In the Dog Zone

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norfolk terrier with water hose

8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool

Keep your dog coolKeep your dog cool especially during hot weather to prevent overheating. Older dogs and puppies along with sick dogs are more susceptible to overheating. They may need your help to cool off.

Dogs cool off by panting and through the few sweat glands they have, especially on their paws. Panting is the main way your dog cools themselves off.

Warning Signs

Keep a close eye on your dog during extremely hot weather. Overheating can be very dangerous for a dog just as a human. If your dog is exhibiting any of the warning signs below, call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Panting excessively
  • Sluggish movements
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Deep red tongue
  • Loss of consciousness

Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool


Provide plenty of fresh water for your dog to keep them hydrated. Give them more than one bowl of water to be sure they always have water available to drink. You can add a few ice cubes to keep the water cooler.

When walking my dog, I take a bottle of water and a collapsible bowl. We will stop in a shady area and both of us will have a drink of water to stay hydrated. We will do this several times during the walk.

Taking a Walk

Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day. Take your dog for a walk early in the morning and late in the evening when it is cooler outside. If your home is large enough to play inside with air conditioning, then play inside until it is cooler outside.

Stay away from hot pavement or concrete to protect your dogs paws. To see if the surface is too hot, touch the surface with your hand and hold it there for at least 15 seconds. If you have to remove your hand then it is too hot for your dog.

If you have a dog that likes to swim, take them for a swim in a safe place instead of a walk to keep your dog cool. Be careful of the water that you let your dog swim in.

Keep a close eye on your dog during the walk for warning signs that they are too hot. Overheating can be very dangerous to the well being of your dog.

Child’s Pool or Sprinkler

In a shady area, provide your dog with a small child’s pool to allow they to lay in a few inches of water to cool off. The water will feel good to them on their paws and belly.

My dog doesn’t like to lay in water, but she loves to lay in front of a water sprinkler. The water cools her off and it feels like rain falling. After she cools off, she likes to jump up and catch the water droplets falling.


Keep your dog cool On a sunny day, pay attention to the areas in your yard where your dog will be when they are outside. Is it sunny or is there shade? Check for shade through out the day to make sure your dog will have shade available at all times.

If your dog doesn’t have shade available all day, you will need to make sure there is shade for your dog when they are outside. Hang a tarp or fabric to create shade if necessary.

Cooling Harness and Pad

If your dog is more susceptible to overheating, you can get them a cooling harness, like the one here. It will help to keep your dog cool while they are wearing it. If your dog gets too hot while taking a walk, consider getting them a cooling harness.

You can also provide your dog a cooling pad to lay on and cool off. The coolness of the pad will help your dog cool off.

Wet T-shirt

Get a doggie t-shirt for your dog and soak it in cool water. Place the wet t-shirt on your dog to keep them cooler. If your dog doesn’t mind being sprayed with a water hose, you can put the t-shirt on your dog first and them spray your dog with the water hose. You could do this before a walk to keep them cool while walking.

Frozen Fruit Treats

Give your dog frozen treats to cool them off. Freeze some banana slices, apple slices, watermelon chucks, strawberries or blueberries as a cool treat for you and your dog. All of these are healthy for your dog in moderation, as a treat.

You can freeze salt-free chicken broth or plain Greek yogurt in ice cube trays for your dog. You can add small pieces of the fruits listed above or small chunks of chicken to the broth or yogurt. For more healthy human foods for dogs, click here.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

NEVER leave your dog in a hot car. Temperatures can rise very quickly during warm weather. If it is hot outside, it is extremely hot inside a car, even with the windows down. It doesn’t take long for your dog to suffer.

It doesn’t have to be hot outside for your dog to suffer. On warm days, temperatures inside a car can escalate very quickly. Keep your dog cool by leaving them at home, with a friend or family member, or at a doggie daycare.

When it’s hot outside, take measures to keep your dog cool and healthy. Watch for the warning signs caused by overheating. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits any of these signs.

Feel free to leave a comment below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.



  1. Excellent tips! I have a small italian greyhound, and she gets pretty hot quickly in this hot summer weather. I always bring along a collapsible bowl and some water with us so she can drink when she is thirsty. Sometimes she just doesn’t seem interested though, so we just rest in shade somewhere until she stops panting and looks like she has cooled off some. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Alice

      August 2, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Glad to hear that you like the collapsible bowl too. It comes in very handy. My sister-in-law’s dog likes to stop in the shade also. My dog has to sniff everything, so she takes a few extra sniffs in the shade. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Thanks for the helpful info Alice. I completely agree with you about not leaving the dogs in a hot car. There are hundreds of dogs all around the world dying every year because of this silent killer, and you’d think people will be well-educated on this by now, sadly this is not the case.

    Hope your message gets out more so we can educate others about this deadly mistake.

    • Alice

      August 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you for your comment. It can be a deadly mistake very quick, especially on a hot day. Many people don’t realize how hot it can get inside a car on a day that is not hot. I agree, education is the key!

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