If you’re anything like us, you’ll be ready and raring for summer to kick in, for the sun to shine and the warmth to hit your skin.
But as rewarding as it can be for us humans, it can be a really challenging time for our four-legged friends.
Your pup may have a skill for finding the sunniest spot in the house to nap in, but on those really hot days, it may become clear that dogs and heat don’t always go well together.
We want you to be able to enjoy the sun safely with your furry bff, so we’ve put together a few top tips to help you prepare for the warmer months.
9 foolproof ways to keep dogs cool in summer:
- Avoid the midday sun
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Make some pupsicles
- Take breaks in shady spots
- Invest in a cool mat
- Pool party in the garden
- Introduce new games
- Indulge in pamper sessions
- Never leave your dog in the car
Heat and dogs - Important safety info:
- How do dogs regulate their temperature?
- Brachycephalic dogs and heat
- Common signs your dog is overheating
- The fastest way to cool down a dog
Top tips to keep your dog cool:
1. Walk your dog early in the morning, or late in the evening 🌡️
By heading out first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, you’ll avoid the hottest parts of the day and have the best chance of a cool and comfortable walk with your dog.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate 🚰
Always remember to regularly top up your dog's water bowls, keeping fresh drinking water inside the house and out in the garden, so they have plenty of opportunity to drink.
Whether your heading out for a walk, off to meet friends for a puppaccino, or exploring a new city - make sure you take plenty of water with you wherever you go so you’re never caught short.
3. Get creative and make some pupsicles 🍦
Most dogs love a treat (or two!), so why not spoil them with some frozen goodies to help keep them cool?
You can keep it super simple by freezing some blueberries into an ice cube tray, or freeze some rubber toys into a plastic container for a giant ice treat.
Pinterest is also a great place to explore dog friendly fruity recipes.
So far, these banana and peanut butter pupsicles are a favourite for the Barc dogs! 🍌
4. Take frequent breaks in shaded spaces outdoors 🌳
Our furry friends won’t always tell us when they need a break, so it’s important to make the decision for them during the warmer months. Monitor your dog during walkies, and take plenty of breaks to prevent them from overdoing it.
Whether you choose to chill out under the patio umbrella, or find some shade below the trees, you can use this time to rehydrate, check your pup’s paw pads to make sure nothing is bothering them, or enjoy a tasty treat like the ones mentioned above.
5. Invest in a cool mat, or use a damp towel for them to lie on 🧊
Cooling mats can be filled either with gel or water and they help to cool dogs down by absorbing their body heat.
They’re lightweight and portable, so you can pop one in your bag before you head out for the day, ensuring your pup always has somewhere cool to lie down.
Another option, if you’re at home, is to soak a few old towels in cold water, ring out the excess water, and then dot them around the house or garden.
6. Pool party in the garden 💦
You can let pups that love water cool off in streams or rivers when out on walkies.
Or, if you’re at home, try a doggy paddling pool in the shade or a sprinkler in the garden and watch them splash around to their hearts content.
If your pup is unfamiliar with water, make sure you read our dog swimming safety guide before letting them jump into deep water.
📷 Photo: Dog wearing Barc London's Liquorice Stripe Fabric Collar.
7.Introduce new, fun summer games 🧸
The warmer months are a great opportunity to test out new games that don’t involve a lot of running.
An indoor game of hide and seek with their favourite squeaky toy or treats is great for stimulating their senses.
8. Treat them to a pamper session 🧼
Whether that’s a good brush to remove shedding hair, or a refreshing and cooling bath, regular home grooming can help to ensure your dog stays cool in hot weather.
📷 Photo: Barc London's dog grooming products for summer pampering.
9. Never ever leave your dog in the car 🚗
As a dog owner, you should already know the importance of this point. It can be fatal to leave your dog in a hot car - even if the car is parked in the shade with the windows open.
Always plan ahead if you're heading out for the day, and consider taking a friend with you - that way you’ll have company and a pup sitter combined if you do need to pop somewhere that isn’t dog friendly.
How do dogs regulate their temperature?
Dogs rely on panting to help keep themselves cool and regulate their temperature. A dog's coat acts as an insulator, so they don’t sweat through their skin like humans do.
While they can't sweat through skin, they do have sweat glands in their paw pads, nose and ear canals which allow them to release heat.
Brachycephalic dogs and heat:
Brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs have a shorter muzzle, which puts them at a disadvantage on warm days.
Their facial bone structure restricts their airways, meaning that when they breathe, less air gets into the lungs, and therefore have to work harder to get sufficient oxygen.
Because dogs use panting to regulate their body temperature, brachycephalic breeds are more at risk of overheating during summer months. Because of this, it’s really important to give them a little more TLC to ensure they stay happy, healthy and safe.
Are brachycephalic dogs more susceptible to heatstroke?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes.
Brachycephalic dogs have been found to be twice as likely to suffer from heatstroke than their longer-muzzled canine friends (like labradors).
This is because they already have breathing struggles, and for some, it’s even noticeable when they are resting.
By familiarising yourself with the signs of heatstroke and overheating, you can prepare for and look forward to a summer of fun with your dog, no matter their breed.
Common signs your dog is overheating:
You know your dog better than anyone, and more often than not, you’ll be able to recognise when they’re becoming restless and distressed in the hot temperatures.
Spotting the symptoms of heat stress is really important for keeping your dog safe in warmer weather, and could help you prevent the risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Signs of dog overheating include:
- Rapid breathing and a racing heart
- Overheating (skin hot to touch)
- Glassy eyes
- Unsteady on their feet
- Changes in gum colour (turning a bluish-purple or bright red colour)
- Excessive thirst
- Vomiting or diarrhoea, or completely going off food
- Unconsciousness, sometimes leading to collapse
If you become concerned about your dog’s condition, or they go unconscious at any point, contact your vet or out of hours emergency clinic immediately.
What is the fastest way to cool a dog down?
If you notice any of the signs above, you’ll want to act fast to cool your pup down.
First things first, move your dog to a cooler location, preferably somewhere inside with a fan, or if you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning then any room will do!
📷 Photo: Dog in shaded garden wearing Barc London's Blush Pink Vegan Collar.
If you can, encourage them to drink cool water but don’t force them. Use a damp towel on their neck, armpits and groin, or place a wet towel under them.
Once they’ve started to cool down, you can spray their coat with tepid / lukewarm water - never cold water.
You’ll also want to keep your pup calm so you can monitor their symptoms.
How to cool down a panting dog:
Wondering how to cool down a dog if they’re panting excessively? Try these simple steps below:
- Move them into a cooler location. If outdoors, head towards shade
- Using cool water, wet their ears and paw pads, or grab a damp towel and start padding down their neck, armpits and groin to help the cooling process
- Offer them fresh drinking water, but never force them to drink it
- Keep them company and talk in a calm and reassuring voice to help them settle