Hot, Hot, Hot! How To Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer


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Understanding how to keep your dog cool in the summer is a must-know for all pet parents, especially those living in particularly hot areas of Australia. The same goes for those heading on people-plus-pets road trips over summer and Aussies taking pups abroad on holiday. Like getting too hot can be miserable for us, it can be awful and even dangerous for dogs to overheat. So, it’s important to know how to cool down your dog when needed.

We rounded up some fun ways to keep your pup’s temperature even — from pet cooling mats to dog ice cream and puppy shoes. Here’s our hot, hot, hot guide to keeping them chilled.

Why they need to keep cool

Dogs have evolved to modulate their own temperatures by panting to beat the heat. You may also find them lying on cool tiles, in flowerbeds or under shady plants to help. But sometimes it can get so hot that they’re not able to cool themselves down by these means alone. After all, pups are coated from top to tail in fur, and they can only sweat through their paws.

If their core temperature reaches between 38.5 – 40°C, they can suffer heat exhaustion. If it goes over 38.5 – 40°C, they can get heat stroke, which is a more severe form of heat exhaustion. You’d be surprised at how fast this happens to dogs in hot cars and even more so by how often it happens when people are simply walking their dogs.

As you’ll read in our piece on heat stroke in pets, if dogs in this situation aren’t cooled down immediately it gets serious. They can suffer brain damage, organ damage, seizures, blood clots and even death. That’s why it’s so important to prevent it BEFORE it happens.

Some dogs are more at risk and should be watched more closely on hot days. These include dogs with thick or like coats (like the Border Collie), dogs that are overweight or obese, dogs that are very young or very old, dogs that have poor immunity, brachycephalic breeds and those with a poor heart or lung condition.

How to keep your dog cool in the summer with a mat

We’ve spoken at some length on pet cooling mats and their pros and cons. They’re basically like small beds with foldable panels filled with gel or water. Unlike air conditioning and other ways of cooling, cooling mats require no electricity.

A mat cools itself through a (usually) non-toxic chemical that absorbs heat, thus lowering your pup’s temperature.

The mat activates when weight is applied, i.e., when your dog lies down on it. It then recharges itself automatically after a brief period of non-use. They’re great to cool your dog down after a walk or outing, or just for them to have a nice spot to chill on when around the house.

Prices vary between $50 and $125 and they have plenty of pros. These include keeping your pet cooler longer, working without electricity, being easy to travel with and store, and doubling up as a bed. While the time for Christmas gifts for dogs is over, this may still be the perfect gift for your pup this summer.

pup stays cool on a pet cooling mat

Icy snacks to help cool the temp

I scream, you scream, we all bark for ice cream. Well, not quite. As we know, dogs shouldn’t have excessive amounts of dairy and sugar. So buying them an ice cream isn’t the best idea if you’re thinking how to keep your dog cool in the summer.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t partake in some icy treats. Dog ice cream has taken off across the globe, and uses goodness-filled ingredients like kefir, coconut milk, bananas, strawberries and peanut butter (without the toxic xylitol).

A pup enjoys some dog ice cream. When it comes to how to keep your dog cool in the summer, this is a great way to cool your dog down

You can purchase doggy ice cream from brands like Golp, Hugo’s Ice Creamery and Doglato. If you prefer a more DIY approach, you can easily make your own pup frozen treats at home. We love this recipe by Urban Bliss Life:


  • 1 banana
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 60g plain or vanilla non-dairy yoghurt


  • In a high speed blender, blitz all the ingredients together.
  • Spoon them either into a mould or a silicone ice tray. We love these bone and dog shaped ones on Etsy!
  • Freeze them for at least six hours before popping them out of the mould or ice tray before serving.
  • Keep any treats that aren’t immediately eaten in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to three weeks. 

Check out this YouTube video for more frozen treat ideas:

Put on my cool suede shoes

Besides a cooling mat and some dog ice cream, how else to keep your dog cool in the summer?

This one is going to depend very much on whether your pet will tolerate anything on their feet or not! If your pup is happy with shoes, then getting them some for the summer is a good idea. Dog paws are more sensitive than we think, and some pet parents might not realise their dog’s paws are burning when they walk them on a hot day.

To make sure you’re on the safe side, invest in some dog shoes. They’re also great for icy days when the road is super cold. No one likes walking on too-hot or too-cold surfaces. Check out the best rated dog shoes here. If you’re feeling crafty, you can also fashion your own:

Other tips on how to keep your dog cool in summer

Here are some other important ways to cool your dog down this summer: 

  • Ensure they have access to a cool or shady spot at all times
  • Make sure they always have access to fresh drinking water
  • Never leave your dog in the car, no matter how short it might be
  • Go for walks/exercise early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening when it’s cooler

Check out some of our other super-cool summery articles:

A pup panting in the heat. When it comes to how to keep your dog cool in the summer, you may want to cool your dog down with a cooling mat or dog ice cream

Pet insurance is seriously cool

Get a dog insurance plan to help your cool dog stay healthy and happy. Anytime they need to be treated for illnesses or accidents via prescription medicine, surgery or a visit to the hospital, among other things, their plan can help cover costs. (So it keeps you happy too)!

PD is an award-winning, value rich insurance brand that offers month to month coverage for your pup. Click below to find out more about getting one or more months of free pet insurance today.

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