Cool Dogs on Hot Days – 12 Tips for Keeping Your Pooch Cool

The UK weather at the moment is rather hot, nice.. but hot.

And keeping our dogs cool is difficult. Shame they can’t take their fur coats off!

Keeping water-play sessions short is best in hot weather

But there are steps we can take – some obvious, others not. Here are 12 tips to help keep your dog comfortable during this heat-wave:

  1. Take short walks, early morning and late evening during the coolest part of the day
  2. Be careful about walking on pavements – especially at the end of a hot day – if it is too hot for you to keep the back of your wrist on it for 10-30 seconds then it is too hot for your dog’s paws.
  3. Use paw wax to protect your dog’s pads – spread the wax on their paws before walking on hot, hard surfaces, and make sure you inspect their pads regularly. Check for cuts and abrasions.
  4. Better still, walk on grass – longer grass will be cooler near the roots for your dog
  5. If you have no garden and HAVE to take your dog out during the day, keep it short and in shady areas
  6. NO BALL THROWING – they do not need excessive exercise in this heat
  7. Cool water to drink, but not excessive amounts (see why in the tip below)
  8. Be careful with garden hoses, paddling pools, playing in rivers/streams etc. Keep play in streams to short sessions. Especially if your dog ‘bites’ the water – they can swallow too much and get water intoxication, effectively drowning them. If your dog shows any of these symptoms: loss of coordination, lethargy, bloating, vomiting, glazed eyes, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, seizures or coma, get them to the vet IMMEDIATELY – they need emergency oxygen treatment. (Read more about Water Intoxication in Dogs)
  9. NEVER splash cold water on your dog’s back when out in the sun – the sun will ‘boil’ the water on their back. You can splash water on their underbellies and dip their paws in cold water to cool them down.
  10. Obvious one: Don’t leave them in the car, not even for 5 minutes! – even if you have ALL the windows and doors open and are parked in a shady spot, it is still roasting in that tin box!
  11. Use a good, quality cool-coat when you do go out and cool-mats are good for them to lie on indoors too.
  12. Use a pet specific sunscreen, especially on pink noses and ear tips. Do not use human sunscreen, it often contains zinc which is poisonous if your dog licks it.

And finally, if you have an active dog who doesn’t want to settle even though it is hot, play brain games or teach them new behaviours (like finding the hidden toy/treat) indoors out of the heat. But only in short sessions.

And make sure their water bowl is refreshed two or three times during the day – no-one likes to drink stale water – do we? :)