So you need to know how to keep a dog cool in a hot house. You may be asking yourself how hot is too hot for a dog in the house? This question can be a little tricky. If you live in a very hot but dry climate like a desert, your dog may be able to more easily cope with the heat. If instead you live in a hot and humid climate, it will be much harder for your dog to stay cool.
If you need a definitive answer to the question, what temperature should I keep my house for my dog, anything above 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit will be uncomfortable for most dogs. Once again this will depend on a number of factors, like your dogs size, age or even how much hair they have.
So just to be safe consider anything that makes you sweat and feel uncomfortable, is probably worse for your dog, since they are for all intents and purposes wearing a fur coat.
While it would be nice to run the air conditioner all day long for our dogs, unfortunately for some of us that just isn’t possible. If you either don’t have air conditioning, or just can’t let it run all day, here are some things you can do to keep a dog cool in a hot house this summer.
How to Keep a Dog Cool in a Hot House
The first and most important thing you can do for your dog in order to keep them cool, is make sure they have enough water to drink. Since dogs don’t sweat like humans they completely rely on panting to stay cool. When they pant they will lose water as it evaporates off their tongue, which is the only way they have to cool down.
If a dog doesn’t drink enough water they will begin to suffer the effects of dehydration. If this happens, they will not be able to keep their tongue moist enough for panting to be effective. If your dog has ample water to drink, you can at least rest assured they have the ability to keep themselves cool.
In order to keep your dog well hydrated, give them as much water as possible. If you normally only fill their water bowl a couple times a day, consider filling it up more often. You may also decide to purchase a larger water bowl. A larger bowl will hold more water so your dog will always have enough water even when your not home.
Fans / Air Circulation
Keeping the air moving inside the house can make a hot day more bearable. Even if you don’t have air conditioning, or you just can’t run it all day, you still might be able to run a fan. If you do have an air conditioning unit, but you can’t run the compressor all day. You could still keep your dog cool, all you have to do is let the AC run on fan mode when your not at home.
If you don’t have an air conditioner and you don’t have ceiling fans, a portable fan is another option. Portable fans are very affordable, and can be placed anywhere in your house with minimal effort. Another nice benefit of a portable fan is that the fan can easily be pointed right at the dog. Having air blowing directly on your dog will help them dissipate heat much more efficiently.
Allowing fresh air into the house at night is also another good way to help a dog stay cool. Try opening up your windows, especially if your house is still warm from the heat that built up during the day. During the evening it’s possible that the air inside your house is a good deal warmer than the outside air. If that’s the case, letting the outside air in, is a good way to keep cool without AC at night
Freezable Bowl / Ice Water
Another way to keep your dog cool in a hot house is to chill their water. Since a dogs tongue can transfer a large amount of heat, cold water will give them some extra relief. One good option is to get a freezable bowl. These bowls will stay cold for up to three to five hours, depending on the temperature inside your house.
If you want to give your dog cold water but don’t have a freezable bowl. You can add ice to the dogs water throughout the day. Adding ice to your dogs water will help cool it for a little while, but the temperature of the water will return to normal rather quickly. Since ice is only a temporary option, it’s best to only add ice to the water when your home. One word of caution if you do plan on adding ice to your dogs water bowl, is make sure the pieces of ice don’t pose a choking hazard to your dog.
First-floor / Basement
If you live in a two story house or you have a basement, try keeping your dog on the lower levels of your house to stay cool. Since hot air is less dense than cold air, it tends to rise and concentrate in the upper floors of a house. Most dogs instinctively know to seek out the cooler rooms of a house on a hot day. To help encourage them to stay in a cooler room in your house, try moving their bed and toys into that area so they feel comfortable there.
If you have a basement it really is the best option if your dog is able to stay there throughout the day. Not only are basements cooler thanks to the fact hot air rises, the below ground temperature is also naturally cooler to begin with. While it might not be as simple as keeping your dog on the first-floor, see if you can make room in your basement, your dog will thank you on really hot summer days.
If you have a dog with long hair giving them a hair cut is a easy way to help them stay cool. Any long haired breed, especially one with a thick under coat will have a much harder time staying cool. Just imagine if you had to sit around all day in a 90 degree house with your winter coat on.
If you shave your long haired dog early in the summer they should stay cool throughout the season. You can either buy a dog clipper and do it yourself, or take the dog to a groomer if you prefer to have it done by a professional.
If you have a place in your house that has a tile floor, that might be a good place for your dog to find some relief. You may have already noticed your dog laying out on the tile floor to help them stay cool when they get really hot. While a tile floor can help a dog stay cool, the tile can only absorb so much heat. If you want to provide your dog with a option that works a lot better than a tile floor, you can read more about cooling mats in the next section.
Dog Cooling Mat
A dog cooling mat can provide a cool and comfortable spot for your dog to relax. Cooling mats work by drawing a dogs body heat out of and away from their body. The best cooling dog mats use gel to make this happen. The gel cooling mats come in two varieties pressure-activated and phase change. The third but less effective type of dog cooling mat uses water for the same purpose.
Pressure-activated Dog Cooling Mat: These cooling pads are activated when your dog puts their body weight on the pad. Once the pad is under pressure a chemical reaction occurs that causes the pad to reduce it’s temperature via an endothermic reaction.
Phase Change Dog Cooling Mat: A Phase change cooling pad is the most effective passive cooling pad available. They use a special phase change material that keeps the pad at a consistent 58 degrees Fahrenheit. These cooling pads also maintain their temperature for a longer time than any other kind of cooling pad.
Water-filled Dog Cooling Mats: Water-filled cooling mat work by filling up a reservoir inside the pad with water. These pads will stay cool for 5-8 hours but are not as effective at maintaining their temperature as cooling pads that use gel. Water-filled cooling pads are also prone to punctures and leaks so they are not recommended for dogs that are chewers.
Dog Cooling Vest
Using a cooling vest is another way to keep your dog cool in a hot house, or even when they are walking around outside. And if you have a dog that doesn’t like wearing vests or jackets, cooling bandanas maybe another option available for your dog. All you have to do to activate a cooling vest is dip it in cool water and wring it out. The damp vest or bandana once placed on your dog will begin to evaporate, providing a nice cooling effect all over the dog. A cooling vest will give your dog the advantage of whole body cooling, that us humans tend to take for granted.
Cooling vests will work well in most conditions but they do have some limitations. One major limitation is high humidity. If the the humidity is approaching 100% a cooling vest will not work, since evaporation won’t happen in high humidity conditions.
One other thing to consider when using a cooling vest especially inside your house, is that they are damp and could get some items a little wet. If your dog likes to sleep on the furniture or the carpet this could be a minor problem. Otherwise if your dog isn’t likely to have direct contact with anything you want to keep dry, a cooling vest shouldn’t be a problem