How to Keep Dogs Cool in Hot Weather – A Hot Topic for the Dog Days!

Hot Town, Summer in the City

Sacha Chillin' by Fan

Sacha Chillin’ by the Fan

It’s summer time and the weather has been brutally hot here in Chicago. Pretty sure we hit 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit the other day. And if it feels hot to you, you know it feels hot for your Samoyed or whatever kind of dog you may have. As we enter the dog days of summer, what better time to provide some tips and suggestions about how to keep dogs cool in hot weather. Your dog will be thankful we did!

Before diving into the tips themselves, please remember that dehydration in dogs is a very serious problem and you have to be watchful to make sure that doesn’t happen. Take the time to research the signs of dog or pet dehydration to make sure you know what to watch for (petMD is a great source for all things related to your pet’s health). If your dog is exhibiting any signs of dehydration, like excessive panting, being lethargic, sunken eyes, weakness, etc. call your veterinarian immediately! Don’t delay.

Okay, now let’s talk about some things you can do to keep your pooch cool inside the home, in the backyard, or even out for a walk.

INSIDE THE HOME

Keep Water Bowls Filled

Keep all of your dog’s water bowls full and be sure to change them at least once/day if not more. The more often the better. In hot weather, we set out extra water bowls for Sacha just in case. Remember, your dog can’t turn on the water faucet and get himself a fresh drink of whatever whenever he wants to. He’s dependent on you for that and you don’t want his water supply getting low when the thermostat is rising. If you’re going to be at work or otherwise outside the home for much of the day, put out at least three full bowls of water for each pet. You can even throw some ice cubs in there to help keep the water cooler a bit longer.

Keep the House Cool

Make sure your house is as cool as possible all day long. If you have air conditioning, keep it running for your Samoyed even when you’re not home. Also, turn on your ceiling fans and floor fans to keep the air circulating. At nighttime, we give Sacha a fan just for him. It’s in our bedroom (where he typically sleeps) and it’s set up perfectly to blow right on him. And he’ll stay in front of it much of the night. We call it the Sachi Fan.

Also, don’t think just in terms of air conditioning and fans to keep your best friend cool. You may also consider keeping the shades or curtains drawn to help keep the sun out. Especially if your home has a southern exposure or your dog likes to lay down in a particular spot that catches lots of sunlight during the day. Provide a shady place for him to rest inside of the house.

Cooling Beds/Mats

A cooling bed/mat for your dog is another great way to keep your dog nice and cool in hot weather. It’s definitely something I recommend and is well worth the investment. I wrote a blog about this topic earlier and reviewed some popular cooling mats which you can read about here:

==>PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR MY PRODUCT REVIEW ON DOG COOLING BEDS/MATS<==

Keep Their Feet Cool

Thanks for Keeping Me Cool!

Thanks for Keeping Me Cool!

Heat enters and exits through your dog’s feet. So one way to keep them cool is to provide a fresh wet towel for him to keep his feet cool. You can also splash some room temperature water on the body or use a sprayer. Make sure to use water that is room temperature though as using ice or water that is too cold can do more harm than good. Stick to room temperature water and if you can do this in combination with a fan, your Samoyed will give a look like this!

What About That Samoyed Coat?

We believe strongly that you should never shave your Samoyed’s coat. Although every single one of our Samoyeds has had their coat completely shaved off without our permission by an overzealous groomer. But that’s a story for another day…

Anyway, we don’t recommend shaving the coat, but for a Samoyed, consider giving it a bit of a trim. You need to keep the coat itself, because it helps dogs regulate their body temperature and it also protects them against sunburn. But, for Sacha, since his coat is so thick, we will have the groomer trim his coat down a bit. Just don’t shave it!

IN THE BACKYARD

We don’t typically spend much time with our Samoyeds outside in the summer months because their fur is so thick and they can overheat quickly. But when we do, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Keep Water Bowls in the Shade

If you leave your dog in the yard for any length of time at all, be sure to have a few full water bowls out there for him. But also, be mindful where you place them! Don’t put them somewhere on your deck or lawn where they’ll be exposed to sunlight because the water will heat up and be less appealing to your pooch. Keep the bowls in the shade so the water remains as nice and cool as possible.

Set Up Shaded Areas

Hopefully your yard has lots of nice, natural shaded areas for your dog to lay in. But if not, consider how you can create some shaded areas for him. If you have a table, move the chairs back so he can slide comfortably underneath it. Or set up a yard umbrella in an area he likes to hang out in.

Take it Easy on the Play Time

Don’t over exert your dog, especially in hot weather. Just let him chill out. Don’t feel like you have to throw the tennis ball around all the time. And if the kids are playing with him too much (always a problem when you have a Samoyed!) step and in make sure your dog gets to take a break and have plenty of water.

