how to keep dogs cool | Pupford

7 Hacks to Keep Dogs Cool [Summer 2019 Update]

Hot-Diggity-Dog! It’s summertime!

Today I’m going to give you 7 hacks that keep dogs cool, no matter how hot it gets.

The best part?

These hacks will help keep dogs cool of any age, breed, or size!

Plus, you’ll learn tips to help you spot signs of heatstroke and dehydration which can help save your dog’s life.

Let’s get straight to it.

Here are the 7 hacks you’ll learn to keep dogs cool in hot weather!
1. Stay hydrated
2. Take frequent breaks to cool down
3. Use an elevated or cooling bed
4. Give frozen treats and toys
5. Provide shade outside
6. Go swimming (or anything water related)
7. Exercise at cooler times of the day

(PS- You can listen to a podcast version of this article by clicking here)

1. Stay Hydrated

Water accounts for about 60% of a dog’s body weight.

dogs are 60% water | Pupford

A general rule of thumb is dogs should drink anywhere between 1/2 to 1 oz of fresh water per pound of body weight.

Use our quick calculator below to see how much water your dog should drink (remember, this is just a guide)

Factors that will change how much water your dog will need to drink every day:

  • Size (of course). Be sure to use the calculator above.
  • Food. For dogs who eat dry food like kibble, they’ll often need more water. If you’re feeding dehydrated food, raw, or canned then your pup will naturally get more water from their food.
  • Exercise. The more your pup exercises, the more they’ll need water.
  • Weather. The hotter (and even extreme cold) days will require more water for your four-legged friend.
  • Medications. Specific medications can change how much water your pup needs. Be sure to check with your vet.
  • Age. Puppies need to have their water intake more closely monitored (especially when potty training), whereas adult dogs mostly self-regulate their water intake.

Remember, dogs are sloppy drinkers. So if you measure out this amount per day, you may need to add more to account for all the water that ends up on the ground.

dog drinking water and it splashing on the ground | Pupford

Also, if you are playing with your dog at the beach, a pool, a lake, a stream or whatever, make sure you bring fresh water.

Saltwater can dehydrate pups and other bodies of water can have bugs and problematic (often invisible) parasites lurking. So, bring fresh water.

Avoiding Bloat from Water Intake

To help your dog avoid getting water bloat, use ice cubes with just a little water right after exercise.

ice water for dogs | Pupford

That way, they’ll start slow. Then you can slowly add the water as needed.

Best Dog Water Bowls for Your House

I prefer to use a refillable water dispenser.

refillable water bowl for dogs | Pupford

That way I know my pups are always getting enough water.

For puppies, it’s often best to not “free feed” water as they aren’t great at regulating their water intake. Plus it’ll make potty training a nightmare.

No matter what water bowl you use, wash it at least every other day to keep it free from bacteria.

Portable Dog Water Bowls

In recent years, portable and travel dog water bowls have increased in popularity.

You can check out collapsable bowls, water bottles with built-in bowls, and other great travel options! Here are a couple of my favorites below ?

collapsable dog water bowl to keep dogs cool on hot days| Pupford


dog water bowl travel and portable | Pupford

2. Take Frequent Breaks to Cool Down

Our canine friends can’t tell us when they need a break.

At least not with words. (we’ll cover this later)

So it’s on us as the humans to take breaks more frequently than what your dog would on their own.

How often you should take breaks will depend on the level of energy your pup is using.

a dog walking on a hot day with its owner trying to stay cool | Pupford

For walks and general play, you should take a break every 15-20 minutes (depending on the temperature)

For activities like fetch, tug, hiking, or running I recommend taking a break every 10 minutes or so.

dog playing fetch on a hot day | Pupford

What to Do During Breaks

There are a few things to do every time you take a break with your dog.

