A blonde Cockapoo wearing sunglasses

Keeping your dog cool in the sun

We’ve been in the garden enjoying the sun all day. Shorts and t-shirts, ice creams and cold drinks. And being fortunate enough to have a near south facing garden, it’s been absolutely glorious. Long may this fantastic weather continue. But don’t forget your Happy Hound. Keeping your dog cool in the summer heat is vital.

Dogs don’t wear shorts

Not only do dogs not wear shorts, but ours have big thick fur coats. Not a problem in the winter, but the heat of the summer can be a challenge for them. And the current Covid-19 lockdown has not helped, as they are all long overdue a groom.

It’s really important to keep your dog cool on a day like today. Here are a few things we do to keep our Happy Hounds cool, hydrated and loving the sun.

Water bowl

Pretty obvious really, a water bowl is an absolute must. We take a large bowl of cold fresh water and put it in a shady spot in the garden. The dogs all know where it is and are comfortable drinking from it. And we make sure to top it up frequently with fresh water, and on long hot days like today an ice cube or two really helps.

Raised beds

We have a couple of raised beds that we use for Boundary Training. But on hot days in the garden, put them somewhere shady. Being slightly raised, your dog will thank you for the air gap between them and the ground.

A blonde Cockapoo keeping cool in the shade on his raised platform
A raised platform will help keep your Happy Hound cool

Cool mat

We have a couple of large gel cool pads that the dogs use to lie on. We use them in the car, and in their beds on hot nights. But on hot days you can use them in the garden as well. And using them on a raised bed is even better, allowing them to benefit from the cool gel pad and the airflow under the bed.

A wet bandana

Bandanas can look great on dogs, but they can be more than just a fashion statement! I’m sure you could make your own, but you can get bandanas that are especially designed for helping keep your faithful friend cool. We have one of these Chill Out bandanas, available from Amazon (sponsored link). It’s pretty good. Soak it in cold water, and your dog wears it wet. The cold moisture will help keep him cool and reduces overheating and panting.

Paddling pool

Yes, our dogs have a paddling pool! When they see us getting it out of the shed, they know exactly what it means. They absolutely love it. The Cockapoos splash around and play with each other. It serves as a super large water bowl for an ad hoc drink. And they simply get in and stand, cooling off their feet and pads.

You don’t need anything expensive, but it needs to be solid rather than the inflatable type.The paddling pool we have is actually just a small cheap child’s sand pit. We brought it a few years back from Toys’R’Us before their demise, but you can get them from places like Ebay, Amazon etc. Expect to pay around £20

We don’t fill the pool much, perhaps just 2 or 3 inches. It’s plenty deep enough for our Cocker Spaniel and Cockapoos. A Great Dane will need something a little deeper! We fill the pool with the garden hose, and Benji in particular absolutely loves this. He loves playing with the hose, biting it, pulling it around, and drinking from it. We make sure to run the hose of a fairly slow spray to prevent him taking on board too much water.

A blonde Cockapoo cooling off in a paddling pool
A paddling pool to play in and drink from will be welcome relief from the summer heat

Garden sprinkler

Not one for the hottest part of the day as it’s wasteful of a precious environmental resource, but if we’re using the sprinkler late in the afternoon, the dogs love playing in it. The Cockapoos in particular love playing and jumping through it, and drinking from it.

Easy on the games

Encourage your Happy Hound to relax and take an easy day. It’s not always easy though. Ruby-Lou will do anything for a ball game, and on hot days we have to reign her in a little. Given the choice she would chase and return her favourite ball all day long, but she gets too hot and refuses to give up the game. We try to limit her game time in the hottest part of the day by taking the ball and replacing it with a tasty chew.

Of our three dogs, Ruby-Lou is by far the worst for this. The Cockapoos will decide for themselves when they need a rest and to cool off. Maybe it’s a Cocker Spaniel thing, but Ruby-Lou is relentless once she has a ball and we have to manage her play time to keep her cool.

What do you do?

I’ve written about a number of approaches we take to ensure our dogs stay happy and cool in the summer months, and I hope some of the ideas might help you and your Happy Hound. But it’s by no means an exhaustive list. No doubt there are things you do to keep your dog cool. I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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