20 Cheap Ways To Keep Your Furry Friends Healthy in the Heat

Cynthia Measom

With record-breaking temperatures 20 to 30 degrees above average already plaguing parts of the U.S. in June, it’s not difficult to imagine the soaring temperatures we might experience as the summer months progress — temperatures that can wreak havoc on your pet’s well-being.

In hot temperatures, it’s a given that pets need enough shade and water to avoid overheating. But, as a pet owner, you can do more for your furry friend than the basics — and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Check out these 20 inexpensive things you can do or buy to keep your pet healthy in the heat.

Pet Water Bottle

Whether you’re walking with your pet or doing other outside activities, you’ll need to make sure your furry friend gets plenty of water breaks to stay hydrated and cool. A good way to do this while on the go is to carry a dog water bottle that has its own built-in water bowl.

The folding cap doubles as a bowl, so all you have to do is flip it open. When you squeeze the water bottle, the water will flow into the attached bowl, providing your pet with a drink.

Chilling Bandana

Keep your pet cool with a chilling bandana — a product filled with a cooling gel substance. To use, you completely saturate the bandana with cold water and wring it out before placing it on your pet’s neck. As the chilling bandana rests on your pet’s neck, it will help keep its body temperature from elevating as quickly when it’s hot outside.

For extra coolness, you may want to place the bandana in the refrigerator for a while after wetting it. While your pet is wearing the product, you’ll need to rewet the bandana as needed to sustain the cooling effect.


Cooling Water Bowl

A cooling bowl can keep water cold outdoors, which can help keep your pet from overheating. To use a cooling bowl, fill the interior cavity of the bowl with water, shake the bowl to activate the cooling crystals, allow the bowl to rest for about 45 minutes and then place it in the freezer overnight.

The frozen inner cavity of the bowl can keep your pet’s drinking water cool for up to 15 hours. For extra cooling power, fill the inside of the bowl with approximately 1 inch of water before freezing.

Once frozen, fill the bowl with cold water and station it outside — preferably in the shade — where your pet can easily reach the refreshing, cold water as needed.


Take Walks at Cooler Times of the Day

To keep things cool, opt to take your furry friend on walks in the early morning or late evening — not during the middle part of the day. Otherwise, you’ll risk overheating your pet.

Pay attention to not only how high the temperature is, but also how humid it is outside. When an animal becomes warm, it pants to evaporate moisture from its lungs. The presence of high humidity can prevent the animal from cooling itself efficiently and can cause the pet’s temperature to elevate quickly, putting it at risk of overheating.


Cooling Pad

If you’ve ever witnessed a pet stretched out comfortably on a cool tile floor during hot weather, you’ll probably understand why a cooling pad can benefit your pet.

A pet cooling pad is made of a puncture-resistant material filled with cooling gel. When your pet lies down on the pad, it activates the cooling gel’s properties. The best part is that you don’t have to put this pad in the refrigerator or freezer. It works on its own.

It’s also lightweight and portable, so you can take it along wherever you and your pet go.

Breathable Mesh Dog Boots

Your pet might not love wearing booties, but they might be worth a try to keep its paw pads cool while walking on hot outdoor surfaces. Opt for booties that are made of a mesh material to allow for air circulation.

The booties will provide a layer of protection between your pet’s sensitive paw pads and hot outdoor surfaces. The booties come in different sizes, so you’ll need to measure your pet’s paws to make sure you order the correct size.

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Dog Paw Protectors

If your pet doesn’t care for booties or has a difficult time walking in them, you may want to opt for dog paw protectors. This product forms a protective barrier between your dog’s paw pads and outdoor surfaces that are burning hot, such as asphalt.

The paw protectors come in different sizes to fit over your dog’s paw pads. They include a medical-grade adhesive, which helps them attach to the pads, much like a band-aid would — keeping your pet’s paw pads cool and comfortable.


Paw Protection Wax

If booties and paw protectors won’t work well for your furry companion, another option to keep your pet’s paws cool in hot outdoor conditions is to use a wax-based cream. To use, apply the cream to your pet’s paw pads and in between its toes. Within seconds, the cream will dry and form an invisible shield between your pet’s delicate paw pads and surfaces such as hot pavement.

Walk On the Grass

When it’s 90 degrees outside, dark-colored asphalt surfaces can be around 60 degrees hotter than the surrounding temperature. If the asphalt feels hot to your hand, imagine how uncomfortable it will feel on your dog’s paw pads. If you don’t have anything to protect your dog’s paw pads, walk only on the grass, so your dog’s paws stay cool. 

Pet Pool

Although not all dogs will take advantage of this product to keep them cool, it could be worth it if you have a water-loving dog. Breeds such as Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Newfoundlands, English setters and Irish setters might spend all day lounging in this portable pool.

This isn’t the plastic pool that becomes a nuisance when you need to move or store it, instead it’s foldable and easily transportable. Plus, it’s made out of extra-heavy PVC material, so it’s durable.


Outdoor Misting Fan Kit

This product isn’t specifically advertised for pets., but during long, hot summer days this product could help give your outside pet some relief from the scorching heat.