WHEN GOING FOR A WALK

Daily exercise is important of course, but you need to take it easy in hot weather.

Walk Your Pooch in Off Hours

Try to avoid walking your dog in the middle of the day when the temperature is at its hottest. To avoid the nasty heat, take him for a walk early in the morning or late at night when the sun isn’t so oppressive. If you’re a jogger, it’s a lot more comfortable to run at dawn or dusk than at lunchtime right? Same for your dog.

Keep walks short

A hot summer day is no time to be a hero. Keep your walks short and take breaks along the way if necessary. If you have a dog like a Samoyed with thick fur, don’t forget he’s wearing his winter coat all year long. He’s not in shorts, a T-shirt, and flip flops like you may be. Remember, he’s likely to get uncomfortable in the heat much sooner than you will.

Water/Hot Surfaces/Shade/Breaks

You’ll notice that this is a recurring theme, but carry fresh water with you. They make these water bottles specifically for dogs that allow you to pour the water into a little mini water bowl. Take that with you every time.

Try to walk your dog on the grass or dirt as much as possible. Remember that thing I said earlier about dogs absorbing heat through their feet? If you walk them on hot pavement, concrete, or asphalt, your dog is really going to feel that. Also, walk on the shady side of the street if you have that option, or at least try to seek out shade along your route. The key is to keep those walks short and take breaks along the way.

Fatigue

It’s very important that you watch for signs of fatigue in your dog. Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you that he’s feeling fatigued so be sure to educate yourself to know what the signs are (again, petMD is a good source). If you’re walking him and he’s looking to stop every couple of minutes and lie down, it’s time to get him home and back into the A/C. If he’s small enough, carry him. If not, get creative, but get him out of the heat.

One time when we were walking Zoya on a hot day, she was really panting heavily and wanted to stop constantly. But she weighed about 90 lbs and we were over a mile from our home so carrying her back wasn’t an option. So we got creative and actually hailed a taxi. We were a little worried the driver wouldn’t let us in his car with our big old panting Samoyed, but it turned out not to be a problem. We explained to the cab driver what was going on and he was very nice and cooperative and gave us a ride home. If that’s not an option see if there’s a local retail store or someplace cool nearby and ask the owner if you can bring your dog inside to rest for a bit. People like dogs so they may be more open to this than you might think. Whatever it is, don’t hesitate. Take action!

And of course, and I hope this goes without saying, but please never leave your dog alone in an unattended vehicle! If you haven’t read my post about what the state of Ohio did recently, you can check that out here.

Summing it Up

Summer is obviously a great time to be outside and to have fun with your dog. But never let having all that fun get in the way of keeping your dog cool.

If you have other tips on things you do to keep your dogs cool in the summer, please leave me a comment. I’d love to know what they are!

29 thoughts on “How to Keep Dogs Cool in Hot Weather – A Hot Topic for the Dog Days!

  1. Yvonne

    Thanks for all these tips to keep a dog cool and hydrated! I think having clean and sufficient water is very important too and it needs to be changed everyday. In Singapore where I live, the weather is very wam and humid most of the time so I think if I keep a Samoyed, his fur will definitely be trimmed.

    Reply
  2. Heather Grace

    These are some great tips. I have seen first hand how quickly heat exhaustion can set in. We have two Great Danes so we don’t have to worry about thick coats but they don’t have an undercoat so cooling off in the summer and staying warm in the winter is an issue. We found swimming a great alternative in the summer to taking walks/runs. They stay cool and get all that energy out!

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks for commenting Heather! Yeah, swimming would be great, but not for our Samoyeds. We’ve tried that before and it takes them forever to dry out. We’ll have to stick with things like A/C, fans, dog cooling mats, and of course, fresh water!

      Reply
  3. Hannah

    One thing which really upsets me is seeing people dog owners out sitting in the sun with their dog without even having any water for them to drink. It’s so selfish of them, they should consider the fact that they could be killing their dog or cause them to get severely dehydrated.

    So glad to see this post. People need educating on how to keep their dogs cool in this hot weather!

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thank you Hannah and I’m glad you found the information to be informative. Please feel free to share with others who might be interested. There are certainly many ways to help keep your dogs cool in the summer, if people would just take the time to do so.

      Reply
  4. Sharon

    This is a fabulous website! Very informative with so much see and read. I can’t find anything to make suggestions on. Very well done. I love the links to other articles. The one about Dan and his dog is great. I also like that your Dog has a say in the website too!

