How to Cool Down a Dog in Hot Weather

How to Cool Down a Dog in Hot Weather

I can’t stand hot weather.

When the temperature reaches above even 75 degrees, I run for shade like I’m melting.

Thankfully, we don’t get a lot of hot weather out here in the Midwest, but temps can definitely climb during the summer.

With the exception of my terrier, my dogs all have heavy coats. I have a weakness for fur babies who could win hair shedding competitions.

Fluffier is always better, but not when it gets hot outside.

Shasta and Amber could play for hours, but they tire out quickly in the heat. Their constant panting can get me worried.

What if they’re overheated?

I recently read about how to cool them down so I never have to worry again.

How Hot is Too Hot?can dogs get too hot sun beach walk how to tell pet overheating

Different breeds of dogs will react to temperatures differently.

Those with thicker coats won’t be able to be outside for very long, even on days you may consider mild.

Just like in winter, you also have to think about how temperature affects the way they interact with the world. Pavement heats up easily, which can burn the pads of their paws.

Here are the temps you should look out for to keep your pup safe:

Air Temperature—70-80°F

While humans may be able to enjoy a day at the beach even in 90 degree weather, dogs prefer a much lower temperature range.

After the weather reaches 70 degrees, it’s best to limit your dog’s time outside.

Keep an eye on how your dog is acting when they’re outside, especially if they have a heavy coat.

If they’re panting constantly and unable to stay on their feet for long, it’s time to go inside.

Pavement Temperature—Seven Second Rule

pavement asphalt sidewalk seven second rule too hot back of hand barefoot hot enough to fry an egg

It’s definitely too hot to walk your dog if the pavement is hot enough to fry an egg! Photo by Kate Ter Haar

About to go outside for a walk on a hot day? Make sure to practice the seven second rule before you grab the leash.

Pavement heats up much faster than people would normally suspect.

When the air reaches 77 degrees, tarmac and asphalt are 125 degrees. Your dog may seem happy to go for a walk, but their paw pads can get severely burnt.

The seven second rule is a great way for owners to know if their dog is comfortable. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for at least seven seconds.

If you have to pull your hand away at any point, walk your dog in a grassy area or put on booties to protect their feet.

How to Tell if Your Dog is Too Hot

Excessive panting and a drop in energy are two of the first signs you can look for in an overheating dog. Other signs may indicate that your dog’s high body temperature could be putting them in danger.Dog thermometer to tell if he's too hot

You can look for:

  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Blue tongue or gums
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid drooling

These are all signs of a possible heat stroke, which can cause permanent damage if not caught soon enough.

Limit your dog’s outdoor playtime in hot weather, and keep an eye on them when they do get to run around in your backyard.

Have the opposite problem? Follow this link to find out how to keep your dog’s house warm during the cold winter!

Tips on How to Cool Down a Dog

You can always be on high alert when your dog is out in the heat, but what happens when they inevitably get hot?

If they’re showing some of the more dangerous symptoms, such as vomiting or drooling profusely, take their body temperature.

The body temperature of a dog should never rise over 106 degrees. If they’re above 103 degrees but below the danger zone of 106 degrees, you can try these tips to cool them down:

Grab Your Hose

outdoor collapsible bathing dog kiddie backyard pool keep dogs cool in summer

Providing access to a doggie pool can allow them to regulate their temperature on their own, too

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing like feeling hot and then jumping into a pool.

You can give your dog the same kind of relief by grabbing your water hose and gently washing them down with cool water.

The key is to not spray them with water that’s too cold. They may be shocked at the ranging temperatures they feel, or have their temperature drop too far.

Bathe them in cool water and let them lap up as much as they want.

Once their breathing and heart rate slow down, you can towel them off and bring them back inside.

It’s sort of like washing your dog except more fun and without all that soap.

Provide Ice Cube Treats

Dogs can’t enjoy an ice cream treat when the summer weather is raging, but they can have a few ice cubes and still enjoy the same cooling effect.

If your dog hasn’t encountered ice cubes yet, drop a handful or two in their water bowl and see how they react. They may not want to crunch on them, opting instead to drink the icy water.

Other dogs may chomp down on ice cubes like they were born to do it. They can have a couple as a treat, as long as you watch them to ensure they aren’t swallowing them whole and potentially choking.

If you’re worried about this harming them, don’t be. The idea that ice water is deadly to dogs is a silly internet rumor.

Another cool treat, such as cantaloupe, may be a good idea as well.

Start Fanning Them

pet crate dog fan keep your dog cool during heat wave

You can buy pet crate fans, too

Fans are a classic way to cool off in the summer, and your dog will enjoy them as much as you do.

Set up a large one on the floor of your garage or other shaded area to bring their body temperature down.

You can also fan them inside with a magazine or book if they don’t like the loudness of a large fan.

As long as the cooling wind is moving through their coat, their body temperature will lower naturally.

Conclusion

I’m very particular about how much time my dogs get to spend outside once the weather warms up.

In the middle of the summer, we avoid the dog parks and go swimming instead.

On the few occasions when they do get extended time out in the yard, I never forget the effects of their fur coats. Even on a day that feels pleasant to me, their world is much hotter.

I do feel a lot better now that I know what to look for when they overheat and how to cool them down.

No dog should be kept from having fun just because of the weather.

About the author

Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce is a self-published novelist, award winning short story writer, and freelancer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking and making clothes for dogs.