Summer is officially here and the heat is on. In many states the thermometer has already topped 100 degrees. It’s difficult to stay cool and comfortable.

Dogs are at an increased risk for heat stroke. It is estimated that several hundred pets die from heat exhaustion each year. There are many easy ways to help keep your dog cool this summer.

Stay out of the Sun

The first rule of thumb is to keep your dog out of the sun. Outdoor dogs need to be able to get into the shade during the daytime. Position the dog run or house under a shade tree or on the north side of your home where it stays shady all day. If possible, allow your dog to stay inside particularly during the heat of the day.


Many dogs just love to play in the water and it’s a good way for them to cool off. However, some breeds are definitely not suited to swimming – the bull dog and the pug for example. Both have a stocky muscular body shape and sink much better than they swim. However, you can place a small plastic pool in your yard and let your dog play in it.


Be sure to exercise dogs during the coolest parts of the day. That means in the early morning hours or later in the evening once the sun has started to descend. During your daily walks be sure to pay very close attention to your dog’s breathing.

Dogs at Risk

Dogs with flat faces have less surface area to cool them off so they can struggle in the heat. And dogs that have stocky muscular bodies also tend to struggle in the heat. Finally, older dogs definitely need extra attention.

Cut their Hair

It’s not a good idea to shave a dog during the summer. Sure the hair keeps the heat in but shaving their coat off makes them susceptible to sun burn. Instead, cut your dog’s hair short. Their coat will be thinner but they’ll still be protected from the sun’s UV rays.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Car Unattended

Dogs love to go with you when you run errands. But unless you’re going to the pet store and they’re allowed inside, leave them at home. Too many dogs die in parked cars every summer and it’s a long and painful death. The heat in your car quickly shoots above a 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Even if you’re “just running into the store”, it might be too late by the time you get back. It’s just not worth it.

Your dog may look tough but the heat can take a toll. Protect them and care for them, they’re dependent on you for their safety. Stay cool this summer!

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