  1. Provide water. Like we talked about in the first section, your dog needs plenty of water.
  2. Find shade. Whether that’s inside a building, under a tree, or under an umbrella, give your pup a break from the sun.
  3. Give a snack as needed. A great way to make breaks enjoyable for your pup (because they’ll probably be begging to keep going) is to give some healthy treats or frozen snacks.
  4. Check your pup. Give your dog a quick check on their paws, fur, and all over. Make sure nothing is stuck in their paw pads or otherwise bothering your pup.
  5. Take a selfie with your dog. Cause, why not? And then tag #pupfordpups to be featured on our Instagram.

Taking sufficient breaks with your pup will ensure they don’t get heat exhaustion or any other heat-related health issues.

Signs Your Dog Needs a Break

dog taking a break to cool down | Pupford

Remember when I said dogs can’t tell us when they need a break?


They can, sort of. Just not with words!

Here are a few ways your pup might be telling you they need a break (and some time to cool down)

  • Excessive panting
  • Any whimpering/whining
  • Going slower than their normal pace (whether it be hiking, jogging, etc.)
  • Laying down more often than usual

If you notice any of these signs, take a break.

Taking frequent breaks is one of the best ways to keep your dog cool during the summer. While they’re taking a break, you can try an elevated bed.

Let’s talk more about those below!

3. Use an Elevated or Cooling Bed

Let’s face it, many times dogs are stuck laying on the floor, carpet, grass, or other not-so-comfortable surfaces.

Most of the time they don’t mind (we truly don’t deserve dogs).

But, when it’s hot you’ll want to give your pup a special bed to help them stay cool.

dog laying on elevated bed to stay cool on a hot day | Pupford

If your dog spends time alone outside, you’ll want to get them an elevated bed.

Just like how laying in a hammock is cooler (both temperature and popular-type-kool) than a sleeping bag. The same goes for your pup.

Elevated beds get your dog off of the hot ground surface and experience a nice breeze beneath their dog bum.

To take it one step further, you can try out a cooling bed.

Cooling beds are either made from special material or are filled with water. These beds are made specifically for helping to keep your dog cool on hot days.

In addition to specific beds, you can get cooling pads.

dog laying on cooling mat | Pupford

Cooling pads can be the perfect addition to another bed, crate, or just on their own.

Picking the right elevated or cooling bed can help your pup stay cooler on even the hottest of days.

4. Give Frozen Treats and Toys

There’s a reason popsicles are such a hit in the summer.

Because they help cool you down!

Of course, they taste great as well. But how often do you see someone with a popsicle in January?

Although you shouldn’t give your dog normal popsicles (especially not the stick), you can give them some tasty frozen treats that are pup-approved.

Frozen Dog Treat Ideas

Here’s some popular frozen dog treats your pup is sure to love (and beg for)!

  • Pupsicles
  • Frozen Fruits and Veggies
  • Frozen Kongs
  • Pup Ice Cream


Although you can’t give Buddy a normal popsicle, you can make him special dog popsicles, or should I say pupsicles.

carrot apple pupsicle recipe | Pupford

We believe recipes should be simple ingredients, healthy, and easy to make!

Check out our popular Carrot Apple Pupsicle Recipe here.

Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Freezing fruits and veggies is one of the cheapest and healthiest frozen treat options for your dog.

Some of my dog’s favorite frozen fruits are:

  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas

Tell me what your dog’s favorite frozen fruit is below ?

Some of my dog’s favorite frozen vegetables are:

  • Carrots (my 13-year-old Puggle, Buddy, would do anything for a bowl of carrots)
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet Potato (we carry Sweet Potato treats)

Tell me what your dog’s favorite frozen vegetable is below ?

You can check out (and print it out to put on your fridge) our list of fruits and vegetables that are safe or not safe for dogs.

Read it here.

Frozen Kongs

dog chewing a frozen kong to stay cool | Pupford

Kongs are an extremely powerful tool for training and helping engage your dog’s mind. Plus, they’re a must-use tool for chewers.

To help your pup stay cool on a hot day, freeze a Kong before you give it to them.

