Keeping dogs cool in hot weather

Keeping Dogs Cool

What with the recent high summer temperatures thoughts turn to keeping dogs cool. The aim of this article is to highlight some of the things to consider for the health of your dog.

Keeping Dogs Cool on Walks

Currently temperatures are consistently over 30 degrees celsius. In such weather there are a number of things we can do to make life easier for our dogs. Altering the times you walk your dog to early morning and late evening is one obvious solution. For dog walkers though, most of our clients want walks in the middle of the day. When walking dogs at the hottest time of day there are a few things you can do. If you have a wooded, forested area locally these are often much cooler. The tree canopy really does keep the temperature down. Locations where there is a river or pond can also help dogs cool down, providing of course your dogs like water. Naturally you should always carry water with you and perhaps much more this time of year.

Also consider sunscreen for your dog. Whilst a dog’s fur coat gives it good protection from the sun, areas like the nose and tips of the ears can still suffer. It’s important to note though that some sunscreens designed for humans contain Zinc Oxide which can be harmful to dogs. Either get a sunscreen designed for dogs or read the label carefully.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of surfaces your dog is likely to walk on. The grass in your local park is a comfortable temperature but some pavements and road surfaces can get very hot. Black surfaces like tarmac can get especially hot and burn the paws of your dog.

Keeping Dogs Cool in vehicles

There have been numerous stories about dogs who die in hot cars. Dogs should never be left unattended in a parked car during the summer. Consider whether you can have another member of the family with you so that if you leave the car, the other family member can stay with the dog, keeping the air conditioning on or windows open.

When driving with the air conditioning on the interior of my vehicle is much cooler than the interior of my house. It does not take long to heat up though once the engine is switched off. The cage system I use from Lintran is largely white and reflects heat keeping the cage temperature lower as a result.

For the average dog owner who does not have such a cage system there are still lots of things you can do. Many cars now have an additional 12v cigarette lighter connection in the rear of the vehicle. This could be ideal to connect a small electric fan. Bear in mind however that some 12v supplies are wired to only work when the ignition is on so are not suitable if the car is unattended. Window blinds can be attached to reduce the effect of the sun slightly or you could have the windows tinted to reduce the interior heat.

Keeping Dogs Cool – Special Products

Finally there are another couple of dog specific products which could be useful for both in car or at home use. Cooling pads or mats are available which are activated by pressure. Once activated they reach a temperature a few degrees below the ambient temperature which could be enough for extra comfort. There are also Cool Collars which you can buy. Some can be filled with ice and others have a gel inside which can be activated. If I’m able to purchase one of these devices in the next few days I will post a review.

I hope this article about keeping dogs cool has been of some use. If you have any tips that have worked for you feel free to leave a comment so our readers can benefit.

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  1. This is an important topic to cover, thank you. Our husky likes to eat ice cubes when it’s hot and our German shepherd likes to play under the hose pipe jet. I’d never heard of cooling mats, will look those up.

    1. Hi Joanna,

      Yes our border collie Archie will sometimes eat his food frozen and also likes a dip in a pond when it’s hot. The cooling mats we have contain a gel. They are not incredibly cold but are much cooler than the surrounding temperature and make a difference. Dogs I walk seem to like them in the cage but Archie is yet to really try them as he’s suspicious of anything new.

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