This article has been updated.
This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. This Dog’s Life may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
The summer has been hot, hot, hot — and not in a good way. With temperatures rising into the triple digits, everyone is suffering, including our dogs.
For humans, sweating may be uncomfortable, but it’s the body’s custom cooling system. Unfortunately for dogs, they have very few sweat glands, which are located only in the pads of their paws. That’s why dogs pant when they’re hot — panting evaporates the moisture on their tongue, in their nose, and in their lungs, which cools down as the air passes over them. It’ not all that efficient, and it makes dogs more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.
When the weather is hot, it’s important to help our pups stay cool and comfortable. Follow the basics of limiting exercise or any outdoor activity on very hot days (and doing so early in the morning and late in the evening), provide plenty of shade and cool water, and, of course, never leave your dog in a parked car under any circumstances, even on days when the weather is cooler.
What some other tips? Check out these innovative products to keep your dog happy and cool during the dog days of summer.
If you have a backyard, considering investing in a doggie swimming pool. These pools come in all shapes, sizes, and materials.
We like the Jasonwell foldable dog pool because it’s durable. It’s made of sturdy PVC and thick, high density fiber board and has a slip resistant material on the bottom. It comes in seven sizes, and can be folded up for travel or storage. At time of publication, it is priced between $21.99 to $52.99.
Another highly rated choice is not so much a pool as a water pad. Called the Splash Pad, it is a much flatter pool with sprinklers coming out the sides. It touts being thicker than other dog pools, but that doesn’t mean it is puncture proof. Great for dogs who just need a spot to chill in the heat. Available in five sizes, and priced between $29.95 and $69.95 at time of publication. With any selection, make sure you supervise your dog during playtime.
If you don’t have space for a doggie pool, there are often pools and fountains in urban dog parks. Or check out a local dog-friendly beach. Just be aware to limit time in the water to avoid the potential for water intoxication.
Cooling Vests and Bandanas
A cooling vest, life Ruffwear’s Swamp Cooler, works in the same way as sweat does for humans: evaporation. The vest contains a layer of fabric that absorbs and holds water, which evaporates over time, taking the dog’s body heat with it.
The area of the body that works best for cooling is the chest and neck, and that’s why a cooling best is so effective. These vests are made of breathable fabric which can hold hundreds of times its weight in water, while the outer layer dries quickly to keep the dog dry.
The vest works by first soaking it in water. You then wring it out, put it on your dog, and your pup will stay cool and comfortable for hours. When needed, you can simply add more water to the vest by rewetting it using a water bottle.
The Swamp Cooler goes a step further: it’s made of fabric that has 50+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), so your dog stays comfortable and is protected from the sun’s harmful rays. From XXS to X Large and currently priced at $79.95. (Check out these other cooling vests we’ve recommended.)
For cooling bandanas, Ruffwear has a cooling neck gaiter, or check out ALL FOR PAWS Chill Out Ice Bandana. It works on the same principles as the vest, but it’s lighter and more compact. From small to large and priced between $11.99 to $14.99.
A cooling mat is a great idea for a patio or for inside when you don’t want to run the AC all day. There are two kinds of mats: water-filled and gel-filled. The water filled mat is first filled with water and then refrigerated or frozen. It’s effective, but it may make your floor damp, so it’s best for outdoors or on a tile, stone or concrete surface.
The gel-filled tends to be more effective, yet is more expensive. It works by becoming cooler under pressure (i.e. when the dog lies down on it).
Consistently rated the highest in quality and effectiveness are the Arf Pets’ pet dog self-cooling mat and The Green Pet Shop self-cooling pad. Both keeps dogs cool for up to three hours. They will recharge in 15 to 20 minutes without any pressure on them. They are also lightweight and easy to clean.
The Arf mat comes in three sizes, and is priced between $49.99 and $69.99. The Green Pet Shop cooling pad comes in five sizes and is currently priced between $32.98 and $84.88.
For other quality cooling mats, go here.
Dog-Friendly Frozen Treats
What could be better than a frozen treat on a hot afternoon? Our Pup Pops are easy to make and safe for your fur baby. All you need are bananas, non-fat Greek yogurt, blueberries, a beet, and some carrots, as well as a blender or food processor, a popsicle mold, and some utensils.
Another super-easy frozen treat is a watermelon treat. The ingredients are:
- 2 cups of watermelon (seedless, or remove the seeds)
- 1 cup coconut milk or coconut water
- 1/4 cup honey
Put ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze.
If it’s too hot to think about “cooking,” you can buy dog-friendly ice cream at your local pet food store.
Frozen Dog Toys
If you have a dog who lives to play, keep him cool with an ice-filled toy. Try the Chill and Chew dog yoy, which can be filled with water or a spreadable, tasty treat, like peanut butter, and popped in the freezer. With a chicken flavor in the bone, your dog will enjoy the taste as it thaws. Great for cleaning teeth and mental stimulation. Price starts at $11.89.
Portable Water Bowls
Whenever you take your dog out for a walk in hot weather, bring along a portable water bowl. A hot, panting dog can become dehydrated quickly, so look for shade and offer plenty of drinks on your daily walks.
Some portable water bowls have a built-in container for water, like the Anreoner portable water bottle, which is antibacterial, made from non-BPA plastic and easy to use. It’s priced at $19.99.
Other portable water bowls are collapsible, and work best if there are water fountains along your route or if you bring along your own water. Rest Eazzzy’s collapsible dog bowl is made of food-grade silicone, and it’s lightweight, dishwasher safe, and comes with a clip attachment. It comes in a two-pack and is currently priced at $11.99.