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13 top-rated products to keep your dog cool in warm weather

Veterinarians share products that can protect pups from the sun and hot temperatures.
Shirtless baby boy pouring water on dog while standing in wading pool at yard
Experts recommended keeping dogs cool by helping them stay hydrated and limiting their time in the sun.Cavan Images / Getty Images

We are not the only ones who need to be careful when it’s hot and sunny outside — dogs can experience heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn too. As their owners, it’s our job to pay attention to signs that pups are overheating, or, better yet, keep them from overheating in the first place.

SKIP AHEAD Top-rated products to keep dogs cool | Top–rated products to keep dogs hydrated | Top-rated products to protect dogs from the sun | How do dogs cool off? | Expert tips for keeping dogs cool | What temperature is unsafe for dogs? | Signs dogs are overheating

To help pet parents learn how to keep dogs cool during hot weather, we consulted veterinarians about the best products to do so and safety tips to keep in mind.

Our top picks

Top-rated products to keep dogs cool

The types of products you may want to use to keep your dog cool depends on the situation — for example, booties or paw balm is useful when walking on hot pavement, while water bottles keep pups hydrated. The items we recommend below address a variety of needs and meet expert shopping guidance. They include highly rated items (at least a 4.0-star average rating from 1,000 reviews, at minimum), those we’ve used ourselves and Select Pet Award winners. Experts explain the purpose behind each product and when you may want to use it.

Keep in mind that while many of the products below can help keep dogs cool, they won’t succeed in cooling your pet off if they are already overheated, says Dr. Leni K. Kaplan,  a senior lecturer and clinician at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. If your pet is overheated and showing signs of heatstroke, our experts recommend calling your vet immediately.

Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pool

Dogs release heat through their paws, and you can aid this process by dipping their paws in water, which is a great conductor of heat,  Kaplan says. The moisture on a dog’s paws absorbs heat and conducts it away from their body into the air through evaporation. As this process plays out, your dog will begin cooling off.

If you have the space, you can use a dog pool to soak your pet’s paws and body in water. Fill it with water and let them stand or splash around in it to cool off. This pool folds in on itself, making it compact in size and easy to store when not in use. It comes with two caps: a standard cap that prevents water from leaking out and a cap to use if you’re connecting a hose to the pool. The pool — which has a 4.5-star average rating from 37,075 reviews on Amazon and comes in multiple sizes — is also made with slip-resistant material on the inner bottom surface, according to the brand.

Aquapaw Pet Sprayer

Instead of putting your dog in a pool to get their paws wet, you can use a hose (so long as the water is not hot) or put them in the bathtub or shower, Kaplan says. This tool — which has a 4.4-star average rating from 5,456 reviews on Amazon — straps to your hand and lets you brush and water down your pet simultaneously. It comes with adapters to fit a shower spigot and a garden hose. The on/off button for the tool rests in the palm of your hand, allowing you to quickly and easily control it.

Snawowo Portable Baby Stroller Fan

When your dog is inside, they should ideally be in a climate-controlled environment so their body temperature doesn’t rise, says Dr. Zay Satchu, the co-founder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet, an urgent care and full-service veterinary clinic with locations around the northeast. A mini fan can provide relief from the heat in addition to or supplemental to air conditioning. Fanning an overheated dog also encourages evaporation, aiding in the cooling process, says Dr. Douglas Kratt, a veterinarian at Central Animal Hospital in Wisconsin and the past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

You can attach this fan to your dog’s crate by wrapping its flexible legs around the walls, or use the legs to prop the fan up by a dog bed. I own this fan and like how quiet it is, so my pets have never been afraid of it. The fan’s rechargeable battery lasts up to 16 hours, and you can choose from three different wind speeds, according to the brand.

Coolaroo The Original Elevated Dog Bed

Outdoor dog beds prevent pups from lying on hot surfaces, experts say. If you’re interested in purchasing one, experts recommend options that are raised above the ground so air can circulate underneath and keep dogs cool.

Donna Pilikyan, NBC senior commerce operations associate, used this elevated outdoor bed with her dog Ozzy, who spent many years of his life in Florida’s warm climate. Pilikyan says the bed — which is raised 8 inches off the ground — allowed Ozzy to comfortably relax outside without lying on a warm surface, preventing him from getting too hot. The bed’s surface is covered in a breathable fabric that you can wipe clean or hose off, according to the brand. It’s available in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes.

The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat

Cooling mats provide a cold surface for dogs to lie down on indoors or outdoors, says Sara Bonomo, a certified dog trainer and the owner of All 4 Paws, which offers private training, dog walks and hikes in Westchester, New York. But keep in mind that these mats are a short-term solution — they only stay cold for a limited period of time and tend to warm up if you’re using them in a hot environment, according to Satchu. 

