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We have a black dog, and we can't really take him out hiking in the heat and sun because he can't cool down fast enough. How do you keep your dog cool when it's hot out and you're away from water?

For example, we took our dog to Writing-on-stone Provincial Park, and he didn't last for more than a couple minutes in the hoodoos where it got up to 40 degrees celcius:

enter image description here

We had to retreat to the river and walk in the water so he could stay cool.

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    Should probably say what you consider 'hot' there is a rule of thumb that if you can't keep your hand on the pavement / ground for 5 seconds without it hurting you, it's too hot for your dog to walk on / be out. There are I think some questions about this on Pets. – Aravona Sep 23 '15 at 7:02
  • @Avarona I'm not asking for walking on pavement, but walking on dirt paths. I'm talking about days where it's warm enough that the dog is panting hard and looking to lay down in shade whenever they find it, but not so hot that the ground burns their feet. – ShemSeger Sep 23 '15 at 7:09
  • the rule of thumb is for ground also as I actually already said - exposed mud can still get pretty hot, and as I said I've seen questions like this on Pets - The coats aren't necessarily the best option, if you're out for too long and it depends a lot on your breed of dog also, long haired, short haired etc. This just seems like a promo for a coat. – Aravona Sep 23 '15 at 7:12
  • @Avarona There's only one answer to this question so far, two or more is better, and you seem to have some wisdom and knowledge to share. – ShemSeger Sep 23 '15 at 7:15
  • Does the dog have long hair? I get my Aussie shaved very short and occasionally pour water on his belly when he gets hot, similar to the swamp vest – Chris Mendez Sep 24 '15 at 14:53
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There is a rule of thumb here that our dog trainer taught us which is, if you cannot hold your hand on the ground for more than 5 seconds, pavement, dirt etc, it is too hot for your dog to be walking on or be out in. This can be taken with a pinch of salt if you are for example at a beach, the sand maybe too hot but the access to vast amounts of water to play in will keep the dog cool.

Whilst the coat @ShemSeger linked to can be useful (along with cooling bandanas), as dogs cannot sweat, only reduce their heat from panting, it's only part of a solution (and will obviously only work for as long as the coat has water, the hotter the day gets the more water will be needed as they do need topping up).

Also with the heat you need to take your breed of dog into consideration as well. We have a long haired breed, a Shetland Sheepdog, and have always had long haired breeds (Rough Collies / German Shepherds) who are bred for colder climes. A 40C day is very unlikely where we live (Bucks, England) however even in 25C heat a all dogs need access to shade, water to drink, or to lounge in (For our dog he gets his own paddling pool).

When we take Blaze out for the day he has his own water bottle as well because he can and often will drink more than we will being long haired. (See Warm weather walkies and water)

Some people are known to shave their long haired dogs in summer like you would do a horse, but for some breeds like a Sheltie which have a triple layered waterproof coat this isn't advised. Short haired dog breeds bred for hotter climes will do much better as a standard, as would lighter coat colours.

The issue I have here is the coat is only a partial solution, if you're out in 40C heat you're also making your dog walk on hot ground with no protection to his feet - which is why I stated the rule of thumb - whilst dogs paws are tougher than human feet it is still unfair to make them walk on ground that is being heated by the sun to the tune of a 40C day. You can purchase shoes / boots for dogs for hiking as well.

TL;DR;

In combination you need to consider a few factors here - the heat of the ground as well as the air. The cooling coats / bandanas are a partial solution, but you need to consider making your dog walk on hot bare ground without protection (would you want to bare foot?) Also you need to make sure you're regularly allowing your dog to drink and take water for him as well as yourself. As much access to shade as possible is a bonus. If it's far too hot, consider not taking your dog with you.

RSPCA blog post for hot weather and dogs

  • The hoodoos and the coulees get hotter than the actual daily temperature, as in if you're out on a 25°C day it could be well over 35°C down in the coulees. Not all the ground gets hot either, there's a lot of grass and bushes that grow down there, so you can comfortably walk barefoot on hot days, it's just the "oven" effect that happens down there. We ran into other pet owners who had swamp cooler vests on their dogs in the hoodoos, and their dogs looked quite happy compared to ours. – ShemSeger Sep 23 '15 at 17:36
  • Also, I don't think you understand how a swamp cooler vest works. putting this vest on your dog essentially gives him the ability to sweat, the cooling process is the same. The water doesn't have to be cold, just wet, evaporation will keep anything underneath the vest cold. – ShemSeger Sep 23 '15 at 17:37
  • You still don't get how the vest works. The dog does not need to be wet, just the vest. The vest acts as an air conditioner. I provided the Coulees as an example of a hot place where you can walk without burning your feet. – ShemSeger Sep 23 '15 at 23:14
  • Please see my edit RE the coat, based on the Easidri Cooling coats sold by Pets at home. I was at no point saying not get a coat, I was simply saying there is much more to consider on a hot day hike with a dog. – Aravona Sep 24 '15 at 5:29
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What your doggie needs is a Swamp Cooler Vest. It's basically a wet vest that acts as a refrigerator and cools your dog by reflecting the suns rays off it's back while also stripping away the heat through a natural evaporative process.

enter image description here

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    Did you answer your own question in third person? Lol... – Chris Mendez Sep 24 '15 at 14:50
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    @chrismendez This was actually a question that appeared in an answer in the review que for deletion. I just made it into a question and provided my answer. – ShemSeger Sep 28 '15 at 0:40
  • Nice. By the way, I went looking for one just this week, but I couldn't find this in stores anymore-- I think it's considered a seasonal product even though it's still hot as heck where I live. I could only find it online. – Chris Mendez Sep 28 '15 at 0:58

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