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Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Updated on August 21, 2011

Dog’s do not sweat the way you and I do. I’m sure you already knew that, but just in case you didn’t – now you do. When you see Fido panting, that’s him trying to cool off. Works great in normal climates and during weather that isn’t too warm. But when the temperature starts rising, it’s time to start taking measures to keep Fido cool, cos all the panting in the world ain’t gonna make him comfortable in the heat of summer. Some tips on how to help your pooch beat the heat:

1. Baby Pools are a great way for Fido to cool off.

A lot of dogs love these. Fill one up and watch how fast Fido will get the idea. If you have a small dog, a basin will do. Just make sure it’s something the dog is big enough to climb out of easily.

2. Crushed ice is great, too.

My dog loves to crunch on this stuff. Toss Fido a few and see how fast they disappear! But be sure it's very, very crushed, you don't want him to injure his teeth. As an aside, they also work wonders during the teething stage!

3. Don’t leave your dog outside all day in the summer.

You know how crap you feel after a few hours in 100 degree heat? Well, multiply that by a zillion and you know how Fido feels. If you want to leave him out for long periods of time, do it in the morning or evening – but not when the temps are at their hottest. I get very unhappy when I see a dog who can barely move because he’s so darn hot.

4. If he’s going to be outside for awhile, make sure there is some kind of shelter from the sun.

Trees,a picnic table, a covered patio – something that creates a shadow he can retreat to if he wants to. Dogs know what shade is, and they will absolutely find it if it exists. But it needs to exist all day – if you have one big tree that creates shade in the morning, it might not be creating shade a few hours later. Make sure you know there will be shade the entire time your pooch is out there.


5. Water. Water. Water.

You need to make sure your dog has a cold source of fresh water the entire time he is outside. If you leave him out for a long time, you need to make sure there’s enough water to last. And in the heat, that’s a lot of water you would need. More than a big bowl, that’s for sure. I recommend a trough like you see in horse stables – preferably covered in shade.

Obviously you don’t need something that big. But you need a lot more than 1 bowl of water. And it’s worth mentioning a lot of dogs will paw in their bowls and knock them over – what then? You need something large that he can’t knock over – that will be in a cool place the entire day, cos water gets warm quickly in the sun.

6. Your parked car is NOT the place for your dog.

A parking lot is a hot place – think about all that asphalt drawing the sun down. Try walking on that in August and see how much your feet appreciate it. Even if you drive your car to Walmart with the A/C blasting and plan to leave Fido in there for 5 minutes, you’re faced with at least 3 problems. First, that A\C’s going to go right out the window – cos no one with a brain would leave the windows rolled up with a dog in there.

Second, you can’t roll them down enough to get real airflow in there, cos Fido could escape. Three, people like me who pass your car and see Fido in there, might just stand there and clock how long you are gone. I give it 15 min, max. If I don’t see you in that timeframe, I call the ASPCA and let them deal with you. And believe me – they will come right out there.

I’m sure some of this sounds like common sense, but the fact is, a lot of dog owners don’t consider these things when they put their dog outdoors. They think he’ll be fine out there all day, not realizing he’s susceptible to the elements just like people are. More so, because he doesn't sweat. It’s up to you to provide him with the tools to stay cool – he deserves it!


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