All you need is a standing outdoor fan. This kit contains a misting ring tube and connectors that will allow you to attach the ring to the fan’s caging. The misting effect can cool the surrounding air up to 20 degrees.

You can station the fan on a patio or other outdoor area where your pet is likely to hang out.

Make Sure Your Pet Has Plenty of Shade

Although you might think your dog can duck into its doghouse to stay cool, it doesn’t work that way. An enclosed doghouse doesn’t allow air to circulate, trapping heat and making it feel like an oven — especially if the doghouse is located in the direct sun.  

Instead of relying on a doghouse, you should make sure your dog has a shaded area to retreat to if it lives outside. Even though shaded areas will register the same temperature as the areas in the direct sun, shaded areas can feel 10 to 15 degrees cooler. A covered patio or a shady tree are both good options for your pet to escape boiling hot temperatures. Don’t forget to supply plenty of fresh, cool water too. 

Kennel Shade Cover

When you visit the beach or a pool, you’re likely to want a break from the sun after a while. Just like we utilize umbrellas or canopies, your pet also needs the benefit of shade when it’s outdoors. If a tree or covered area isn’t available, you can opt for a pet shade cover.

Pet shade covers can shield your pet’s outdoor kennel from 85% of the sun’s rays, lower the temperature in the kennel up to 15 degrees and still provide the necessary air circulation your pet needs. This product can prove to be a much better investment than a regular tarp because it’s water- and UV-resistant, tear-resistant and features anti-rust grommets.


Portable Pet Fan

Perhaps your pet sleeps in a kennel or crate at night in a warmer area of your home, or maybe you want the added benefit of a fan when your pet is spending time in its kennel outdoors.

This five-speed mini fan model can do the trick. It contains a rechargeable battery, which means you won’t have to worry about spending extra money to power it. All you have to do is charge the fan’s battery and hang it on your pet’s kennel to help keep your pet cool. You can expect four to six hours of running time per charge.


Pet Noggle

Although this pet cooling item is at a higher price point than the other items on the list, it could be well worth it — especially if your pet travels with you in your car during hot weather.

The Noggle is a long hose with an adapter that connects to your vehicle’s air conditioning vent, and you can install and remove it within seconds. The hose funnels cool air to the backseat or inside the cargo area of your vehicle where your pet is riding.

By using the Noggle, you won’t have to worry about your pet not receiving enough cool air, especially while you’re trying to cool off the car after you first get in.

Don't Shave Your Pet's Coat

Although you might be tempted to clip or shave your pet’s coat to give it some relief during hot weather, don’t — at least until you consult with your veterinarian. In general, your pet’s hair functions to keep its body cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

It is unnecessary to shave cats, in particular, because they are able to efficiently regulate their body temperature. If your dog happens to have a long coat and you live where temperatures become quite hot, you might opt to shave some of its hair to make it more comfortable, as long as your vet agrees. Pets can become sunburned, however, so make sure you leave at least one inch of hair.


Ice Cream for Dogs

Ice cream is the perfect frosty treat on a hot day, but the kind you eat might not be the best choice for your dog due to dairy and other ingredients. Instead of giving your pet a sample of your ice cream, opt for an ice cream mix created especially for canines.

Just add the recommended amount of water to this all-natural mix that’s both grain- and lactose-free. Next, freeze it to make doggy ice cream. If your dog’s not a big fan of peanut butter, no problem — the mix comes in a variety of tail-wagging flavors.


Doggie Cone

If your dog likes licking or chewing on ice, it will probably love Doggie Cone. Simply fill the cone with water to one of the two available fill lines — 12 ounces or 22 ounces — and add dog treats, peanut butter or safe-to-eat fruits or veggies. Freeze overnight and serve to your dog the next day.

Not only will licking this frozen confection cool off your dog, but it can also help keep it hydrated — and occupied. Plus, the food-safe base, complete with rubber feet, can be used over and over.



Cooling Vest

A cooling vest can keep your pet cool in high temperatures via evaporative cooling. This particular vest, which is made from PVA and includes a mesh panel, has the added bonus of a reflective strap, which can help reflect the heat.

To use, soak the vest in cold water, wring it out and put it on your dog. During prolonged activities away from home, you can pour water from a water bottle onto the vest to help keep it from drying out.



Never Leave Your Dog in a Car

It’s never safe to leave a pet unattended in a car in warm weather. In some cases, it only takes minutes for the interior of a car to heat up to dangerous levels for your pet. According to VeterinaryClinic.com, when it’s just 75 degrees outside, an unattended car can heat up to 94 degrees inside within 10 minutes and 109 degrees within 30 minutes.

Although humans have sweat glands all over, a dog’s sweat glands are only in its nose and paw pads. The only way a dog can attempt to regulate its body temperature when becoming hot is to pant, but panting is not efficient enough under the extreme temperature conditions in a hot vehicle. If a dog’s body temperature reaches 109 degrees or higher, heatstroke is imminent and the dog can suffer traumatic damage to its organs and nervous system, which can lead to death.

Click through to find out which airlines are affordable and pet-friendly.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 20 Cheap Ways To Keep Your Furry Friends Healthy in the Heat