Some of our favorite things to freeze in Kongs are:

  • Applesauce (non-sugared versions)
  • Peanut Butter (avoid xylitol!)
  • Pumpkin
  • Dog Food (we carry dehydrated food, it’s great for Kongs)

If you want more Kong recipe ideas, check out our article here.

What’s your dog’s favorite frozen Kong stuffing? ?

The best part of frozen Kongs is they will last your dog for a long time and keep them cool. Double win!

Pup Ice Cream

Yes, this does exist.

You can buy dog-safe ice cream for an extra special treat.

dog licking ice cream on a hot day | Pupford

In reality, you can freeze almost anything your dog loves to snack on.

Not only will it help keep them cool, but it can even help with puppy teething!

Frozen Toys

Similar to treats, you can give your dog frozen toys to help keep them cool.

Some of your current toys you can just pop in the freezer for a cooling effect. You can try freezing:

  • Kongs
  • Tug Toys
  • Chew Toys
  • Stuffed Toys

Just keep in mind that sometimes the freezing and then thawing can be messy.

Additionally, you can buy toys made specifically for freezing.

dog chewing a frozen toy | Pupford

If you have a power chewer, I’d be careful with these. Most of the bad reviews complain that they’re too easy to destroy.

Can’t win them all, right?

Giving your pup some frozen treats or toys can help keep them cool (and happy) during the summer months.

5. Provide Shade

I grew up in a desert, and let me tell you that shade can be your (and your pup’s) best friend.

Although the temperature in the shade is the same as not in the shade (fun fact for the day), the lack of direct UV exposure makes all the difference.

Just like humans, pups can experience sunburn and increased feelings of overheating when in direct sunlight.

dog in shade with sunglasses on | Pupford

Making sure your pup has adequate shade in your yard, on hikes, or while walking will help them stay cool.

For your yard here are some cooling shade ideas for your dog.

  • Patio umbrella
  • Canopy cover
  • Dog shade covers for elevated beds
  • Trees (thanks, nature)
  • Dog door (inside is the ultimate shade)

If you’re going out on a hike you can typically find good tree cover for your pup to rest in.

If you know there will be few or no trees, consider bringing an umbrella to help add some quick shade to your rest areas.

using an umbrella to keep cool | Pupford


Providing your dog with enough shade will help them regulate their temperature and avoid any potential heatstroke or dehydration.

6. Go Swimming to Keep Your Dog Cool

When your pup is baking like a toasted cheeser, you’ve just gotta find a body of water to swim in!

Whether it’s a lake, river, stream, neighbor’s pool, local dog pool (yes, those exist), or even just a kiddie pool in your backyard, swimming is one of the best ways for your pup to stay cool.

This one doesn’t take much explanation. Swimming cools you down.

Of course, many pups don’t love the water… so, you may be out of luck.

But even if they aren’t a huge fan of swimming, giving them the option on a hot day may change their mind.

Some of the best dog pools are under $100 and can be set up easily in your backyard.

Dog Swimming Safety Tips

If you’re going to take your pup swimming, be sure to follow some basic safety tips beforehand.

First off, does your pup have experience with swimming?

If it’s your pup’s first time swimming, be sure to take it slow at first. Here’s a great video with tips on teaching your pup to love swimming.

Another safety tip is to use a dog life jacket. If you are going to a deep body of water, like an ocean or lake, using a life jacket is a great idea.

Not only does it help your pup stay afloat, but most of them have handles you can use to more easily help your pup out of the water if needed.

dog wearing a life jacket on a hot day | Pupford

A final dog swimming tip is to make sure they take plenty of breaks.

Some dogs love swimming so much that they won’t stop unless you make them! So, make sure your pup is taking adequate breaks.

Overtired dogs going swimming can lead to drowning. No one wants that!

Taking your pup for a swim is probably the best way to keep your dog cool on hot days.

7. Exercise at Cooler Times of the Day

The beauty (well, one of the many beauties) of being a human is we have opposable thumbs.

