5 Easy Steps for Protecting Your Dog in the Summer Heat

5 Easy Steps for Protecting Your Dog in the Summer Heat

5 Easy Steps for Protecting Your Dog in the Summer Heat

It’s official, folks—summer is here! We hope you’re enjoying the sunshine, barbeques, and longer days, and we’re sure all your dogs are, too.

It’s natural for our dogs to enjoy participating in all the family fun outside, but it’s also important to keep them safe out in the heat. We easily forget that our pets get overheated just like we do. Dogs can get sunburn, dehydrated, and even have heat stroke if they get overheated.

That’s why we have created this guide to help you know how to protect your pup during these sweltering summer days. This way, they are protected, but they can still have fun outside. We’ll discuss the signs to look for when your dog is getting too hot and give you 5 ways you can prepare your pup for the heat. Let’s get started!


Your dog might show signs of sunburn if they begin licking after being outside in broad sunlight for a long time. They might lick their feet, their sides, or their backs to try to cool themselves off. If you notice that your dog is doing this, or if their skin looks irritated, it’s best to either take them inside or find some shelter for them as soon as possible.

Short-haired dogs are more prone to sunburn since they don’t have as much protection from sun rays, so be cautious of how long your dog has been in the sun, especially if they have short hair.


Dogs generally pant when they are outside, but this is the first thing to look for if you think your dog might be dehydrated. Some other signs include:

  • Dry nose
  • Sticky gums
  • Loss of energy and appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Dehydration is very common for dogs, so it’s important that they have water on hand at all times when they’re outside.

Heat Stroke

It can be difficult to know if your dog is dehydrated versus having a heat stroke because the symptoms are very similar; however, heat stroke generally includes worse symptoms. Some signs might be:

  • Vomiting
  • Red tongue and inside of ears
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness, dizziness, passing out
  • Coma
  • Thick saliva 

If your dog shows any of these signs, they need to get into a cool environment as soon as possible. In extreme cases, your dog needs a vet’s attention immediately. Heat stroke is unfortunately common for dogs because their body temperature is higher than a human’s. If your dog’s body temperature exceeds 106 degrees, they need medical attention.

Any breed of dog can have heat stroke, but some breeds are more susceptible to overheating than others. These breeds typically have short snouts, so they can’t take in as much oxygen. Breeds that are more prone to overheating include:

  • Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Saint Bernards

Older dogs or dogs with pre-existing heart conditions might also be more susceptible to heat stroke.  

How to Prepare Your Dog for the Heat

  1. Watch the amount of physical activity your dog exerts.

If you have an active dog, be sure to watch out for how much energy they’re using while outside. Active dogs are sometimes workaholics, and they won’t want to rest if there’s something more fun going on. Take frequent breaks from physical activity and always keep water nearby.

  1. Use a kiddy pool!

This might seem strange, but it works! Most dogs enjoy water, especially if it’s hot outside. A simple kiddy cool can be a life saver if your dog needs a place to cool down. Bring an inflatable pool along on trips or have one in the yard for your dog to lie down in.

If they are apprehensive about getting in a pool, you can always fill it up and use a cup to scoop some water out to pour over your pup when they’re hot. This will keep you from using your own water to cool your dog off.

  1. Give your dog a summer cut.

When warmer weather comes, it’s a good idea to have your dog’s hair cut shorter. Many dogs will have what’s called a “summer cut,” which is usually when the hair is cut closer to the body. If your dog has a longer coat, it might be a good idea to try a summer cut so that their coat won’t retain as much heat.  

  1. Don’t let them walk on hot surfaces for long.

Dogs absorb a lot of heat through their feet. Their paw pads are more tender than you might think, so it’s important that they don’t walk on hot pavement or other hot surfaces for longer than a few seconds. If they walk on hot surfaces for too long, they can burn their feet and their bodies will overheat faster.  

  1. Leave your dog at home if you can’t take them inside.

One of the major problems pet owners face in the summer is wanting to bring their pets along on arrands or trips. If you can’t take your dog inside wherever you’re going, or if there’s a chance they’ll have to sit in the car, don’t bring them with you. There have been many cases where dogs are left inside a car and die due to overheating.

Even if you only run inside for a minute, it’s never safe to leave your dog in a car. Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees sometimes inside a car, so be mindful of this before you bring your pup with you on arrands or on a trip!   

Summer is Hot—Let’s Keep the Pups Cool!

Summer is a fun time to let your dog be involved in family outdoor activities, but it’s so important to make sure they are kept safe and get the attention they need.

When you have your dog outside, be sure there’s always a supply of water for them, and be ready to take them inside or provide shade when necessary. Keep an eye out for signs of overheating and contact your vet if your dog experiences severe problems. 

Take care of both you and your dog in this summer heat! Have fun and be safe out there!




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  • Kirsten Starling