How to keep your dog cool in hot weather

When the sun is shining, don’t forget dogs struggle in the heat more than we do. We sweat to keep cool – but dogs don’t sweat like we do and instead lose heat through panting. We’ve put together our top tips for how to keep your dog cool in hot weather, and how to spot signs of overheating.

Why is my dog panting loads?

Excessive panting (especially rapid, shallow and louder than usual breathing with their ribcage moving very fast), is often be a sign of overheating. That’s why it’s so important to keep your dog cool during warmer weather.

In particular, Brachycephalic breeds have shorter noses and narrower breathing passages so they often have to work harder than other breeds to cool down.

Watch out for scorched paws

Tarmac and paved surfaces can heat up to unbearable temperatures resulting in very sore and burnt paws. Keep in mind that tarmac can reach a staggering 52℃ when it’s a balmy 25℃ outside, even when it’s cloudy and there’s a light breeze.

If you can, avoid the hottest part of the day by heading out for your daily walks either earlier in the morning or later in the day, walking them on the grass when possible.

If in doubt do the palm test – hold your palm to the ground and if you cannot hold it there for more than 7 seconds it’s too hot for your dog.

You can give your dog’s paws extra protection against hot surfaces with specially designed paw balms or even little booties – say hello to your dog’s inner fashionista.

Should my dog go outside when it’s hot?

Just as we’re advised not to run in the midday sun, if your dog loves a game of fetch or fancies himself as the fastest pup about town, try to avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. The heat can find them struggling to cool down and heatstroke can easily strike.

Is it ok to keep your dog in the car when it’s warm out?

The simple answer is no. Whenever the temperature is above 20℃ it can be potentially fatal to leave your dog in the car.

Dogs can get heat stroke in just 15 minutes and it can take just 10 minutes for your car to heat up to dangerous levels despite parking in the shade and leaving the windows down. Even if you are just popping to the shops – it’s really not worth the risk.

Dogs in hot cars

To learn more about dogs, cars and heatstroke we have a handy article here 

Hydration is key

Whether you’re out and about or chilling at home, ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. Travel bowls or doggy drinking bottles are easy to carry around with you on days out and super handy for giving your dog a refreshing drink or lunch on the go.

Has your dog lost their appetite?

During warmer weather, some dogs can lose their appetite, especially if they are having shorter walks and spending more time indoors to avoid the heat. Try feeding little and often to help maintain their nutritional requirements at a pace that suits them. For refreshing and delicious treat ideas we love freezing slices of banana or freezing some kibble in water in an ice cube tray.

If your dog isn’t jumping for joy still, check out our fussy eater tips.

Should my dog wear sun cream?

Just like us, dogs can suffer sunburn too! Despite their fur, shorter-haired breeds or those with lighter coats are most at risk so it’s worth using sun cream and sticking to the shade when possible to keep them protected.

Sun cream for children or sensitive skin works a treat or you can find special dog specific brands too. Do a test patch 24hrs before use then apply to their most exposed areas such as their belly and ears.

How to keep your dog cool

For those long summer days and humid nights, we recommend investing in a cooling mat to give your dog somewhere to literally chill out. A cool, wet towel in front of a fan also works a treat.

You can also try a cooling coat or jacket. Just make sure to remove it or cool it again periodically – it’ll warm up over time, which then has the opposite effect.

If your dog fancies cooling down in style, nothing beats a frozen bandana, yes, you read that right. Simply rinse in water, squeeze out most of the liquid and fold so it’s ready to wear. Then just pop in the freezer for a refreshing and super smart way to cool off.

For a complete cool-down, set up a shallow paddling pool for your dog to splash around in – just make sure there’s room in case you can’t resist joining them! If your dog prefers to stay inside, keep the curtains closed to keep the heat out and set up a fan for the ultimate chill out den.

Frozen treats are also a great, and tasty, way to cool off. It’s a common myth dogs can’t have ice, but it’s actually a good way to keep them cool when it’s warm – especially if they’re not big drinkers. Just make sure your pup is supervised at all times, as chunks of ice can be a choking hazard for smaller dogs.

