how to keep a dog cool in a car

It is essential to keep your dog cool in a car, especially during the summer months. Dogs are highly susceptible to overheating and heatstroke when in a hot vehicle. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to keep a dog cool in a car so you don’t have to worry about dangerous situations. With this guide, you’ll learn practical tips and effective strategies for keeping your dog hydrated, cool, and happy during long road trips. Making sure your dog is comfortable and well-rested in the car is vital to preventing heat-related health problems.

The Danger of Hot Cars for Dogs

Even on days that don’t seem particularly warm, cars can become dangerously hot for dogs. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, putting pets in danger. Leaving your dog in a hot car can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Why Cars Get Hot Quickly

The greenhouse effect causes cars to heat up quickly. The sun heats up the car through the windows, and the interior surfaces absorb and re-radiate it. The cooling effect is minimal even with the windows open, and the temperature can get dangerous in minutes.

Signs of Overheating and Heatstroke in Dogs

It is crucial to recognize the signs of overheating and heatstroke in dogs in order to keep them safe. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Bright red or pale gums
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapse or unconsciousness

How to Keep a Dog Cool in a Car

dog cool in a car

Keeping your dog calm during car rides prevents overheating and ensures comfort. Here are some practical tips and strategies to keep a dog cool in a car:

Use Air Conditioning and Ventilation

Maximize the air conditioning and ventilation in the car to keep your dog cool. Make sure the air conditioner is on and the vents are pointed towards your dog. If your vehicle doesn’t have air conditioning, you can use battery-operated fans. Clip these portable fans to your dog’s crate or seat for a breeze to keep him comfortable. Your dog is at risk of overheating if there’s no proper ventilation in the car.

Provide Shade and Sun Protection

Provide your dog with adequate shade and sun protection to keep them cool. Sunshades or reflective window covers can reduce the temperature inside your car by blocking direct sunlight. Place your dog in the shadiest part of the vehicle, away from the windows where the sun beams directly in. Minimizing direct sunlight helps keep your pet calm, which reduces the risk of overheating.

Ensure Hydration

When riding in a car, your dog needs plenty of water to stay calm and comfortable. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water and a portable bowl. Keep him hydrated. It’s a refreshing treat and an additional cooling measure to have ice cubes around. Additionally, they help lower your dog’s body temperature from the inside out. Water is essential to your dog’s well-being throughout the journey.

Use Cooling Mats and Vests

Using cooling mats and vests can help regulate your dog’s body temperature. If you place a cooling mat in the car, your dog can lie on an excellent surface. Pets can enjoy a refreshing spot on these mats as they absorb body heat. Furthermore, your dog can wear cooling vests during the trip by soaking them in cold water. Wearing one of these vests can keep your dog more comfortable in the car.

Take Frequent Breaks

A regular break is essential when traveling with your dog in the car, especially on long trips. Plan to stop every 1-2 hours to let your dog out for a break. Look for shaded or grassy areas where your dog can walk, stretch, and cool down. The fresh air and movement provide a much-needed respite from the confined space of the car and prevent overheating. During these breaks, you can also hydrate your dog and make sure they’re doing well.

Emergency Cooling Measures

It’s essential to have emergency cooling measures on hand in case your dog overheats. If necessary, place cool towels on your dog’s body to help lower its temperature quickly. You can also pour cool (not cold) water over your dog’s paws and body to bring down its temperature. In an emergency, these quick cooling techniques can make all the difference, keeping your dog comfortable and safe.


How to cool down a dog without AC?

Place cooling mats or damp towels for your dog to lie on to cool down without air conditioning. Provide plenty of fresh water and ice cubes as treats. Use sunshades to block direct sunlight and keep windows slightly open for ventilation. When your dog shows signs of overheating, give them cool (not cold) water to drink and take frequent breaks in shade or grass.

How long can a dog stay in an excellent car?

Dogs should not stay in cool cars for more than five minutes, regardless of how comfortable the temperature feels to them. Cars can quickly heat up, posing a risk of heatstroke and discomfort for dogs. Whenever possible, park your car in the shade and crack the windows to allow your dog to breathe. You should avoid leaving your dog in a car altogether, especially during warm weather.

Can dogs survive in a hot car?

In hot cars, even for a short time, dogs may struggle to survive. In minutes, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to dangerous levels, resulting in heatstroke and possibly death. It is hazardous to leave a dog in a hot car. You should never leave them unattended in a vehicle, especially in hot weather.

What is too hot for a dog in a car?

Any temperature above 70°F (21°C) can start to become uncomfortable for a dog in a car, especially if the car is parked in direct sunlight. As temperatures rise, the risk of heatstroke increases significantly. 

Dogs are at serious risk if left in a car when temperatures reach 80°F (27°C) or higher, as the interior can quickly become dangerously hot. It’s essential to be mindful of the outside temperature and the car’s exposure to sunlight to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being.

Read More: How to Stop Dog Barking in Car?

Final Words

In a car, it is essential to keep your dog cool to ensure its safety and health. Remember that your dog relies on you to keep it safe, so make sure you prioritize their comfort and well-being whenever you travel together. If you follow these tips, you can enjoy safer and more enjoyable journeys with your pet.

Frank Washington

I'm passionate about canine wellness, particularly skin health. Drawing on years of experience and ongoing research, I hope to provide useful insights and practical tips to help dog owners ensure their pets have a vibrant, healthy coat. As a proponent of natural and holistic care, I founded as a resource center for fellow dog lovers looking to nourish their pet's skin from the inside out.