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How to Keep a Dog Cool in a Hot Car – Our Favorite Methods

To keep a dog cool in a hot car, start by making sure they have plenty of water. It’s also important to make sure there is constant airflow. This means rolling down the windows or turning on the AC. You can also purchase a cooling mat or cooling vest to place on your dog. This will last for about four hours.

Summer is one of the best times to bond with your dog. You don’t have to be stuck inside all day due to rain or snow. You can now go out and explore the great outdoors with your furry friend!

Some of these summer adventures may require long car rides. Before embarking on a road trip with your dog, it’s important to understand the safety concerns. The primary safety concern when traveling with your dog is heat.

Dogs have a much higher body temperature than humans, so keeping them cool on a road trip should be your primary concern.

In today’s guide, we will go over the dangers of heat and what you can do to keep your dog cool in the car during your trip.

Signs Your Dog is Experiencing Heat Exhaustion

When humans get hot, we sweat to regulate our body temperature. When dogs get hot, they pant to regulate their body temperature.

When traveling in the car with your dog, it’s important to know about the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Some common signs of heat exhaustion are excessive panting, dehydration, excessive drooling, fever, weakness, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and rapid heart rate.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms in the car, do your best to find some shade for them and provide them with plenty of water. If possible, it’s also a good idea to wipe them down with a cold towel. If they are still experiencing these symptoms, get in contact with your vet immediately.

Though the thought of your dog experiencing heat exhaustion can be scary, the good news is that it can be easily prevented if the proper actions are taken.

Five Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in a Hot Car

1. Hydrate

It is important to keep your dog hydrated when traveling with them. By giving your dog plenty of water, you are helping them regulate their body temperature.

The more your dog pants, the more water they are losing from their body. Hydration is one of the best ways to prevent heat exhaustion.

We recommended that you keep water readily available in your car and/or in your bag. We also recommend investing in a durable, portable, and lightweight water bowl for your dog.

You can leave all these dedicated items in your car. This way, you are always ready for the next big adventure.

2. Cooling Mats/Pads

Cooling mats are a great way to keep your dog’s body temperature in check. You can find these mats online or at a local pet store. They are convenient and portable for on the go use. Cooling mats come in a variety of sizes to cater to your dog’s size and needs.

Most mats are self-activating, which means you don’t have to freeze or refrigerate them. They can be a comfortable, cool solution for long trips with your dog.

3. Shade

When parked, reflective windshield covers can significantly lower the car’s temperature if you cannot find a shady spot. This is especially important if you have leather seats that get excessively hot in the heat.

Sunshades can also make a world of difference if you placed them in back seat windows. They are easy to install and uninstall and can absorb excess heat and harmful UV rays.

Tinted windows lean on the pricier side of solutions, but should be considered if you want a convenient way to keep your car cool.

4. Cooling Bandanas/Collars/Vests

The market has been flooded with innovative dog wear products within the past few years. Apart from different designs and patterns, you can find cooling bandanas, collars, and vests to equip your furry friend with.

Depending on the product, you may need water on hand to activate the cooling material. Although if you’re traveling with your dog, you should ALWAYS have water on hand. Once activated, your dog will feel refreshed for about four hours.

5. Constant Air Flow

When driving in the car with your dog, you should always have constant airflow. Rolling down the windows to get a pleasant breeze is a great way to get the air circulating in your car. For safety reasons, we do not recommend rolling your window down all the way unless someone is holding your dog.

Rolled windows are a great way to get your dog some fresh air, but also come with some cons as dirt and debris can find a way into your dog’s eyes.

For them to enjoy the breeze at max capacity without the risks, you can install a window screen or mesh curtain, which will prevent your dog from jumping out, sticking their head out of a window, or getting dirt in their eyes.

If you are unable to roll down your windows safely, you can always keep a constant airflow by turning on the air conditioning.

Whether you are blasting the A/C or creating a wind tunnel in your car, your dog will appreciate the constant airflow to keep him cool.

What if I Have to Leave My Dog in the Car Unattended?

In the summer season, car temperatures rise at a significantly fast pace. Due to this, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LEAVING YOUR DOG IN THE CAR UNSUPERVISED FOR MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES.

To prepare for the five minutes, you must provide your dog with access to plenty of water and airflow. This means rolling down the windows and/or turning on the A/C.

To prevent your dog from jumping out the window or rummaging through your car unsupervised, we suggest leashing them to something in your vehicle.

Ideally, you would park under a shady area before doing your quick errand. You should also put up a reflective windshield cover, even if you’re only going to be gone for a few minutes. Please take this seriously as many dogs pass away each year from being stuck in a hot car.

Summer is a great time to bond with your best friend. Just remember that dogs run much hotter than humans. Just because you can handle the heat doesn’t mean your dog can. Take proper action when traveling in the car with your dog and always check on your dog for signs of heat exhaustion.

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