    Reply
  5. Denise

    Hello there,
    Poor fellas can’t sweat when it is hot. It must be even harder for those with a lot of fur like Sacha to cool off on a hot day without help.
    Great tips about keeping dogs cool and avoiding dehydration. Water I think is the most important thing for a dog during a hot day.
    Got it! Don’t shave coat ! Trim only.
    I agree, it is not smart to spend much time outside with your dog especially those with plenty of fur in the summer.

    Reply
  6. Becky

    Thanks, Mike, for the great tips to keep my best friend cooler and happier during the summer heat. I know the importance of keeping clean, fresh water available at all times, and I was told Ice cubes were not good to give to my dog. I didn’t know I could use fans to keep my dog cool (she loves it).Thanks to your post my buddy is now cooler, happier and healthier.
    Becky

    Reply
  7. CinemaDan

    Great blog about keeping your pets cool!

    I have 2 chihuahua’s and the tips you provide on your site are invaluable.

    I love how before diving into the tips, you go over the basics of dehydration. Then you break down all the facets of keeping your dog cool. I really enjoyed the breakdown.

    You cover everything.. from inside the home, to the backyard, to going for a walk.

    You set out to cover the topic and succeeded perfectly!

    Reply
  8. Kerry

    Hi Mike, great post, some very good tips for people. I think most people with dogs are responsible but you do get some that just don’t think. We have a kiddy pool outside for our dogs, one of those plastic she’ll things. Our female just likes to get her feet wet but our boy loves to lay in it, they also like to play in it, like retrieve toys from the bottom and stuff. The only thing wrong with having this out the back is that they are indoor dogs so when they have been in the water I have to try and make sure I get them before they come inside to dry them off, the floors get a bit wet and sandy, but that is a part of having dogs 🙂 It’s all worth it. Cheers Kerry

    Reply
  9. Matt's Mom

    These are all great tips. I have two small dogs, and neither like the heat. We live in Dallas and yesterday it was 107, so I know all about finding ways to keep them cool. Generally, they only go outside to do their business, then it’s back indoors to stay cooled off. We do have a swimming pool and if I am out there, they go in with me. It’s a great way for them to enjoy the outdoors during the summer!

    Reply
  10. Alice

    These are wonderful tips for keeping your dog cool and hydrated during hot weather. I use a fan for my dog also. She loves it and it keeps her cool.

    I think the collapsible bowls are great to use when going for a walk. Take a water bottle along for you and your dog. During hot weather, we walk early and late in the day when it is cooler and we have playtime inside.

    Reply
  11. Carol

    Awesome tips! I live in Arizona so your suggestions are so vitally important here. Our temperatures this summer have been between 110-120. I get especially upset when I hear on the news about people that leave their dogs outside in Phoenix chained up with no water, or people that take their dogs hiking in the middle of the day. This time of year that is just all kinds of stupid. Anyway, you have a great website and its very informative

    Reply
  12. Rosanne Hunze

    Mike,
    I was impressed with how thorough you are in providing information for your dog in the summer specifically. Closing the curtains, especially when there is direct sunlight is a necessity here in Tennessee. We keep our Akbash/Black Mouth Cur in our finished basement in addition to closing the drapes and running the air conditioner. It’s so much cooler down there. I loved the tips on how to recognize dehydration in dogs.
    Your Sacha is very handsome. My daughter has researched dogs extensively and she really wants a Samoyed. We have had to say no because I am concerned it would not fair well here. Our dog is short-haired and starts panting a couple of steps out the door.
    I am definitely going to try the cool cloth on her feet, especially after her walk. Thank you for all the information you provided, and I loved Sacha’s diary.

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Hi Rosanne, thank you so much for your kind comments. I’m glad you found our site to be useful. Oh, and Sacha says he’s glad you like his diary! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Jennifer

    I am an animal lover. Coming across your site put a huge smile on my face. You’ve got a lot of good information to help keep our furry babies safe during this horrific heat wave. I was wondering about the cooling mats. I’ve found a lot of reviews that were vague and unhelpful. Thank you for the information on that and other products.

    Reply
  14. Karlo

    Hello,
    that is really informative article about keeping the dog cool in hot water. By reading your article I really learned a lot, that’s why I’m glad that I ran into your article. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to read your upcoming articles.
    Wish you all the best
    Karlo

    Reply
  15. Emilie Konradsen

    These are some great tips! I really like your website. Summer in northern Norway isn’t that hot really, but it’s still very hot for a Samoyed on the warmest days during summer..
    This summer my dog dug a hole under the stairs outside and spent his days there, he doesn’t like to be inside while we are at work, so he has to be creative when he’s outside. He also has a kiddy pool filled with water, and when we go hiking we go late at night 🙂

    Emilie

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *