How To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Summer Heat

River floats! Backpacking trips! Camping adventures! Trail runs!

There's nothing better than Missoula in the summer. Still, it can get toasty with a capital T. When it comes to bringing your dog along for these summer adventures, take extra steps to maximize the health and happiness of your favorite adventure buddy. 

Here are our favorite tips for keeping your dog safe in the summer sun.

The importance of heat safety for pets

Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage and lasting pain for your pet. So, prioritizing their safety in the sun should be at the top of every pet owner's summer to-do list. 

What does doggie heat stroke look like?

Heatstroke in dogs can manifest as panting, fever, lethargy, vomiting and collapse. If you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke, it is critical to take them to the vet as soon as possible to minimize the chances of lasting damage. Smaller dogs, breeds with shorter noses, young puppies and older dogs are more likely to experience symptoms of heatstroke.

Even if your dog does not experience true heatstroke, the steps working up to it are also uncomfortable. 

Ways to protect your dog from the heat

Lots of hydration

Dogs need more water in the summer, so make sure their water bowl at home never goes dry. 

When you're on an adventure, always bring enough water for you and your pup to stay hydrated - they will need more than a few handfuls of your personal ration. We recommend having separate water bottles to ensure everyone has enough to drink.

Time in the shade

After any outdoor fun, make sure your pup has a chance to recharge in a safe place. Find a patch of shade on the trail or offer some options to cool down in your home, like a cooling mat, fan or frozen treats. 

Pick your adventure times wisely

In the heat of the summer, it's better to venture out in the morning or evening to avoid the scorching pavement and most intense heat of the day. Schedule your adventures, workouts or walks when the weather is mostly mild. 

Understand the best summer cut for your breed

Make sure to have the best summer grooming strategy for your dog's specific breed. Some dogs need frequent brushing to help expel extra hair and avoid summer skin flare-ups. Others may benefit from a summer cut to help beat the heat. But check with your vet! Many breeds require at least an inch of hair to protect their skin from the sun.

Fuel them appropriately

A summer-healthy dog starts with a bowl full of good food! From meals to treats, having the proper nutrients to fuel their day can help your pup avoid quick burnout and over-tiring on the trail. A protein-rich meal will keep your dog full of energy and ready to take on a summer workout. 

Car safety

The last place your dog should be on any day, especially a hot day, is alone in a car. This is the quickest way for your dog to suffer heatstroke - even a few minutes can cause lasting damage. So no matter the situation, never leave your pet alone in a car during the summer.

Helpful tools for keeping your dog safe and cool during summer

Life jackets: Heading out on a water adventure? Keep your dog safe on the river or lake this summer with a canine life jacket!

Doggy backpack: Camping pups need to carry their weight too! Make sure your dog can take all their backpacking necessities, from food to water to their favorite toy. 

Hydration tools: Keep your dog hydrated on the go with collapsible bowls and doggie water bottles. The thoughtful designs ensure that you won't need to carry more weight than necessary, and your pup will be happy to have the hydration.

Tick Repellant: Summertime in Missoula means checking for ticks every time you finish a trail activity! Make sure your dog is protected from these unwanted squatters as they explore off the trail. 

Booties: Missoula pavement can get hot - protect your dog's paws with booties. These all-season paw protectors can help with extreme weather, from snow to hot summer ground. 

Energy for on-the-go: Freeze-dried food bars are perfect for all the summer road trips and camping adventures you have on your schedule. The lightweight makes for easy travel, while the ingredients are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your pup happy and healthy. In addition, Farm To Pet Turkey + Chicken Chips can offer a fast energy boost for all your summer adventures.

A place to cool down at home or on the go: Here's a cooling magic trick - pet pads that instantly react to the pressure of your pup's body by offering a cooling sensation. This cooling mat pet pad doesn't require any electricity to work, making it an excellent addition to any house, van, vacation rental or tent. 

Sun Shirts: Give your short-haired pup extra protection from the sun. These sun shirts are soft, stretchy and durable, so your dog doesn't feel held back when wearing the sun protection. It is excellent for skin conditions, wound care, topical medications, and works as an anti-anxiety calming aid that can be worn all day.


Does planning your dog's sun safety feels daunting, we're here to help. Find all of your sun safety tools at Toiffer or on our website today! Don't avoid the sun with your pup - just prepare for it!