel significantly more comfortable.
But you can’t just point the fan at your dog’s body.
Dogs only sweat in specific areas that aren’t covered by hair. I’m talking about your pup’s nose, genital area and paw pads.
Unless you have a hairless breed, such as the Chinese Crested Dog or Mexican Hairless, pointing a fan at your dog’s body isn’t going to cool him down.
Instead, you want to point the fan at these hair-free locations, where your dog sweats.
The best fans for your dog are either short or can be pointed down towards your dog – Taller pedestal fans will blow over the top of your dog and don’t offer the same cooling effect.
Does your dog have long hair? Then bladed fans pose a risk. If your dog sits on the fan, his hair may get caught in the spinning blades.
If your dog has long hair, you may want to consider a bladeless fan such as the Dyson AM06. The downside of bladeless fans is that they are significantly more expensive.
It is worth mentioning that fans are less efficient at high humidity levels. On humid days, sweat evaporates more slowly, reducing the cooling effect that a fan offers.
9. Offer your dog a tasty frozen treat
When the warm weather rolls around, you won’t see my husband without a popsicle in his mouth – It’s his go-to method of staying cool in the summer heat.
And if you give your dog a popsicle, it will cool him down too.
But human popsicles are not suitable for dogs. They are high in sugar and often contain preservatives or even xylitol.
If you want a safe and healthy popsicle for your dog, you’ll need to make it yourself.
Fortunately, creating popsicles for dogs is darn simple. All you’ll need is a silicone ice-cube tray.
Fill your ice tray with low-sodium chicken broth or pumpkin puree and wait for it to freeze. You now have a delicious frozen treat that will cool your dog down as he eats it.
You can get really creative with recipes. For example, you can mix yogurt and peanut butter together for a creamier treat. There are hundreds of different dog popsicle recipes that can be found online.
Me? I’m more of an ice-cream girl. If I open a tub of Cookies and Cream Ice-cream, I won’t stop until I finish it in one sitting.
That is why I was super excited to discover that I can give my dog the same frozen treat that I love so much.
Our pup loves the Puppy Scoops Ice-cream Mix it with water, throw it in your freezer and you’ll be reward with a fluffy dog-safe ice-cream – Maple Bacon is our pup’s favorite flavor!
10. Cool your dog with a damp towel
Ordinarily, you would use a towel to dry off your dog. But to cool down your hot dog, you are going to do the opposite.
A damp towel is the perfect solution to cooling down a hot dog.
For larger dogs you’ll want to grab a bath towel. For smaller pups, a dish towel will do.
Soak the towel in cool water until it’s saturated. Next, you’ll want to squeeze out any excess water, so the wet towel doesn’t drip all over your dog and floor.
Now, you want to place the damp towel on your dog. In particular, his underbelly, inner thighs or neck – these spots cool your dog down quickest.
If you are toweling down your dog inside, make sure you ring out any excess water – you don’t want puddles of water on your floor!
Don’t want your good bath towels smelling like wet dog?
Buy your dog his own towel!
These microfiber towels are what I use to dry my dog. Not only are they super-absorbent, but they also dry quicker than a traditional cotton towel.
11. Buy your dog special cooling clothes
I’m not one to dress my dog in clothes. They serve no functional purpose.
I mean, why does a dog need pants?
But I can certainly see the appeal of clothing that keeps your dog cool on a hot day!
Cooling clothing comes in a wide range of styles.
From cooling vests that fit under a harness…
To bandanas that slide over your dogs head…
…There are a wide variety of clothes that will keep your dog looking and feeling cool.
Of course, if your dog hates to wear clothing, then it’s possible he will reject these too.
But once your pup feels the cooling sensation that these clothes provide, he’ll be thankful you dressed him up!
12. Stay inside
Unless you live in a tin shack, it’s going to be considerably colder inside your home than out.
If you have an “outside dog” consider letting your pup escape the heat by allowing him inside.
Depending on where you live, you might not have a choice. For instance, Marion County, Indianapolis has made it illegal to keep dogs outside in temperatures over 90˚F.
If you are going to crank the A/C inside, it’s hardly fair for your dog to suffer through the heatwave outside, right?
So why not invite your dog inside to beat the heat? Once the temperature drops he will be more than happy to return to your yard.
Do you fear mess? Keep your dog in the laundry, bathroom, or kitchen area. These rooms are easier to clean if your dog has an accident. You don’t need to let your pup on the carpet.
If you are confining your dog to a single room, don’t forget to leave a water bowl inside!
13. Speak to your vet ASAP if you suspect heat stroke
Heat stroke occurs if your dog’s body temperature rises over 104˚F. As the body temperature climbs higher, your dog is in grave danger of neurological problems, kidney failure or even death.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you should contact your vet immediately.
There are clues that your dog is suffering from heatstroke such as:
- Heavy panting that is increasing over time
- Dark red or pale gums
- Noticibly agitated
- Uncoordinated movement
- Loss of consciousness
- Laying down unwilling to get up
However, the most accurate way to determine if your dog is suffering from heatstroke is to take your dog’s temperature.
And he’s probably not going to like it…
You see, the most accurate way of taking your dog’s temperature is through the back door, with a rectal thermometer.
It may be gross, but your dog’s life is at stake. He will forgive you!
Be mindful that long flexible tipped thermometers can be challenging to slide inside your dog’s rectum. Our Veterinary advisor recommends a shorter probe like this one:
If you read a temperature of 105˚F you should immediately try to cool down your dog using these steps and contact your vet.
Being hot and bothered is no fun. And in extreme cases, it can even be dangerous for your dog.
That’s why keeping your pup cool in the hot weather is part of being a responsible dog owner.
Whether you are using ice water or cranking the A/C, your dog will thank you for taking the effort to keep him cool when the temperature spikes.
How do you cool down your dog on a hot day? Got a tip to share? Let me know in the comments below!