Keeping Your Canine Cool: Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

As the summer sun blazes, it's essential to remember that our furry companions feel the heat too. Dogs can easily suffer from heatstroke and dehydration if proper precautions aren't taken. Whether you're lounging in hot sun in the backyard or embarking on a summer adventure, we have some helpful tips on how to keep dogs cool in summer, and also comfortable during the hottest months of the year.

Safety First

Every year there are a few sad stories about people who left their dogs in the car “just for a few minutes” and returned too late to save their pets. Rule number one for a dog owner is never to leave your dog alone in the car. Cars heat up very quickly in warm weather, even in the shade, and dogs are as susceptible to heat as humans. Hot weather has a major impact on dog's body temperature and internal heat. As the summer approaches, we need to protect them so they don’t get heat stroke or dehydration. On hot days, even a mildly hot day, the temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous levels in less than an hour.

This chart can help you understand just how hot a car gets in the sun, depending on the outside air temperature: 

A Chart Showing How Quickly a Car Heats Up in Summer

Dogs can also get sunburned, so be very careful with your short, or white haired pups in the sun. Tops of noses, ears, and around the groin are especially prone to sunburn in dogs of all coat types and colors. Keeping your dog cool and safe in the warmer weather is key.

Don’t Leave Anyone in the Car

Don't Leave a Dog in the Car

Even if you don't think it's that hot out, leaving somebody in a car — especially a dog or a child — can be dangerous in hot or humid weather. Extreme heat may cause heat exhaustion, which can then develop into heatstroke and lead to organ damage or death, if left untreated. Many newer cars have incredible technology now, such as the Tesla, called “Dog Mode” that allows you to leave the air conditioning on when the car is unattended. This avoids a hot car and allows a dog's temperature to stay regulated while keeping the dog safe and locked inside a cool car.

Why Dogs Pant?

Dogs release excess heat by panting, and don’t be surprised to see your dog panting during the summer even when she’s not being exercised. Dogs release heat by panting and sweating, although they do not sweat through their skin like humans do; dogs sweat through their paw pads. Animals with flat faces, like pugs and bulldogs, are especially sensitive to heat, because they cannot pant effectively. Older dogs are also less effective at relieving heat on their own. It’s best to keep most dogs in air conditioned comfort during the heat of the day.

There are several cooling products available to help keep your dog comfortable in the summer heat. Cooling vests, bandanas, and mats can provide relief by absorbing body heat or evaporating moisture. Cooling mats help your dog regulate their body temperature and combat excessive heat, which keeps them more comfortable while also preventing against heat-related issues. You can also freeze treats like Kong toys filled with peanut butter or yogurt for a refreshing snack on a hot day.

Keeping a Dog Hydrated

Keeping a Dog Hydrated in Summer

Just like humans, dogs need plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat. Make sure your furry friend has access to fresh, clean water at all times, whether you're at home or out for a walk. Consider carrying a portable bottle and collapsible water bowl for on-the-go hydration during outdoor activities. Ice cubes are also a fun way to keep your dog cool and hydrated. Frozen water bottles are great to keep in the freezer to grab and go before adventures. Just as you should never leave a dog in a parked car, you should also never leave one outdoors in the yard all day without drinking water and shade.

Always leave plenty of cool water in the house and outdoors, and change it regularly as dogs are usually sloppy drinkers. When spending time outdoors, ensure that your dog has access to shade to escape the sun's direct rays. Whether it's a tree, umbrella, or a designated shady spot, having a cool retreat can help prevent overheating. Direct sunlight for a long period of time can cause severe heat exhaustion. If your furry friend spends time in the yard, consider setting up a doghouse or canopy to provide shelter from the sun.

Read more about “The Dog Days of Summer”

Supervised Dog Swimming

Supervised Dog Swimming in Summer

If you have a home pool, you need to make sure your dog knows how to swim, and you shouldn’t leave him unsupervised. Not all dogs are good swimmers and some are even afraid of the water. Others, water dogs, will swim until they get exhausted and should probably be monitored, especially if they’re senior dogs. If your dog does swim, don’t let him drink the pool water, which contains harmful chemicals, and hose him off to remove the chlorine after he gets out. Especially if you are in a pool, you want to ensure your pup knows how to exit through the steps or ramp. Help them find their way out of the pool and continue to practice with them until they can get out of the pool without your assistance. A kiddie pool may also be a great thing to invest in to serve as a cool place for your dog.

Summer Grooming Tips

Grooming your dog's coat shorter in the summer can be beneficial for helping them stay cool and comfortable, but it depends on various factors such as your dog's breed, coat type, and individual needs. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether to give your dog a shorter summer haircut:

  1. Coat Type: Dogs with thick, heavy coats, such as Huskies, Malamutes, or Golden Retrievers, may benefit from a summer trim to help them stay cooler. Trimming their fur shorter can reduce insulation and allow for better air circulation, helping to prevent overheating.
  2. Activity Level: If your dog is highly active and spends a lot of time outdoors during the summer months, a shorter haircut can help prevent their fur from matting and trapping heat. However, if your dog spends most of their time indoors in air-conditioned spaces, they may not need a drastic haircut.
  3. Sun Protection: Some dogs have coats that provide natural protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. If your dog has a lighter-colored or thinner coat, be cautious about trimming them too short, as it can increase their risk of sunburn and skin damage. In such cases, consider using pet-safe sunscreen or providing shaded areas when spending time outdoors.
  4. Allergies and Skin Conditions: Dogs with allergies or skin conditions may benefit from regular grooming to remove allergens and irritants from their fur. However, shaving them too short can expose their skin to potential irritants and increase the risk of sunburn or heat-related issues. Consult with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to determine the best grooming regimen for your dog's specific needs.
  5. Coat Maintenance: Keep in mind that some breeds have coats that should not be shaved, as it can disrupt their natural shedding and insulation cycles. Breeds such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises have coats that require regular grooming but should generally not be shaved short. Instead, consider a professional trim to keep their coat manageable and reduce heat retention, keeping your dog cool in the summer.

    Ultimately, the decision to groom your dog shorter in the summer should be based on your dog's skin, their individual needs, lifestyle, and comfort. Consulting with your veterinarian or a professional groomer can help you determine the best grooming regimen to keep your furry friend cool and healthy during the warmer months.

    For the easiest and quickest clean ups this summer, we suggest:




    Watch for Signs of Overheating and Heat Stroke

    It's crucial to recognize the signs of heat stroke in dogs, which can include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, weakness, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog is overheating, move them to a cool area immediately, offer water, and wet their fur with cool (not cold) water. Call your vet immediately, as heat stroke can be life-threatening if left untreated.

    Note: If a dog is suffering from heat stroke, then you should not give them ice or ice cold water. Instead of ice treats, you should cool your dog's body with water and contact your vet immediately as heatstroke needs urgent treatment. Feeding ice cubes to your dog is unlikely to stop them from overheating.

    Dog Veterinary Care In Advance

    It is a great idea to make an appointment with your vet and make sure your dog is protected against heartworm and ticks before summer even starts. You will have to get your dog checked for heartworm before the doctor can give you the preventive medication. Fleas and ticks are more prevalent during the summer, and you can ask the vet to put your dog on a flea and tick control program.


    As temperatures soar, it's our responsibility as pet owners to ensure the safety and well-being of our canine companions. By following these simple tips, you can help keep your dog cool, comfortable, and happy all summer long. Remember, a little extra care and attention can go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable season for you and your furry friend.