Let your dog spend the hottest part of the day in the coolest part of the house. If you have air conditioning in your house, leave it on while your dog is inside.
- There is no ideal temperature that applies for all dogs, but most begin to show signs of overheating between 81 and 85 degrees. If temperatures are likely to rise into this range, keep the AC on for your dog when you leave home. Set it between 78 and 80 degrees.
- This is especially important when the weather is humid. The moisture in the air makes it harder for dogs to cool themselves by panting.
- If your basement is cool and comfortable, having your dog spend time down there is also a good idea.
5. Provide Plenty of Shade
Provide a cool kennel or covered porch space for outdoor dogs to rest in. Trees provide the best shade and you can actually feel the temperature difference when under a shade tree vs out in the sun.
- If your dog will be outside during the day, you can buy a sunshade, or you can make a canopy with a thin blanket.
6. Give your dog a cooling pad.
There are many different pad you can buy that are designed to keep dogs cool. Most of them are filled with a gel that draws the heat out from your dog's body.
You can also just lay a damp towel on the kitchen floor. If your dog will lay on the towel, this will help it cool down.
7. Avoid midday walks.
Take your dog for its walk early in the morning and at night when the air is cooler. If it is especially hot and/or humid, it may be better to skip the walk entirely.
- Choose shady, cool places to go for walks. You will both benefit from a cooler walking area. The presence of sea or river breezes can make an area a good choice for walking, if you live near such a place.
- Manage your dog’s activity by putting it on a leash. This can help you prevent your dog from over-exerting itself in the heat.
- Avoid letting your dog's paws touch hot pavement. Pavement can get very hot in the summer and walking on it can burn your dog's paws. Let your dog roam on grass if it's possible, and keep exposure to pavements at a minimum. To test whether the pavement is safe for your dog to walk on, lay the flat of your palm on the ground. If it burns, keep your dog off the pavement or put a pair of booties on his paws.
- If you cannot hold your hand on the pavement for at least 15 seconds, do not take your dog out for that walk until the sidewalk has cooled.
Have a groomer clip your dog’s fur. This is especially important for dogs with thick, long coats. Be aware, though, that sometimes the fur will take a long time to grow back after it has been clipped.
- Take care that your groomer does not shave the dog completely. Leaving skin exposed can increase the chances of sunburn.
- Know your dog and its coat. Some breeds with double coat will withstand heat and winter with the coat untouched as it provides both cooling and warmth. Know your dog.
- Brush or rake daily during the molting season to remove blown coat.
9. Never leave your dog in a parked car in summer.
This is dangerous because the heat levels inside a car can rise very quickly and kill your dog. You could also get in trouble with animal welfare and the police.
- Be sure to leave windows open for your dog while traveling in the car, and always bring some water with you. Better yet, close the windows and run your air conditioning.
- Leaving a pet in a car in warm weather is illegal in many states, like California.
- Use your car’s air conditioner to keep the temperature of the moving car under 75 degrees. If your car does not have air conditioning, leave your dog at home when it is extremely hot outside.
10. Check on your dog often.
On very warm days, watch your dog's condition closely. If anything seems odd, such as your dog panting excessively, contact your vet.
- If your dog begins to show any signs of being too hot, get it well away from the sun, get it water, and cool it down.
- If you believe your dog has heatstroke, see How to treat heatstroke in dogs for more information.
Cooling an Overheated Dog