(Because hot dogs are for baseball games!)

As the heat and humidity creep up during these warmer months, we humans have our go-to tricks for staying cool. Cranking the AC, stocking our freezers with popsicles, digging out our summer clothes and of course, sweating (our bodies’ natural cooling system); the list goes on. But what about our furry friends? Dogs are covered in warm fleece and don’t sweat to cool off the way that we do, but instead release heat in the form of moisture through panting. Read on for my top tips to help your pup stay cool through the summer!

1. Don’t skimp on water

When it comes to keeping your dog comfortable in the heat of the summer, nothing beats the hydrating power of water. Make sure to keep fresh water bowls around your house and yard where your pup will easily find them, in shady places where they’ll stay cool longer. For extra fun, add ice cubes to the bowl! 

For long walks and road trips, this Lesotc travel water bottle/bowl combo has been a life saver! In the ‘dog days’ of summer I always make sure to have this water bottle with me. I love that the top flips to make it more compact, and you can re-use the water, so it’s less wasteful. The bowl construction is great for my dog Mazlo, who can lap up as much water as he likes!

2. Stock up on frozen treats and toys

Speaking of ice cubes, have you tried freezable dog toys yet? This one from GUCHO can be a chew toy on its own, but you can also stuff it with dog treats then freeze for a cold toy that will provide your pup with mental stimulation and a snack! Another fun option is to make your own frozen treats. Simply fill an ice cube tray with peanut butter, sweet potato puree or low sodium chicken broth, then freeze to make a chilly snack that your dog will love on a hot day.

3. Encourage water play

On really hot days, I love to let my dog blow off steam in a stream or lake. This water safety vest gives me peace of mind, and has a handle on the back that’s really helpful for pulling my pup out of the water quickly.

If you don’t have a body of water nearby, make your own! I love this foldable dog pool from Lunaoo. It’s easy to set up and durable enough to handle your dog’s most enthusiastic splash sessions.

Another great option is a sprinkler. If you haven’t yet introduced your dog to water, start slowly and let your pup investigate at her own speed. Wait quietly, and praise when she approaches the water to help build her confidence. As your dog gets comfortable with the water and enjoys playing in it, consider adding a toy like this adorable duckie diver!

The quickest way to cool a dog down is by simply dipping their paws into water.  This is especially refreshing when you live in a city and walks are on hot pavement.  Another option to cool your pup on hot days is hosing her down, but proceed with caution. Long, fluffy fur can quickly become heavy and weighed down by water. This will actually trap heat and make your dog feel even warmer. Focus water contact to your pup’s stomach, chest, and paws; this will allow heat to escape through the dry fur on her back. If you live in an apartment or don’t have access to a hose, you can also use a squirt bottle or mister to cool off your fur buddy. Gently wetting your pup’s ears is another refreshing way to lower their body temperature.

4. Create a cool environment

When possible, stay inside during the hottest part of the day. If you don’t have air conditioning, a fan can be a great way for your pet to cool off. Since dogs release heat by panting and through their noses, make sure the fan’s airflow can reach your pup’s face. Bladeless fans like this one from Dreo are best for keeping your dog safe from getting fur, tongue or small paws caught in fan blades. 

A cool spot on a tile floor is always a good option for your pup’s afternoon nap. If your home is carpeted (or if your pup follows you wherever you go, tiled floor or not), this self-cooling mat from TheGreenPetShop is a great workaround. This mat automatically recharges itself after 15-20 minutes of non-use, and offers a pressure-activated chilling sensation that’s easy to use and great for home or travel. This is especially great for Golden Retrievers or Bernese Mountain dogs or other pups with longer hair that prefer lower temperatures. You know your dog isn’t a fan of the heat when they are less active on hotter days. A lazy dog is a good sign that a cooling system like this mat would be helpful.

When outside, make sure your dog has a shady place to stay cool. This is easy if you have shade trees or a covered patio! For an alternative, I love this elevated dog bed with a canopy from Niubya. This cot keeps your dog elevated off the ground with a mesh construction that allows for airflow underneath, and keeps your dog shaded with a large canopy overhead. Your dog will feel like a king on his throne!

5. Maintain healthy habits

When your dog is at a healthy weight, he’ll have an easier time regulating his body temperature. Heavier dogs tend to overheat and get even more lethargic when the temperatures rise. Do your best to keep your dog healthy and active, and this will naturally help him stay slightly cooler during hot weather!

Regular grooming will help your dog maintain a good temperature as well. Brush your dog’s coat regularly to help release his winter undercoat and prevent matted fur, which traps heat. I am a huge fan of this brush from Furminator for deshedding help.

Keep your pup comfortable and safe during the summer months by providing him with ample water, shade and a cool environment when possible. Heatstroke is a very real and potentially fatal condition that occurs when a dog’s internal temperature reaches 106 degrees. Please make sure to provide your pup with cooling options, and NEVER leave your dog alone in a hot car. You would be surprised how quickly a dog can overheat!

What are you favorite ways of keeping your pup cool during the summer months? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment here, or join our discussion in the My Loyal Hound private Facebook group

For more free puppy training resources, check out my blog, or sign up for remote or in-person training on my website!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something via these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!*