How to keep German Shepherd cool during the summer and hot days

How to Keep German Shepherd Cool in Summer - Best Practice

High summer temperatures can be dangerous for humans, and some sun injuries can be life-threatening. Imagine a German Shepherd with a double coat, and you can only sweat on your feet. It wouldn't be pleasant at all! That’s why we want to share tips and tricks on keeping your German Shepherd cool during the hot summer days.

To better understand how dangerous summer can be for dogs, around 14.18% of the dog population had a heatstroke during the summer season, and unfortunately, not all dogs survive heatstroke.

That is why we decided to write this article: be careful, read carefully, and stay focused! Also, we highly recommend you talk with your vet if this is your first summer as a German Shepherd owner.

Without further hesitation, let’s get to the topic right away!

The best 15 ways to keep your German Shepherd cool in the summer:

  1. Circulate cool air
  2. Keep dogs out of conservatories and greenhouses
  3. Prevent sunburn
  4. Never leave a German Shepherd in a parked car
  5. Leave a bowl of water out for your dog to drink from
  6. Give your German Shepherd cool snacks
  7. Watch when you exercise
  8. Check the pavement
  9. Ensure there’s a shaded spot
  10. Spray them with a hose or put out a paddling pool
  11. Avoid long car journeys
  12. Get your German Shepherd used to higher temperatures
  13. Groom your German Shepherd frequently
  14. Keep your German Shepherd at a healthy weight
  15. Buy for your German Shepherd a cooling bed or mat

Now, let’s see in detail why these techniques are the best for keeping your German Shepherd cool during the summer.

1. Circulate air.

Circulating cool air is incredibly important during summer for German Shepherds, as its heat-regulating properties are essential to keeping them safe. For example, circulating a cool breeze in their environment helps avoid dehydration and heatstroke.

Constant airflow allows the body to dissipate and release heat more easily naturally, so it can maintain a steady body temperature. You can use fans, air conditioning, or even open windows to create a cool breeze for your pup.

The perfect air temperature for dogs is between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit (20-26 degrees Celsius). Anything beyond this range may be uncomfortable for them and lead to health complications.

2. Keep German Shepherd dog out of conservatories and greenhouses.

Greenhouses and conservatories can be particularly dangerous places for German Shepherds during the summer, as the temperatures in these spaces can quickly reach dangerously high levels. This is mainly due to the “greenhouse effect”, which traps heat in the confines of the room and amplifies it to a level that can become uncomfortable or even dangerous for your German Shepherd.

If you need to take your German Shepherd into a greenhouse or conservatory, you should limit the time spent inside and provide plenty of cool water for him/her.

Avoid greenhouses with German Shepherd during the summer

On average, the temperature in those rooms is between 80-90°F (26.6-32.2°C).

Remember that these sun traps amplify the heat and lack soothing breezes, and sometimes the temperature can be even higher!

These temperatures are “not friendly” for your German Shepherd dog, and you should avoid these places during the summer (of course, only when it is hot outside).

3. Prevent sunburn

Believe it or not, German Shepherds can sunburn! German Shepherds with lighter skin and fur are particularly vulnerable to sunburn. Sunburn in dogs is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, which damages their delicate skin cells.

This exposure can cause painful inflammation of the skin and can lead to more serious skin conditions, such as bacterial and fungal infections. To prevent sunburn in your German Shepherd, try these tips:

• Limit your dog's exposure to direct sunlight, especially during peak UV hours. If you take your German Shepherd out for a walk or hike, consider bringing an umbrella or sunshade.

• Apply sunscreen specially made for dogs with at least 15 SPF before your dog goes outdoors. Make sure the sunscreen is completely dry before they go outside.

• Use light-colored clothing and accessories to protect your dog's skin from the sun's rays. Buy jackets, hats, and other items with a UV protective coating (you need this only in extremely rare cases).

• Give them plenty of water outdoors to stay hydrated and cool on hot days!

* Keep them away from direct sunlight for extended periods of time. If you’re taking your dog outdoors on a hot day, make sure they have plenty of shaded spots to rest in during

4. Never leave the German Shepherd in a parked car

This is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that people make. No matter how fast you plan to finish your shopping, visit your doctor, or whatever, you should never leave your German Shepherd inside a parked car with closed windows and turned off AC. 

