Cool Pet Tips for the Dog Days of Summer

Summer heat getting you down? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Our furry friends feel it too, and as pet owners, it’s up to us to help them stay comfortable. Different pets have different temperature tolerances, so know what your pet can handle and keep a close eye on them. When the dog days of summer hit and the mercury rises, take it easy and follow some simple tips to keep your pets chill.

Know Your Pet’s Ideal Temperature Range

Knowing your pet’s ideal temperature range is key to keeping them comfortable in hot summer weather. Each animal has its own limits for heat and cold tolerance based on several factors.


Tiny hamsters, gerbils and mice can overheat quickly in warm weather since they have a large surface area to volume ratio. Larger dogs with thick coats like Huskies or Malamutes also struggle in the heat. Smaller breeds with short hair like Chihuahuas or Terriers handle heat better.


Very young and elderly pets are more sensitive to temperature changes. Heat stroke can be deadly for puppies, kittens and senior pets. ###Health Pets with respiratory issues, heart disease or other medical conditions may have a lower heat tolerance. It’s best to ask your vet about any temperature restrictions or precautions for pets with chronic illnesses.

Coat and Breed

Animals with heavy, dense fur like Chow Chows or Persians require cooler temperatures. Flat-faced breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian cats are more prone to overheating since they can’t pant efficiently. Hairless breeds like Chinese Crested Dogs need warmth.

Activity Level

Highly active or working pets generate more body heat during exercise and need cooler rest areas. Less active lap pets and couch potatoes have lower metabolic rates so they’re comfortable in warmer weather.

By understanding how different factors influence your pet’s internal temperature regulation, you can make sure their environment is suited to their needs. An ideal temperature range for most common small animals as well as cats and dogs is 65 to 72 F. Use fans, cooling pads, frozen water bottles, or air conditioning to keep your pet comfortable on hot summer days. And of course, limit activity during the hottest parts of the day, especially for high-risk pets. With the proper precautions taken, you and your pet can enjoy the summer despite the rising thermometer.

Warning Signs Your Pet Is Too Hot

As the temperature rises, keep a close eye on your pet for signs they are getting too hot. Their body may start showing these warning signs:


Dogs pant to release heat and cool down. Excessive panting, especially if accompanied by drooling, is usually a sign your dog is uncomfortably warm. If panting is rapid or shallow, get them into a cooler area immediately.

Increased Heart Rate

A pet’s heart rate will increase as their body works harder to regulate temperature. You may notice their heart beating very quickly, even when resting. Check their heartbeat by feeling for their pulse, or see their chest moving rapidly.

Restlessness or Lethargy

Some pets become restless, anxious or irritable when they get too hot. Others may become lethargic or sleepy. Both reactions signal their body is under stress from the heat. Provide cooling relief right away.

Red Gums

The gums are a window to a pet’s circulation. Gums that appear very red or deep pink can indicate overheating. Press on the gums with your finger—they should return to normal pink color within 2 seconds. Slower return to pink means the pet needs cooling.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

Heat stress can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in pets as their system is disrupted. Get the pet into a cool area immediately and provide small amounts of water to avoid dehydration. See a vet if symptoms are severe or persist.

Muscle Tremors

Uncontrollable shaking or muscle tremors are a medical emergency in overheated pets. Their system is beginning to shut down from the extreme temperature, and without immediate vet care, organ damage or death can result. Get the pet to a vet right away while beginning cooling measures.

The best way to avoid overheating in pets is by limiting activity, providing shade and fresh water, brushing out coats and using cooling products when temperatures are high. Be vigilant and never leave a pet in a hot car. Their body temperature can rise quickly, and they can suffer irreparable harm or even die within 15 minutes. Keeping them cool in summer is keeping them safe and happy.

Keep Pets Hydrated With Cool, Fresh Water

Keeping your pets hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to help them stay cool in hot summer weather. Fresh, cool water should be available to your pets at all times, especially on very hot days.

Offer Several Sources of Water

Have multiple water bowls set out in areas where your pet spends a lot of time, like near their food bowl, bed, or favorite spot in the yard. This makes it more likely your pet will drink even if one bowl gets emptied or spilled. Adding ice cubes to the water or switching to chilled bowls can keep the water cooler for longer. You can also add low-sodium broth to the water to give it some flavor and encourage your pet to drink.

Be sure to change and refill the water daily and clean bowls regularly to prevent bacterial growth. The more opportunities you give your pet to rehydrate, the better. Dehydration is a serious risk in hot weather and can have life-threatening consequences, so keeping water available at all times is critical.

