How to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer

Lauren Corona

Dogs will often have so much fun that they’ll overexert themselves on walks, so don't throw balls for your pooch or encourage excessive running on hot days.

You might love everything summer has to offer, but it can be a challenging time for dogs. Since our canine companions have a limited capacity for heat regulation, they're susceptible to heat stroke, which is exceptionally serious in dogs and often fatal. As such, it's important to take extra care of your four-legged friend during the hotter months, particularly if you're going through a heat wave.

We've put together our top tips to to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer. We also list some handy products to keep your canine cool.

Plan walks carefully

During hot spells, it's best to walk your dog as early in the morning as possible, preferably before the sun comes up. You might be surprised to know that temperatures as low as 68°F can pose a risk of heat stroke for some dogs -- those with breathing problems or obesity, as well as other health issues. The majority of dogs can safely be walked in temperatures of up to 72°F, but anything hotter can be dangerous, especially for large dogs, flat-faced breeds, and puppies.

If this means there isn't a suitable time to walk your dog some days, it's better that they forgo a walk than risk too-hot temperatures, though cooling vests can help if it's just a degree or two hotter than ideal. Always bring fresh water and a bowl with you on hot days. You should also touch the sidewalk to check the temperature before walking your dog as it can burn their paw pads.

Limit outdoor time

Your pooch might want to spend all day in the yard, but it's easy to overheat on hot days, so you should limit their outdoor time to no more than 10 to 30 minutes at a time, depending on the outdoor temperature. Make sure your dog has access to your house at all times so they can go indoors if they get too hot. Consider placing a dog pool or a durable hard-sided kiddie pool in a shaded spot in your yard so your pup can cool off.

Create a cool indoor environment

When temperatures soar, it can be almost as hot indoors as it is outside, so it's important you attempt to create a cool indoor environment where your dog can find some respite from the heat. Although it seems counterintuitive, keeping your windows closed and curtains drawn is more effective at keeping a room cool than opening the windows. Blackout curtains are particularly good at keeping rooms at a reasonable temperature.

Leave your dog at home

Your dog might be excellent company, but during the summer months it's far better to leave them in your cool, comfortable home than to bring them on family outings where they might overheat. More importantly, you should never leave your dog in the car on a hot day. Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car is significantly hotter than the ambient temperature outdoors. It only takes a few minutes for temperatures to rise to a dangerous level, so leave your canine companion at home with the TV or radio on and a safe toy to play with instead.

Provide plenty of water

It's vital that your dog has constant access to water to keep themselves properly hydrated. You should place a bowl of water in a shaded area of your yard in addition to their normal water dish indoors. If your dog will be home alone for several hours, you might even consider providing them an extra bowl of water to be certain they won't run out.

Canine summer shopping list

Cooling vest: Cooling vests are vests that you wet before putting on your dog to help keep them cool on hot days. The RUFFWEAR Jet Stream High-Performance Cooling Vest is our favorite.

Collapsible water bowl: Essential for hot weather walks. The Outward Hound Port-A-Bowl packs down small despite its large capacity and is extremely lightweight.

Reusable water bottle: This doesn't need to be designed for dogs. A BPA-free model such as the Simple Modern Wave Water Bottle is a smart choice.

Dog pool: If you want a spot for your canine companion to paddle and cool off in your yard, consider the Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pool.

A/C unit: If you don't have air conditioning, consider buying a portable A/C unit to help keep your pup cool. We're big fans of the JHS 10,000 BTU Smart Portable Air Conditioner.

Blackout curtains: Your four-legged friend will appreciate the extra shade. These NICETOWN Blackout Curtain Panels are an excellent, affordable choice that are available in a range of colors and sizes.


Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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