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Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer

The sun is out and summer is officially here! While we're keen to make the most of the British summer while its here, it's not always comfortable for our four-legged friends. Remember to take extra precaution to keep your dogs safe as the weather forecast tunes in to warmer days. Donna Connelly, Award winning Dog Behaviorist and Trainer, will give you her top tips on how to keep your dog cool in the heat.

Try our hydrating meals
Donna Connelly - Dog Behaviorist and trainer

It's important to keep your dogs cool during a hot summer day. If you're off for holiday somewhere warm or the weather forecast is predicting high temperatures, make sure you plan ahead to keep your dogs healthy and happy, and reduce the risk of suffering a heatstroke. 

Luckily, there’s lots of things we can do to keep our dogs cool in hot weather – we've put together our top tips to keep your dogs cool and safe this summer. 

Dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as we can, and they don't sweat like we do. Instead, they mainly use panting to stop themselves from overheating. These tips will help you keep our furry friends cool and prevent serious illnesses such as heatstroke. 

  1. Choose the right time to walk your dog. Early mornings and later in the evenings are generally cooler and better for your dog. Avoid walking in the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s hottest.

  2. Short walks outside and lots of mental stimulation and/or games indoors where it’s cool is a much better alternative to a long walk in the heat.

  3. If your dog likes swimming, take him to a lake where he can swim to cool off or just wade in larger streams (where dogs are permitted to do so). Do not let your dog swim in areas where there is blue green algae growing – these organisms are highly toxic for dogs and can make your dog very ill.

  4. Remember to keep your dog (and you) hydrated. Always carry an ample supply of drinking water when you are heading out. Carry a handy lightweight travel water bowl to make it easier for your dog to drink.

  5. Dogs can get sunburnt especially if they are white or have a very thin coat. Apply a pet safe sun screen to the most sensitive areas – nose, tips of ears and keep them in the shade especially during the hottest part of the day.

  6. Avoid strenuous activity when it’s hot. It’s easy for your dog to overheat when he’s running after a ball or doing lots of jumping.

  7. Some dogs enjoy having a play or a lounge about in one of the modern children’s paddling pool – the sturdy ones are best as they are less likely to be punctured by your dogs’ nails). Make sure you change the water frequently or you’re likely to breed a large family of mosquitos.

  8. Some dogs like to cool of by lying on cold tiles. Keep your curtains closed to keep the sun off them and keep them cool.

  9. Some dogs benefit from having their coats clipped, however some breeds will actually feel the heat more if you shave their fur so speak to a vet or groomer for advice.

  10. Consider making your own cooling snacks for your dog. I fill a Kong with Marleybones and freeze for a cool day-time treat. Frozen Kongs or carrots make great treats and can provide valuable mental stimulation whilst cooling your dog down. You can also spread out Marleybones on a Lickimat and freeze, either serving as a cool enrichment activity or even making small frozen cubes from the meal. Old ice cream tubs can also be re-used to make giant ice treat blocks. Fill the tub halfway with water and place a few different treats in the water, then place in the freezer. Once that layer is frozen, you can keep adding layers of Marleybones and freeze. On a hot day just empty the tub out and not only will you have an enormous doggy ice lolly, but you’ll also have a very happy dog!

  11. Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Use several bowls in different areas of your home and garden on very hot days.

  12. There is a great range of ‘cooling coats’ for dogs on the markets. Make sure you buy the right size and that your dog is happy to wear it.

  13. Never leave your dog in a car or vehicle on a hot day, even if you’re parked in the shade with your windows open – Your dog can overheat very quickly and suffer heatstroke which can be fatal.

Hydration is key

Whether you're out and about, lounging in the garden or keeping inside, make sure your dog always as access to water. Travel bowls are easy to bring along on days outside, and handy for a cold drink or lunch on the go. Wet dog food is great for your dog as it adds hydration just in itself. Wet food has a much higher moisture content than dry food which naturally aids to your dog's hydration throughout the day. 

Water is a major component of our health and the same is true for our pets. Many dogs will not drink enough water to properly hydrate themselves on their own. The easy solution? Put it in their food!

Marleybones travel-friendly meals retains all the natural moisture coming from the fresh produce inside the pack ready to be served. Rather than cooking off the moisture, as usually happens when we cook for ourselves, we fill our cartons raw with farm fresh ingredients, seal the cartons and then we steam cook the entire carton from the outside. Steam cooking is one of the gentlest cooking methods, as it keeps all the natural moisture as well as the vitamins and minerals coming from the fresh produce within the meals (as an added bonus, it also makes our meals more palatable and travel-friendly!) 

If you suspect your dog is in distress from the heat you should contact your vet immediately, as this could be a medical emergency. Remember you can always reach our free 24/7 vet helpline via your Marleybones account. 

Stay safe and enjoy the sunshine! 

Donna Connelly Dog Behaviorist and trainer


Donna Connelly is the founder and Instructor at Barking Mad Dog Training and has been working with dogs professionally for 30 year.

Donna is a member of both the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers. Which ensures her methods are ethical, evidence based and practical.

Fun fact

Getting her first family dog, Shep at the age of 12, Donna now shares her life with her partner and daughter along with 4 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Miss Scarlett (6), Grace (3), Valerie (2) and Darcy (1). Not missing out her German Spitz, Tinkerbelle (13) and the newest additions Kali (8 months) and Harry (9 months) both Jack Russells.


Donna specialises in helping new puppies and their owners. Along with helping and supporting multi dog households live in harmony and helping rehabilitated dogs with issues such as aggression and settling in the new home.

Donna shares her knowledge here with us, and we just love learning new things every month!