Moist Food Helps Too

In addition to plenty of water, switching part of your pet’s diet to canned or wet food can increase their moisture intake. Dry kibble provides little hydration on its own. Mixing some wet food into their regular meals or substituting one or two meals of wet food for dry food each day can make a big difference. Be sure to account for your pet’s nutritional needs so they continue to get the right balance of nutrients. Too many abrupt changes to their diet may upset their stomach.

With the proper precautions taken, summer heat doesn’t have to pose a serious threat to your pet’s health and happiness. Staying hydrated is the key, so make fresh, cool water and moisture-rich food available as much as possible. Your pet will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re keeping them safe and comfortable even on the dog days of summer.

Provide Shade and Cool Resting Areas

Providing shade and cooler areas for your pets to rest is one of the most important things you can do to help them stay comfortable in hot weather.

Provide Shade and Cool Resting Areas

Shade from the hot summer sun is essential for keeping pets cool. Offer shady areas in your yard where pets can get out of the direct sunlight, such as under large trees, awnings or shelters. For smaller pets kept indoors or in outdoor enclosures, cover parts of cages, hutches or playpens with towels, sheets or tarps to block sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.

Giving pets access to cooler areas of the home can also help lower their body temperature and prevent overheating. Tile or linoleum floors feel cool to the touch and are perfect for pets to rest on. You can also place cooling mats, pads or beds in the refrigerator or freezer before offering them to your pets. Rotate multiple mats or pads so there is always a chilled one available.

For dogs, kiddie pools or splash pads filled with a few inches of water are ideal for staying cool. Not all dogs enjoy getting wet, however, so also offer a shady area with access to breezes. Place multiple water bowls around the yard to keep pets well hydrated, and consider offering doggy popsicles or frozen treats to help lower body temperature.

Indoor pets will appreciate the coolness of air conditioning. If you don’t have central air, place fans around the home to keep the air circulating and temperatures moderate. Misting bottles can be used to lightly spray a cool mist of water on pets. Place tiles, granite slabs or cooling mats/pads in the refrigerator to offer pets a chilled place to rest. Rotate and replace as needed to keep these areas maximally effective.

By providing shade, access to cooler areas and opportunities for pets to get wet or place chilled items against their skin, owners can help lower body temperatures and prevent overheating even on the hottest summer days. Staying alert to signs of heat distress in pets and taking immediate action if they are observed can also save lives. With the proper precautions taken, summer heat does not have to pose a serious threat to pets.

Fun Water Activities for Pets in the Summer Heat

When the temperatures start rising, finding ways to keep your pet cool becomes a top priority. What better way to beat the heat than with some fun in the water? Water play is a great way for pets to exercise and cool down on hot summer days.

Kiddie Pools

A small kiddie pool or splash pool is an easy, inexpensive way to give your pet a place to play in the water. Look for a pool that is shallow, durable and specifically meant for pets. Fill it a few inches deep and place it in a shady area. Toss in some toys or treats to make it more engaging for your pet. Be sure to empty and rinse the pool after each use to keep it clean.

Sprinklers and Hoses

Running through the sprinkler or playing with the hose is a classic summer activity that many pets enjoy. Start with a gentle spray to allow your pet to get used to the feeling before turning it up higher. Move the hose or sprinkler around to keep things interesting. Always supervise your pet closely when the hose or sprinkler is on to avoid any injuries.

Doggy Beach Trips

If you live near a lake, river or ocean, a trip to the dog beach or dog swim area is a perfect summer outing for pets. Look for designated off-leash dog swim spots in your area and follow all posted rules. Bring fresh water, towels, waste bags, toys and anything else you may need for a fun beach trip with your pup. Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog’s nose, ears and any hairless areas and limit time in the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

Whether in a kiddie pool, playing with the hose or on a trip to the dog beach, water activities are a fantastic way for pets to beat the summer heat. Be sure to always supervise your pet closely, provide shade and fresh drinking water, and follow recommended safety guidelines to keep your pet cool while having fun in the sun.


So keep an eye on your furry friends this summer and take the necessary steps to ensure their comfort. Staying informed about their needs and limits will help you keep them happy even during the dog days of summer. Make sure they have constant access to fresh, cool water and consider switching up their diet to include more moisture-rich options. Keep them inside during the hottest parts of the day and avoid intense activity when temperatures are high. Most importantly, pay attention to their behavior and never hesitate to call your vet if you suspect overheating or dehydration. Summer should be enjoyable for pets and owners alike if you take the right precautions. Stay cool!


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