Keeping your dog cool in the heat of summer

Summer is here. And it’s hot! So here’s a few ideas for keeping your dog cool in the heat of summer!

Mini Schnauzer rolling in the grass
Cute Mini Schnauzer rolling in the grass to stay cool on a hot summer day.

Keeping your dog cool by doing this with your water bottles:

Over my many years of working with dogs, I learned most dogs will not drink warm water during a walk. And I could relate to that! I didn’t want to drink warm water on our walks either! Even when I placed some ice cubes in my water bottle, the content warmed up very quickly in hot weather. So I came up with a simple method to keep the water in my water bottle cold for over an hour!

Here’s how I keep the water in my water bottle cold for well over an hour in +30C temperature! And I have been doing this for the past 10 years!

Prepare water bottles in advance in this way:

To start, I keep several reusable 24 ounce water bottles on hand. Any type of insulated water bottle you have found to keep beverages cold can be used.

Prepare these clean water bottles for future use by filling them up with cold water, but only to the level of 20% of the bottle. And close the lids only loosely. You will now place these partially filled water bottles in the freezer. Keep them upright, though, until the water freezes! The loose lids allow you to open up the bottles more easily later. Read more about it further down in this post.

Now, when you are ready to head out the door for a walk with your dog, you can retrieve one or two of these partially frozen water bottles from the freezer! Simply top them up with water, and seal the lids tight this time.

Having these frozen bottles at the ready will mean that both you and your dog can stay cool! Naturally, you should take a sufficient number of bottles with you to last the duration of your walk. If you will be walking more than one dog, allow for that too in your bottle quantity.

Plan to customize how much water you may need for a particular walk

Of course you could choose to fill up a water bottle with more than 20% of water to freeze overnight. A larger ice block would form at the base of the bottle. So it would take longer for the ice block to melt and would keep the liquid you poured above it colder longer. However, the more water you fill to form the block of ice, the less liquid water you will have to drink (or pour into a bowl for your dog). This higher ice-to-water ratio would work for short walks only.

So, as a general rule, I find freezing 20% of each water bottle works really well. This ratio ensures there is enough water for your dog to drink as soon as he appears to be thirsty. And provides enough cold water for you to drink too!

Remember to keep bottle lids loose when placed in the freezer

As I indicated above, place the lid loosely on the water bottle when you put the water bottles in the freezer. Otherwise, you won’t be able to open the lids easily when you retrieve the frozen bottles.

And that happens because any moisture on the lid (or the inside rim of the bottle’s neck) will freeze. Then the lid will freeze to the bottle. I learned this the hard way when I first started applying this method to bring cold water on my dog walks!

So by placing the lid loosely on the bottles when you put them in the freezer, you will be able to open the lids easily when you retrieve them!

Portable dog water bowls to take on walks and road trips:

There is a particular kind of bowl I discovered over the many years of walking Roxy and my clients’ dogs: this particular type of collapsible bowl . It is truly convenient to carry. There are many brands of them in various sizes. So I suggest you purchase one that is large enough for your dog to fit his snout inside to drink.

Plus, some bowl brands (like this one) include a carabiner clip, which I consider a necessity. The carabiner allows you to attach the collapsed bowl on to your treat bag or backpack to have conveniently accessible. But, with other collapsible bowl brands, you may have to buy the carabiner clip separately. They are easily found at any hardware store.

Collapsible dog bowls are versatile

This type of collapsible bowl opens up partially or fully, depending on how much water or food you might want to serve your dog when you are on walks or on road trips. Because they are so versatile and easy to bring along, I stocked up with several of them in my house to have extras.

Keeping your dog cool in the heat of summer with a cooling vest

Dog wearing RC Pets brand cooling vest

Roxy modelling a cooling vest by RC Pets. Designed to keep dogs cool in hot weather.

Roxy has had this RC Pets cooling vest for over 6 years and it still does the job! RC Pets is a high quality Canadian company and I trust that their more recent models of this product are of equal quality. And what I like about this brand vest is that its design covers the back, neck, and chest!

The way it works is I soak the vest in cold water and it activates the strips into soft cold surfaces. I then place the vest in the freezer for about an hour before going out.

This keeps the wet strips super cold and it will remain cool to the touch in 30C temperature for well over an hour! And you can simply run the vest under cold water en route to make it cold again if it warms up during your walk.

And the newer model may not have cooling strips, but rather the entire material of the vest cools by soaking it.

Choose the best size vest possible

The product sizing information provided is very helpful in buying the right size for your dog. The older model vest that Roxy has provides an adjustable strap around the waist. And you should take note that the newer vest model has an adjustable velcro around the waist to help make the vest fit snugly.

So be sure to measure your dog and then choose the size that is closest to your dog’s measurements according to the sizing chart.

Roxy wears size small 14. But now that she gets the short Miami Poodle Cut, instead of the thick poodle haircut she used to have, this size is a bit too big around her girth. This prevents it from fitting as snugly against the front of her body as it did before. And because the torso length in this size is a little short to reach the base of her tail, a smaller size would not work.

But it is not a problem. The most important thing is the vest I have covers her body sufficiently to keep her cool! So I have not purchased a smaller size. The newer models with velcro girths are more easily adjusted so you shouldn’t run into this problem if you give your dog a new hair style!

Keeping your dog cool with a cooling neck band

There are also cooling neck bands that can keep either the front neck and upper chest cold or the back of the neck and a quarter of the dog’s back cold.

Dog wearing Ice Band cooling neck wrap

The cutie in the above picture is only 10lbs and the ICE-BAND that she is wearing is an extra small.

This cooling neck band brand is called Go Fresh ICE-BAND .

And it works the same way as the vest in that you simply soak it in cold water and the entire band becomes cold. You can place it in the freezer too for about an hour before heading outdoors!

Which product works better?

I believe the cooling vest is more effective than the neck band in keeping your dog cool because it covers a larger surface of his body.

One more thing to keep in mind!

Test if the sidewalk is too hot for your dog to walk on

Another aspect to consider in keeping your dog cool is the heat of the pavement on the sidewalk and roads!

According to Vetsnow, a dog’s paws can burn within minutes of walking on pavement. And it recommends that you take the 7 second test.

They recommend that you rest the back of your hand on the pavement surface. And if you cannot hold it on the surface for 7 seconds, then the surface is likely too hot for your dog to walk on for more than 7 seconds.

Stay on the grass!

Even without doing this test, in temperatures of 30C or higher, it’s safer if you allow your dog to walk on grass as much as possible just to make sure that his paws don’t burn.

In summary:

It’s easy to keep your dog cool in these dog days of summer! Carry refreshing long-lasting cold water, a collapsible bowl, stay on the grass, and make sure your dog wears a cooling vest!

Activities indoors while keeping your dog cool

On days when it’s just too hot to go for a real walk or play outdoors, offer your dog a mind puzzle game such as Hide N Slide or a Snuffle Mat.

Yours in better dog care, Judy.

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