When dogs lay on this cooling mat, the gel inside it activates, making it cool to the touch for up to three hours, according to the brand. For an even more intense cooling, you can chill the mat in the refrigerator before your dog uses it. You can place the mat on furniture, floors and outdoor surfaces, as well as put it in beds or crates. The mat — which has a 4.3-star average rating from 9,560 reviews on Amazon — is also foldable, making it easy to store and travel with. It “recharges” for its next use after about 15 to 20 minutes of nonuse. The mat is available in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes and you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Top-rated products to keep dogs hydrated

Owala Pet Bowl

Ensuring your dog has access to water at all times is important regardless of the weather, but it becomes even more crucial when it’s hot out — dogs tend to drink more during high temperatures to stay hydrated, so be sure to refill their bowl often, Kaplan says. 

Owala’s Pet Bowl — a Select Pet Award winner — is made from stainless steel, an insulating material that keeps water cool over time, according to the brand. The bowl comes in two sizes — three cups and six cups — and it has high sides (nearly 3-inches-tall for the 3-cup size and 3.5-inches-tall for the 6-cup size) to prevent your pup from splashing water all over your floors, according to Owala. There’s also a thick silicone ring on its base that keeps it from slipping or moving while dogs drink.

Kong Water Bottle

If you’re traveling with your dog or walking them during hot weather, Bonomo recommends bringing a collapsible bowl or water bottle to keep them hydrated. Kong’s dog water bottle is a Select Pet Award winner and comes in two sizes: 9.5 ounces and 25 ounces. The water bottle is composed of two parts: a stainless steel bottle that stores water and a silicone lid that doubles as a bowl your dog can drink out of. Kong’s water bottle fits in most cup holders and comes with a carabiner clip so you can attach it to bags or your pup’s leash, according to the brand.

Woof Pupsicle

Some dogs don’t like drinking water — instead, they may prefer licking ice cubes or frozen treats to stay hydrated, according to experts. You can unscrew the top of Woof’s Pupsicle — a Select Pet Award winner — and drop an ice cube or frozen treat inside, which your dog can then lick and gnaw at. The spherical-shaped rubber toy rolls around while dogs engage with it so they have to work for their frozen treat, keeping them occupied for a long period of time, according to the brand. The Pupsicle is available in small and large sizes.

Cool Pup Cooling Popsicle Dog Chew Toy

Pilikyan says this popsicle-shaped toy is one of Ozzy’s favorites to play with on hot days. You fill it with water and freeze it, which creates an icy chew toy. As the toy defrosts, cool water leaks into your pet’s mouth from small holes on the front of it, helping them stay hydrated.

Top-rated products to protect dogs from the sun

Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots

Booties protect dogs’ paws from hot pavement, and Ruffwear sells one of Bonomo’s favorite pairs. The booties are made from mesh, a ventilated fabric that allows air to circulate throughout and prevents dogs’ paws from getting hot, according to the brand. Their thick rubber outsole has grippy treads for traction, and the booties’ wide opening makes putting them on and taking them off easy, according to the brand.  There’s also a hook-and-loop cinch closure that secures booties on pup’s paws while they’re walking.

Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax

Paw balm can also help protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement if they won’t wear booties, Satchu says. When applied, the balm acts as a barrier between the ground and dogs’ paws, preventing them from getting too hot or burned, according to experts. Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax — a Select Pet Award winner — is made with natural waxes and oils like vitamin E and beeswax, ingredients that keep skin soft so it doesn’t crack or dry out, according to the brand. The wax allows perspiration to escape while keeping paw pads protected and should be applied two to three times a week, according to Musher’s. You can also put the wax on a dog’s snout, ears and elbows.

Epi-Pet K-9 Care Sunscreen

While many people worry about getting sunburned, not many pet owners realize their dogs can get sunburned, too, experts say. And although all dogs are susceptible, some are more at risk than others, like hairless dog breeds and dogs with white or thin coats, Kratt says. Dogs’ faces — especially their noses and ears — are particularly sensitive to the sun, Bonomo says. 

Sunscreen can help protect your pup from UV rays but do not apply the same sunscreen you use on your face and body to your pet’s. It’s important to purchase sunscreen specifically made for dogs — some ingredients in our sunscreen are toxic to dogs if ingested, like zinc oxide, which is often in mineral sunscreen, according to the American Kennel Club.

Epi-Pet’s dog spray sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects pups from UVA and UVB rays (UVA rays cause signs of aging, while UVB rays contribute to sunburns and skin cancer, according to our guide to the best sunscreens). The sunscreen has a 4.5-star average rating from 3,416 reviews on Amazon, and its formula is non-greasy and water-resistant, according to the brand. It’s equivalent to SPF 30 to 40 sunscreen people wear and is made with ingredients like vitamin E to moisturize dogs’ skin, according to the brand. 

