How to Cool Down (and Possibly Save!) an Overheated Dog

Dogs can experience brain damage or die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Sadly, some common myths out there may be contributing to the statistics. How to cool down your dog? 

Common myths you should NEVER believe 

Myth #1: “I’ll only be a minute.”

Can you 100% guarantee running into a store, finding exactly what you need, avoiding checkout lines, and being back in your car in 1 minute? Can you ensure that nothing delays your return? Probably not. Then is it worth placing your dog in danger?

Myth #2: “I’ll leave the windows cracked.”

A cracked window makes, at most, a 2-degree difference which doesn’t help at all. In ten minutes, the temperature rises above 20 degrees; in 30 minutes, it rises 34 degrees in, and in one hour, it rises 43 degrees. Add to this the fact that dogs are up to five times faster than humans to overheat because they cannot cool down.

Myth #3: “It’s just 70 degrees outside, so it’s fine.”

Countless dogs had died from heatstroke in a car when the outside temperature was barely above 70 degrees. Depending on the breed, age, medical conditions, and weight, even temperatures in the 60s can be dangerous.

Myth #4: “I’ll leave a cup of water in the car.”

Water can help with dehydration but not prevent heatstrokes.

Myth #5: “I’ll turn on the air conditioner.”

But what happens if your dog bumps it and it switched from cool to hot? Sadly, this has killed several K9 patrol cars. If it can happen to the police, it can happen to you. 

5 steps to prevent overheating your dog in hot summer months

1. Never leave your dog in a car when you leave!

2. Keep your dog hydrated with fresh cool water. Always take a bottle of water with you when you go for a longer walk.

3. Get a cooling dog vest – it is super easy way to cool down your dog while playing outside in the sun or if you plan a longer walk or a trip.

4. Try to keep your dog in shaded area as much as possible

5. Avoid the hottest part of the day to do any activities with your dog.

We made a list of the most popular products to cool down your dog this summer. Check them HERE.

Follow these 3 steps if you think your dog is overheated

Diagnose signs and move the dog to a cooler place

Once you have diagnosed the signs and symptoms of an overheating dog, you should immediately take action and cool them down. Excessive panting is one of the signs of overheating, move the dog somewhere cooler, and it would be best to take his temperature if possible. If you are out, move him into the shade or an air-conditioned car or building. If his temperature was 104ºF or lower, stay in the shaded area and offer cool water until intense panting subsides. 


If your pet is still conscious, provide water in small amounts. Drinking a lot of water at once can lead to vomiting and worsen dehydration. Coconut water is very rich in electrolytes and more natural and safe than other drinks. If your dog cannot stand on its own or become unresponsive, check the heartbeat and breathing and call the vet for an emergency appointment as you proceed to step 3, below.

Wet your dog

If you managed to take him home or near a source of cool water (ocean, lake, or river), slowly submerge the dog into the water. Begin with the feet and working upward as dogs cool from the bottom up. If you don’t have access to a water source, but you got a water bottle, then pour it on the dog, starting with the head, legs, and pads of the feet. 

Avoid very cold water and cooling too quickly. This can trigger other life-threatening conditions.

Summer exclusive offer: up to 30% off

In addition to providing shade, fresh, cool water, and access to the indoors, a cooling vest that soaks up water provides a wonderful way to keep your dog cool during the long, hot summer. Pawsdoc’s Cooling Dog Vests allow water to evaporate from the surface and reflects the heat of the sun. You soak the vest with water, wring dry it, and put it on the pet. 

While most other solutions are suitable only for short walks and customers frequently complain about how fast they dry, Cooling Dog Vest is suitable for all activities and provides maximum long-lasting protection. 

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