That means we can pull up the weather on our phone, tablet, TV, or computer. You can even see an hour-by-hour breakdown of the temperature forecast.

You did know that already, right?

SO, you should plan your pup’s main exercise times for the least warm parts of the day to keep your dog cool. In most cases, that’ll be in the mornings and evenings.

dog playing at sunset during cooler hours of the day | Pupford

If you need indoor exercise ideas for the hottest parts of the day, we have 21 ideas here.

By limiting your dog’s exercise to the cooler parts of the day, you’ll help them avoid overheating and potential dehydration.

If you follow all these tips, you’ll be able to keep your dog cool on the hottest of summer days.

Real quick, let’s talk about heatstroke and dehydration in dogs.

Heatstroke in Dogs

*Disclaimer. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke right now, stop reading this article and call your vet.

Knowing the signs of heatstroke in dogs is extremely important for all pup parents.

examining a dog with potential heatstroke | Pupford

There are typically very clear signs that your dog may be experiencing heatstroke. Here is a list (not comprehensive).

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Inability to move
  • Reddened gums
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • and others

The sooner you can spot these signs, the better.

If you do notice these signs, call your vet or local pet hospital immediately. Every minute is important for your dog’s recovery.

On your way to the vet or hospital do as much as you can to lower your dog’s body temperature.

Here are some ideas to lower your dog’s body temperature.

  • Provide cold water to drink (but don’t force your dog to drink)
  • Cover their head and neck with a cold rag or towel
  • Pour water on the back of their neck and top of the head (avoid getting water in the nose and don’t submerge their head in the water)

Heatstroke in dogs can cause serious problems like brain and kidney failure, blood problems, and more. So, please take every precaution to help your dog avoid heatstroke (that’s why you’re reading this article, right?).

Dog Dehydration

Similar to heatstroke, dog dehydration can be very serious. And often, dehydration can be the beginning stages of dog heatstroke.

Signs of dehydration are as follows (non-comprehensive list):

  • Dry nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Dry eyes
  • Loss of skin elasticity (we’ll cover this more below)

How to Check If Your Dog is Dehydrated

*Disclaimer. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated right now, stop reading this article and call your vet.

There are two main ways to check if your dog is dehydrated.

  1. First test his skin’s elasticity.
    • With your thumb and forefinger, gently pinch your dog’s skin between his shoulders, grasping just enough to lift it an inch or two from his body.
    • When you release it, the skin should retract immediately. As the skin loses moisture, it loses its ability to pull back.
    • In extreme cases, the skin does not pull back at all.
  2. Another method for determining dehydration is to check your dog’s gums for capillary refill time.
    • First, lift your dog’s lip and look at the color of his gums.
    • Next, press the gum with your index finger so that it appears white. Release your finger and watch how quickly the color returns, or how quickly the capillaries in the gums refill.
    • The gums of a normal dog refill immediately, and the gums of a dehydrated dog could take up to three seconds to refill.


Again, dehydration in dogs is very serious, so please follow all the tips in this article to help your dog avoid dehydration.

Recap of How to Keep Dogs Cool This Summer

Keeping your dog cool is important for their health and happiness.

Remember to follow these 7 hacks to keep your pup cool on hot days.
1. Stay hydrated
2. Take frequent breaks to cool down
3. Use an elevated or cooling bed
4. Give frozen treats and toys
5. Provide shade outside
6. Go swimming (or anything water related)
7. Exercise at cooler times of the day

Did I miss anything in this article?

Do you have other tips?

Comment and tell me how you keep your dog cool in the summer.

Written by Devin Stagg

Since being deprived of dogs during his childhood, he and his wife decided to make up for it by having three dogs, two Lab puppies, and one grandpa Puggle. Meaning he is ALWAYS covered in dog hair. When he’s not busy training his dogs and/or picking up their poop, you can find him cheering on Tottenham Hotspur and the Cleveland Browns (yes, you read that right).

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3 Comments on “7 Hacks to Keep Dogs Cool [Summer 2019 Update]

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