DogZStuff Dog Cooling Vest with UV Protection

UPF (which stands for ultraviolet protection factor) measures a product’s ability to block sunlight, and  UPF clothing, hats and goggles can act as an alternative to doggie sunscreen if you find it challenging to apply, experts say. This microfiber UPF dog shirt is available in many sizes and has a 4.3-star average rating from 1,069 reviews on Amazon. It has UPF 50+ protection and provides coverage for your dog’s back and stomach. The vest also acts as a cooling towel — once you wet it, ring out the excess water and give it a shake to let air circulate throughout, the material becomes cool to the touch, according to the brand.

How do dogs cool off?

Like humans, dogs’ main way of dissipating heat is through evaporation. But unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin, so they mainly rely on panting. Dogs inhale air as they pant which makes the moisture from their tongues, nasal passages and the lining of their lungs evaporate. This process allows their bodies to cool down, according to the American Kennel Club.  Dogs also dissipate heat through their paws, which have sweat glands on them, although they sweat very little compared to humans.

Expert tips for keeping dogs cool

Whether you live in a warm climate year-round or temperatures in your area are climbing due to seasonality, your goal as a dog owner is to prevent your pet from overheating instead of working to cool them down after, Kaplan says.

One of the best ways to keep dogs cool is to limit how much time they spend outside. If temperatures are moderately warm, keep outdoor activity to a minimum and try to only spend time outside during the coolest parts of the day (the early morning and late night), Satchu says. When your pet is outdoors, keep them in the shade as much as possible. In extreme temperatures, like those you may experience during a heat wave, Satchu recommends only taking dogs outside for about five to 10 minutes, or just enough time to relieve themselves.

Experts also emphasize that you should never leave dogs in hot cars — doing so results in many pet deaths every year, Kratt says. Temperatures inside cars can rise quickly to life-threatening levels, even if you crack the windows open or park in the shade, he says. Instead, leave your dog at home while running errands when it’s hot out.

What temperature is unsafe for dogs?

There’s no exact temperature that tells you if it’s too hot outside for your dog, but as a rule of thumb, if it’s too hot outside for you, it’s too hot for your pet, Kratt says.

Bonomo starts taking precautions with her and her clients’ dogs when temperatures hit the mid-70s. Once you factor in humidity, 70-degree temperatures — which may be relatively comfortable for us — can feel much warmer for dogs since their normal body temperatures are naturally a few degrees higher than humans, according to experts.

How dogs are impacted by warm temperatures varies based on their physical characteristics, age, weight, underlying medical conditions and activity level, according to experts. Generally, pets with longer or darker fur and pets that are brachycephalic (have flat or pushed-in faces), may have extra trouble with managing heat, Bonomo says. Puppies and senior dogs are also more susceptible to heat than adolescent and adult dogs, Satchu says. 

There are two common misconceptions experts told us they often hear when it comes to pets and heat. 

  1. Don’t assume that only large dogs can overheat, Kaplan says. Dogs are intolerant of heat no matter their size.
  2. Dog breeds with long hair are not any more prone to heat-related issues than breeds with short coats. “This is because long hair can actually help keep a dog cool by acting as an insulator, similar to how insulation in your home keeps the AC inside,” Satchu says. Kratt does not recommend shaving dogs with long or double coats in the summer, as it could increase their chance of overheating and sunburn.

Signs dogs are overheating

Heat begins to impact dogs’ health when they reach critically high body temperatures, at which point they can become dehydrated and their body can begin to have multiple organ failure, Satchu says. If this is not treated rapidly, pets may suffer from permanent organ damage or potentially die from complications of the same, she says. That’s why it’s important to check on your dog when they spend time outside and keep an eye out for telltale signs they’re overheating, including:

  • Anxiousness or relentlessness
  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abnormal gum and tongue color
  • Unsteadiness, disorientation and collapse

If you’re concerned your dog is severely overheating or experiencing heat stroke, you should immediately take them inside and bring them to a veterinarian, Kratt says.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Douglas Kratt is a veterinarian at Central Animal Hospital in Wisconsin and the past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Dr. Leni K. Kaplan is a senior lecturer and clinician at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine .
  • Sara Bonomo is a certified dog trainer and the owner of All 4 Paws, which offers private training, dog walks and hikes in Westchester, New York.
  • Dr. Zay Satchu is the co-founder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet, an urgent care and full-service veterinary clinic with locations around the northeast.

Why trust Select?

Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor who writes about pet products for Select, including dog nail trimmers, outdoor dog beds and more. For this piece, Malin interviewed four experts on how to keep dogs cool in warm weather and products that can help pet owners do so.

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