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How to keep dogs cool in summer

What are the best tips for keeping a dog cool in the summer?


Summer is a tough time for dogs, as most climates change to much warmer temperatures. It's important to keep dogs cool when it's hot out, not just so they're comfortable but to prevent heatstroke, which is often fatal. 

Some dogs are particularly susceptible to hot weather, such as thick-coated and flat-faced breeds, but all can get in trouble if you don't look out for them on hot days. Luckily, keeping your canine companion cool is easy once you know how. 

Tips for keeping your dog cool

Limit walks in hot weather

Dogs can easily overexert themselves on walks and end up dangerously overheated. On hot days, limit walks to the coolest hours: early morning before the sun has come up or late night when the sun has set and temperatures have started to drop. Even on warm days, you should avoid walking your dog when the sun is at its hottest (roughly between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.). 

Cooling vests can help your canine companion maintain a safe body temperature if it's still fairly warm outside after the hottest hours of the day.

Check the temperature of the roads or sidewalk before you take your dog for a walk, as it can get hot enough to burn dogs' paws. Place your hand on the sidewalk, and if it's too hot to hold it there for 20 seconds, it's too hot for your dog's paws. 

Keep your dog indoors

When it's hot outside, your dog should spend the majority of the day indoors, since it will be cooler in your home than out in the yard. Keep the blinds or curtains closed, as sunlight coming through the windows will heat up your home. If you don't have central air, consider running a portable air conditioner or a window unit for your dog on exceptionally hot days. You can keep your dog entertained indoors by playing games with them, engaging in short trick training sessions and giving them interactive toys to play with.

Put out a pool for your dog

Your dog still needs to spend some time outdoors on hot days to go potty and stretch their legs and having a pool for them to splash around and lay down in can let them safely spend more time in the yard. It's easy to find dog pools with reinforced bases to keep dogs from puncturing them. Some dogs also love splash pads or being sprayed with a hose to cool off. 

Create shade in the yard

If there's no natural shade in your yard, create a shady spot for your dog to hang out in using a shade sail or a gazebo. However, you still shouldn't let your dog spend too much time outdoors, even in shady spots, when it's extremely hot. 

Make sure your dog always has access to water

It's easy for dogs to become dehydrated on hot days, so make sure they always have access to fresh water. If you work out of the home and your dog will be along for much of the day, consider buying a pet water fountain, since these have a larger capacity than a regular water bowl and circulate the water through a filter to keep it clean. 

What to buy to keep dogs cool in summer

Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Evaporative Dog Cooling Vest

This vest works using evaporative cooling to keep your dog cooler on hot days. It's a great choice for walking your dog during those periods of the summer when it seems to be hot 24 hours a day, so there's no cool time of day for a walk. Simply soak the vest in cold water, wring it out and it's ready to keep your pup cool.

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PetSafe Drinkwell Pet Water Fountain

With a whopping 450-ounce water capacity, this will easily keep multiple dogs in fresh water all day. It circulates and filters the water inside to keep it fresh and hygienic.

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The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat

There's no need for freezing or refrigeration with this cooling mat. It contains a special pressure-activated cooling gel that helps cool your dog off when they lay on it. If your dog can never seem to find a comfortable spot to rest on hot days, this mat will help.

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Coolaroo The Original Cooling Elevated Pet Bed

While plush beds and sofas can feel too warm for dogs to lay on when it's hot, this cooling bed has a mesh sleeping area with full airflow underneath. It gives your dog somewhere comfortable to lounge without overheating. If your canine companion often opts for cool tile floors or other unusual spots on hot days, they may benefit from this bed.

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Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pool

Available in a range of sizes to fit any dog, this pool is a great choice for sticky summer days. It's easy to fill and empty and folds up into a compact package for storage when you aren't using it. The textured non-slip base is reinforced for added durability.

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Toffos Splash Pad

This splash pad is suitable for dogs, kids or both. Attach it to a hose and it squirts water from multiple points around the rim. If your dog loves being squirted from a hose or playing with water, this splash pad multiplies that excitement, giving them something fun to do while keeping them cool. The base is reinforced so dogs' nails won't puncture it.

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Black and Decker Portable Air Conditioner

When the weather's exceptionally hot, the best thing you can do for your dog is keep them inside for most of the day with the shades closed and an air conditioner running. This portable air conditioner is a worthwhile investment, quickly and easily cooling rooms of up to 350 square feet.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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