How to Keep Your Dog Cool

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how to keep your dog cool

Keeping your dog cool during the summer is extremely important for their general happiness as well as their health. If you have an excitable young puppy or your pet is nearing the end of its life, staying cool is hugely important. 

As a general rule, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. But sometimes it can be difficult to cool your dog down when the heat is simply unavoidable. With that in mind, Benchmark Kennels have created a guide on how to keep your dog cool, so you can enjoy the sunshine with your furry friend, in the safest way possible.

Article Contents

  • Why is Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer Important? 
  • Which Breeds Are More at Risk of Heat Stroke?
  • Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool
    • Avoid High-Intensity Exercise
    • Purchase an Insulated Outdoor Kennel
    • Provide Them With Unlimited Access to Water
    • Buy a Paddling Pool
    • Never Leave Them in a Car Unattended 
    • Regularly Groom Them
    • Look Out for Signs of Heat Exhaustion
  • Keeping Your Dog Cool at Night
  • Keeping Your Dog Cool Outdoors

Why is Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer Important?

Dogs can suffer from a fatal heat stroke within minutes, as they are unable to sweat through their skin like us humans. Unfortunately, around 1 in 7 dogs that are taken to the vets die from heat stroke. Canines heavily rely on releasing heat through panting and via their paw pads and nose to regulate their temperature. 

Keeping your dog cool is extremely important to prevent heat stroke and allow them to remain comfortable and healthy.

Which Breeds Are More at Risk of Heat Stroke?

All dogs can develop heat stroke, however some breeds are more sensitive to heat exhaustion than others. 

Those at a higher risk of heat stroke are often:

  • Overweight 
  • Excessively energetic 
  • Senior 
  • Over 50kg
  • Have a health condition (e.g. heart or breathing problem)

If your pup is a flat-faced breed like the pug or chow-chow or has a thicker, heavy coat like the golden retriever, you’ll need to be even more vigilant when it comes to keeping them cool, hydrated and out of the sun.

7 Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool

Whether you’re in the garden or inside, keeping your dog cool during a heatwave is essential to keep them comfortable and avoid heatstroke. Here’s seven simple ways to keep your dog cool.

1. Avoid Exercising Them During the Hottest Part of the Day

Although summer seems like the perfect time to enjoy endless walks with your pup, be aware that exercising your dog in the hot sun can cause their temperature to rapidly overheat. If you can, take your dog out in the early morning or late afternoon, when the air and pavements are cool enough for your dog to run around, without the risk of overheating.

If it’s just too hot to take your dog on your usual walking route at all, you’ll need to introduce other activities that involve limited energy, but still help your pup get some mental stimulation. Brain games at mealtimes will ensure your dog can release excess energy and spend some bonding time with you. Using a snuffle mat can help to encourage natural forging and reduce boredom without taking up too much energy.

2. Choose an Insulated Kennel

It’s important for your dog to have a shady, safe space they can relax in when it gets too hot for them to play outside comfortably. At Benchmark Kennels, we stock insulated timber cabins that help keep your dog protected from the elements all year round. When the temperature heats up, thermal insulation helps to regulate the kennel, so that your pup can stay cool during summer, and warm during winter. 

Low maintenance, eco-thermal kennels are also a great option for your pup, offering ventilation, space to move around in, and a shaded place away from direct sunlight so that your dog can cool down easily. Elevated kennels with a raised bed help improve the airflow too, keeping your pet’s home cosy, cool and well ventilated.

3. Make Sure They Have Access to Water at All Times

The easiest and most essential way to keep your dog happy and healthy in the summertime is to make sure they stay hydrated. 

Dogs need constant access to cool, clean water at all times. If you’re out and about with your pup, make sure to keep a bottle of water with you, or even a frozen toy to entertain them while regulating their temperature at the same time. However, a frozen toy should never replace water.

4. Buy a Dog Paddling Pool

If you’re out walking, don’t be tempted to let your dog swim in any fresh water canals or rivers. Some areas of water have strong currents and can be dangerous for your pup. They may also contain harmful bacteria and algae which could make your dog sick. 

Be wary of tides if you’re visiting the beach. Also remember that letting your dog drink salt water is likely to make them very sick. When visiting the beach, carry fresh water with you at all times. 

Instead, use a cool water paddling pool for your pup. Remember though, you should also never submerge them in ice cold water, as this could  cause their body temperature to cool down too quickly,  and ultimately make their symptoms worse.

5. Never Leave Your Dog in the Car Unattended

Unventilated spaces can feel stuffy, claustrophobic and unbearably hot to humans, so imagine how uncomfortable those spaces are to our furry friends. That’s why you should never leave your dog in your car. 

Even if you leave your pup with water, crack the car windows or are only intending to leave them for a short period of time, your car can heat up incredibly quickly. Most pet owners know the risks, but even after just a few minutes, a hot car can cause serious and potentially fatal issues. 

If you see a dog in distress inside a hot car, dial 999 immediately and wait for the police to arrive.

6. Remember to Regularly Groom Your Dog

Your pet’s hair should be long enough to stay comfortable, without the risk of it becoming matted, tangled or dirty. Regular brushing and grooming can give you the opportunity to check your puppy’s fur and skin for any issues, burns or bites, as well as helping you form an even closer bond with them. 

Dogs with a pale coat are more likely to suffer from sunburn, especially on their ears and nose. To protect them from the sun, aim to keep them indoors if it is too hot, use sun cream or cover their vulnerable areas with a t-shirt. 

Remember that animal fur has evolved to act as insulation in the winter and as a cooling system in the summertime. Because of this, you should never shave your pup or trim their coat without the help of a professional groomer.

7. Look Out for the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

With higher sensitivity than us, dogs are unfortunately much more likely to suffer overheating, heat exhaustion and dehydration. If your dog isn’t kept cool, they could suffer uncomfortable symptoms of heatstroke, a condition that can be fatal if it’s not noticed quickly. To protect your pup during the summer, it’s important to recognise the signs of heatstroke:

  • Excessive panting and dribbling
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Fitting
  • Reddened gums 
  • Weakness

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you should take it to be seen by a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, you should move your dog out of the heat and into a cool room. Offer your pup a small amount to drink and try carefully sponging them with cold water, particularly on their tummy and neck. 

Keep your dog close by on hot days to make sure you can monitor them carefully, looking for any signs of unusual behaviour.

Keeping Your Dog Cool at Night

Although it is extremely unlikely that your dog is going to develop heat stroke overnight, it is still important to keep them cool and comfortable. 

Make sure your dog is kept in a cool room throughout the night, ideally one with air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, open the windows and direct a fan towards where your dog is sleeping. 

Provide your dog with access to clean water through the night. You may even choose to let them lay on a damp towel to help keep them cool.

Keeping Your Dog Cool Outdoors

If you’re looking for the perfect kennel to ensure your pup is healthy, happy and cool outside during the summer months, Benchmark Kennels offer a range of high-quality kennel options for your dog. Simply browse our range, or get in touch with us today.

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