So much to prepare for this summer, from planning a vacation to maintaining the pool to nabbing an Insta-ready hat. But just as importantly, it's critical to keep your pet from overheating, whether it's by giving them an icy treat or easing them into a dog cooling vest.
How to Cool Down a Dog: 10 Tips and Tricks for a Safe Summer
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.
What are the Signs of an Overheated Dog?
According to the ASPCA, signs of overheating include excessive panting or trouble breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Even scarier, your dog might have seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit, and their temperature can soar over 104 degrees. So, pay attention—before you even get to these symptoms, your dog may be serving side-eye and willful sidewalk sitting, signaling, "Human, I am still your best friend, but this is enough." As the ASPCA cautions, don't overexercise your dog in hot, humid weather, and be sure to give them access to shade and plenty of clean water. (And yes, your AC-cooled bedroom with crisp cooling sheets is fine, too.)
Should My Dog Get a Special Summer Haircut?
Gabriel Feitosa, the San Diego-based dog groomer whose rainbow-hued cuts and dye jobs are TikTok famous, says that double-coated dogs such as Huskies, Samoyeds and Pomeranians have an intense shed in spring and fall, and benefit from a trip to the groomer who will deploy a slicker brush to expedite the process (hurray for less hair on the floor at home). Feitosa cautions against shaving a double-coated dog, or one with a naturally short coat, since the coat might grow in unevenly (a condition called post-grooming alopecia) or even trigger serious skin conditions. Finally, if your dog has the type of fur that continuously grows like human hair (this includes most doodles, poodles, Shih Tzus, Malteses and Yorkshire terriers), they will appreciate the cool feeling of close trim around the torso, neck and belly area, but instruct your groomer to use no blade shorter than a number 5 (6.3 mm) or number 7 (3.2mm).
Read on for the 10 products in our cart for a fun Fido summer.
"It is best to make sure you are hydrating during your hike to avoid heat exhaustion," Courtney Briggs, Head Trainer at Zoom Room. "If you are hiking in hot weather, it is a good rule of thumb to offer your dog a drink every hour. They may not take it and if they don’t drink rub that water on their chest or back instead of pouring it back into the bottle."
Worried that your car's AC might not get all the way back to where Butch is safely riding in his crate? This two-speed fan clips right on the exterior of the cage and uses two D batteries to keep your pet cool. And of course—never leave your pet unattended in a car, even for a moment.
"Dogs need sunscreen if they are going to spend extended time in the sun. If they are just going for a walk or a hike, then the nose should be covered in sunscreen," Briggs says. "You don’t want to use a lotion that they will lick right off. Something that is waxier is more likely to stay on. It must be pet friendly since they will lick it for sure. I like to use Snout Soother."
While dogs love to sunbathe—it feels good for them to bask in the sun, just like for us human—they don't always know what's best for them and might get sunstroke. (And note that darker fur is going to get hotter faster.) Along with putting sunscreen on your dog, get them an elevated bed that allows cool breezes to circulate around them as they snooze.
"If they are going to be spending a lot of time in direct sun and heat I suggest that you use a cooling vest for the dog to wear in hot weather," Briggs says. "Ruffwear makes a swamp cooler dog vest that I like and works with most harnesses."
Because on your death bed, you will never ever think back and say, "I wish I hadn't gotten Rufus that shark-fin life vest." (And, no joke—the ASPCA cautions that not all dogs are good swimmers, and all of them must wear a life vest when on a boat.) This one comes in five sizes, to support a range of dogs from less than ten pounds up to 100 pounds.
When it's just too hot to take your pet to the park for exercise during the heat of the day, she'll really appreciate a session of fetch with a glow-in-the-dark toy at dusk.
Groomer Gabriel Feitosa has a hot-weather treat his dogs love: "A fun thing that I love to do when the weather is warm is to pour some beef or chicken broth (no salt added) into a tray and making ice cubes. My dogs love it, and you can even add some extra treats into it, maybe a piece of banana or a piece of their favorite treat in the middle of the broth ice cube." We like the idea of our pet discovering Elixinol's tasty hemp treat inside their chickeny cube.
Beware of asphalt! When the temperature soars, little bodies are closer to the intense heat radiating upward from the road, which can raise their overall body temperature and scorch their paws. Use a paw-protection balm and limit time on the blacktop.
Happiness? All we need is a beach, this self-erecting 2.4 pound tent to nap under with our dog...and an endless summer.