Some of our favourite frozen treat recipes:

Does your dog have a favourite way to keep cool? Let us know!

29 thoughts on “How to keep your dog cool in hot weather”

  1. I spray my dog with a hairdresser’s spray bottle that I keep in the fridge so the water is nice and cool. He loves the water mist raining down on him!

  2. We freeze bottles of water & out then in their kennels so they have a really cool place to chill ?

  3. My dog Maggie just love munching on ice cubes, every time I have a drink she has to have the ice cubes.

    • That fine, but not when they are hot !!! Their system is different to ours. If the dog is really hot and panting and you give it ice cubes and he eats it, his system thinks he’s cool , but he’s not, so stop panting and could have a heat stroke. That’s in days like today. 28 in the shade. ??

  4. We lived in Italy for ten years with our Labrador . Follow these basic rules
    1. Walks at 7 am and 9.00 pm.
    2. Once back from 7 am walk then hose down dog.
    3. Once cooled off and drunk water then bring inside.
    4. Once inside make sure you find a non sunny spot in house and wet a cotton pillow case and place on top of your dog while he is lying down.
    5. Place a fan near him with a water bowl.
    6. Keep him inside like this until the sun goes down and walk him at 9 pm.
    7. Give him plenty of toys and a nice bone and let him out just for toilet needs.

    Also moisturise his paws with coconut oil to stop them getting dry.

    Worked for my Labrador !

    Regards Jacqui

  5. Will definitely try the frozen banana! Thank you.

    Paddling pool has been a boon this last few weeks though very important to empty and refill daily to avoid infestation.

    We have had a few critical comments about giving our girl ice cubes which she loves. Is there any Vetinary contraindication to occasional ice cubes?

    • Hi David,

      Ice cubes are a good way of cooling your dog down in this hot weather. Our main suggestion is to supervise your dog when they’re eating them to make sure they aren’t swallowing them whole.


  6. We have just got a ‘new’ 5 year old husky (and obviously ordered food from here for her!) so with a thick coat it’s a case of getting up early for a walk and then taking her in the evening. Lunch time walks are not on the cards right now! This UK heatwave has got to end soon!

    • Hi Jason, I do the same, i have a 10 year old Alaskan Malamute and I walk him first thing in the morning (out at 6am some days) then as late as 9.30pm. exception was last night as it was still so warm at 9 so just let him out in the yard to do his business I’m afraid. Usually our walks are for a couple of hours each time but lately it’s a no no. I do feel sorry for these breeds in summer. I’m thinking of buying him a paddling pool so he can cool his paws off!

  7. LEO my border collie loves munching on ice cubes after we’ve been out for a walk….we have the woods on our doorstep so we can go out anytime as it’s nice and cool…no running till after 7 when the sun’s going down …so it’s up the bridleway till 10…He loves splashing around in the stream which is in the wood’s too …..he spend’s the day time chilling in my bedroom curtains shut and fans going on a wooden floor

  8. My Scrap is a Lakeland Terrier with severe separation anxiety. We go out at about 5am for our early morning walk. Get back home about 7am. She isn’t a water baby and detests anything damp so we have compromised. I stick her bed mattress in the freezer before we leave and she gets in back when we come in. Our noon day walk is skipped in the heat and we go out again about 9pm for another couple of hours with a repeat performance re her mattress. I always take water with us when we go out, summer or winter and the seasons in between. She loves crunching ice cubes which is another bonus for us. She definitely has reduced her appetite so I’ve cut back on treats. She just has dry food now and that is always out so she can nibble at will during the day. She eats about one third of her ‘usual’ amount during really hot weather.

  9. I find a cool pad (various sizes available) help with my bulldog as she lies down on it especially at bedtime on a warm night. Also I have bought a wet blanket a bit like a chammy leather, run it und cold water, ring it out and lay it over dog soon cools her down.

    • Hi Nancy, peas themselves are safe for your dog to eat, however, just like all other dog-friendly foods, moderation is key to make sure that their tummies stay happy and healthy. If in doubt, our Customer and Nutrition Team would be more than happy to advise you, just send us an email at Best wishes


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