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10 tips to cool down your dog this summer 2023


With the arrival of summer and the potential for heatwaves, it’s critically important to know how to cool down a dog if they get too hot.

That’s why we’ve compiled our top ten tips for keeping your dog cool in hot weather. But please remember, always call your vet if you have any concerns your pet might be overheating.

  1. Don't exercise your dog during a heatwave

We know your dog likes walks – they may even be looking at you, like; “Why aren’t we going for a walk today?” But you’re their grown-up and you know why. If it’s way too hot out there and the pavements are scorching – it will literally burn their feet.

Even a minimal amount of exercise in this heat can cause heat stroke during hot weather and can be fatal. This is true for all dogs, especially flat-faced breeds. Playing catch, chase or any kind of game in your home or the garden is also a no-no, as it can be too much exertion.

Dogs are not only wearing permanent fur coats, but they also can’t sweat to lose heat like we can. They can only lose heat by panting and through their paw pads – that’s a very small surface area and not an effective cooling system. As the RSPCA says, dogs not only die in hot cars, they die on hot walks. Don’t risk it.

Jack Russell in bed

  1. Water, water everywhere

Regulating your dog’s body temperature and keeping them hydrated during a heatwave isn’t just a matter of comfort, it can be a matter of life and death. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution, and cool and hydrate your canine companion as much as possible, until the weather normalises.

One of the most essential thing during a heatwave is to keep your dog’s water bowl topped up with fresh, cool water at all times.

While most homes won’t have air conditioning units, it’s possible to create a DIY canine-friendly version using only a large tub of water, a fan and a freezer. Simply freeze a large container of water – an ice cream tub should do the trick here – and then set it up in front of a fan that’s been positioned to face your dog. This can create a soothing and continuous current of cool air to help your four-legged friend stay cool.

Be sure to supervise your dog around any fans and check the noise doesn't scare them. Consider popping the fan on a high surface and tilting it downwards, so your dog can’t knock it over. Cool baths are another way to keep your canine comfortable.

  1. Create a cool place to lie

It’s a good idea to think about what your dog is lying on too. You can put down a cooling mat for them, or they can lie on the cool tiles/flooring in your home if you have this. It’s the safest thing for them to do. There’ll be plenty of time for playing once the hot weather passes.


  1. Don't travel with your dog in the car

Taking your dog in the car when it’s super-hot should be avoided if possible. Even with the windows open, it can be dangerous no matter how long the journey. Leaving your dog in the car is also incredibly dangerous, as they can overheat and die in a short period of time.

If you do need to head out of the house, it’s important that you leave your dog at home unless absolutely necessary. For example, if you are taking them to the vet, or they’re a service or support animal.

Again, if you absolutely must travel with your dog, and it’s possible to do so later in the day once the temperature has cooled, then it’s best to wait.


  1. Keep your dog in the shade

While we might love a bit of sunbathing, laying in the sun can be harmful to your dog. If outside in the sun for too long, they may develop heat exhaustion and some white-fur or pink-skinned dogs can burn.

If you can, keep your dog inside and away from direct sun so they don’t overheat. You can let them outside for speedy toilet breaks, but too long can be too much.

If you’re tight for space inside, then you must set up plenty of shaded areas outside. You can do this with umbrellas, tied-up sheets and towels, or solid opaque tables. Make sure there’s plenty of clean, cold water in these shady set-ups and try to set up fans close by to keep a breeze going.

1. Don't exercise your dog in the heat. 2. Keep water bowl topped up, within reach and add ice cubes. 3. Aim a fan directly at your dog. 4. Don't travel with your dog, especially in a hot car. 5. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Take action now!
  1. Change your dog-walking schedule

If you normally go for walkies with your dog at lunchtime or the early afternoon, swap your schedule for an early-morning walk and a late-evening stroll. This way, you'll avoid the sweltering midday heat. If you can’t change your routine timewise, think about where you’re walking. Swap open fields for cool woodland walks, or better still opt for beaches or lakeside walks so your dog can dive in for a cooling paddle or swim.

Labrador on lead in forest

  1. Protect your dog's paws

As we’ve already mentioned, pavements can get seriously hot! Before heading out, touch-test the pavement with your hand or foot. If it's too hot for your hand, or you wouldn’t want to walk on it barefoot, don’t ask your dog to do the same. If you must be out and about on hot pavements, consider some protective boots and a cool coat as detailed below.


  1. Get a cooling coat

If you must be out and about in hot weather, consider a cooling coat. Just wet the coat, then pop it on your dog – the cool dampness creates heat exchange with your dog’s body, so they effectively ‘sweat’ like a person. There are many different brands available, but these are some of our favourites. It’s important to note that even a cooling coat could cause warming if not used properly – so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.


  1. Visit the groomers

If your dog is a breed or mix that can be clipped, get regular trims in summertime. Many double-coated breeds shouldn’t be clipped or trimmed – but will find relief in a thorough grooming to get any insulating dead hair out.


  1. Make doggie ice lollies – the ‘pupsicle’

We love to make doggie ice lollies! A simple idea is to freeze their regular food. We use old plastic takeaway boxes. Start by layering wet food on the bottom, sprinkle over with kibble, add water and a lid, then pop in the freezer.

For cold treats without the extra calories, freeze their favourite toys in old ice cream tubs – they’ll have fun and stay cool whilst freeing their toys from the ice!

Lab puppy looking up at camera

How do dogs regulate their body temperature?

Lots of people think that dogs can’t sweat, but this isn’t the case. Our canine friends have sweat glands in their noses and paw pads. Have you ever noticed your pet leaving behind a trail of damp pawprints? This is why!

As the areas with glands are so small, dogs mainly keep themselves cool by panting. However, this isn’t a very effective mechanism to regulate your dog's body temperature, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Keeping the above tips in mind during the summer months will keep tails wagging and most importantly, can help to alleviate the threat of canine heat stroke.

Spaniel shaking off water

Heat stroke: the dangers

Heat stroke is one of the biggest dangers to dogs in summer. It can progress very quickly, and even if treated swiftly, can be fatal. It most typically occurs in three different situations:

  1. Your dog does too much exercise in warm weather – fun in the sun, playing fetch, walking, running, or playing with doggie friends.
  2. Your dog can’t cope with heat for a medical reason – some dogs overheat more than others, particularly overweight dogs, heavy-coated breeds, and short-nosed ‘brachycephalic’ breeds or mixes (that’s Pugs, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs and Boxers to name a few).
  3. Your dog is trapped in a hot environment such as a hot car, conservatory, or even just a warm, sunny room.

Heat stroke can kill or cause irreparable damage to internal organs, so it’s vital you take it seriously and do all you can to prevent it. Here's our go-to list of signs which can warn you that your dog might be overheating.

How can I tell if my dog is too hot?

It depends whether we’re talking about a dog who's uncomfortably hot or suffering from heat stroke. It’s important to know the difference – and how to help in both cases.

Signs of a dog who’s too hot

Signs of heat stroke


Blue, bright red or dark red tongue and gums


High body temperature

Lethargic or restless

Wobbliness, weakness or staggering

Grumpy, grumbly or out of sorts


Off their food

Collapsing or unconsciousness

Drinking lots of cool water

Blood in poos or urine


One way to know if your dog is too hot (or not) is to use a thermometer and check. However, few of us feel confident taking our pets’ internal temperatures and here at Lintbells we believe that prevention is always the best approach.

Keep our ten top tips in mind over the summer months to avoid any risk to your dog, and if you're worried about heatstroke, act fast and contact your nearest veterinary care centre.

Want more help on heatstroke in your dog or even dehydration in dogs?

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