Take your German Shepherd with you if the place is pet-friendly.

“But my German Shepherd doesn’t know how to behave in public”

Then teach him how to behave in public. You will need time to train him, but your German Shepherd will know how to behave wherever you go.

Don't leave your German Shepherd in the car during the summer and hot days

And in some counties, it’s illegal to leave the dog in the hot car. If the owner leaves a German Shepherd in the hot car, or any other pet, owners could be charged with the offense of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act.

Thousands of dogs lose their lives yearly because they are locked in cars during hot summer days. In the US alone, an estimated 37 heat-related canine deaths occurred in 2018 due to this issue, and it has been predicted that 2019 will likely see even more.

Unfortunately, these numbers only rise each subsequent year as pet owners continue making this horrible mistake. Don’t be one of them, and look after your German Shepherd!

5. Leave a bowl of water out for your German Shepherd to drink from

Having access to a water bowl during hot summer days is necessary for German Shepherds because it helps them stay hydrated. No matter which time of year it is, your dog must always have access to clean drinking water.

German Shepherds lose moisture through panting and evaporation, so they must constantly replenish their water. Providing a bowl of fresh and clean water at all times can ensure that your dog stays hydrated and healthy during the hot summer days.

Additionally, it can help prevent heat stroke, which may result from severe dehydration in extreme weather conditions. You should check and clean your pet’s water bowl daily to keep it free from bacteria and parasites.

6. Give your German Shepherd cool snacks

German Shepherds love to eat cool snacks during the summer for various reasons. For one, dogs have an internal temperature about 5-10 degrees higher than humans, so when it gets hot outside, they need extra help to cool down.

Cool treats like frozen dog-safe yogurt or chopped fruits and veggies can help regulate their body temperature and provide them with a refreshing snack. You can also make your own homemade treats like frozen peanut butter-filled Kongs or popsicles made with low-sodium chicken broth and meat pieces to give your German Shepherd a special summer treat.

Also, you can purchase specially formulated dog ice creams to help cool down dogs while providing them with a delicious snack.

Our favorite top 5 summer dog cool snacks for German Shepherds are:

  • Peanut Butter & Fruit Freezies
  • Fruit and Yogurt Freezies
  • Cantaloupe Ice Cream
  • Frozen Banana Bites
  • Frozen King

We highly recommend you try to make these cool snacks. Making these snacks isn’t complicated, and your German Shepherd will surely thank you!

7. Watch when you exercise

We all know that training is important for all dogs, especially German Shepherds, but during hot summer days, you should reduce training time or train when the sun comes down.

Exercising with your dog during hot summer days can be dangerous, especially for double-coated dogs such as German Shepherds.

The combination of heat, humidity and strenuous exercise can lead to serious health problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body cannot adjust to excessive temperatures, resulting in an inability to cool down properly.

Tongue sign for heatstroke in German Shepherds

Heat stroke is a more serious condition in which the dog’s temperature rises and may cause irreversible damage.

Therefore, when exercising during hot summer days, you should keep in mind the following advice:

•Take breaks - Take frequent breaks to allow your pup to cool down and avoid over-exertion.

•Keep the water handy - Have plenty of cold water available for your pup to drink.

•Watch for signs - Be aware of any signs of heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, or weakness.

•Provide shade - Provide shelter from the sun and ensure plenty of ventilation in the area.

Don’t wait for your German Shepherd to get tired because they will not get that easily tired! Even if they are so close to heatstroke, they will continue to run, bite and jump, and that’s why we need to be extra careful.

8. Protect the paws of the German Shepherd

Hot walking surfaces can pose a potentially dangerous situation for dogs during the hot summer days. The pads on German Shepherd paws are designed to be extremely tough and resilient to handle long walks on pavement or other hard surfaces.

Unfortunately, when temperatures soar during the summer, asphalt, and concrete can become so hot that they literally burn the pads on a dog’s paws. Therefore, it is important to keep your German Shepherd off hot surfaces and stick to grass or other cooler surfaces when taking them for walks in the summertime.

You can easily test if the walking surface is too hot for your German Shepherd. Put your hand on the ground for seven seconds. If the surface is too hot for you to endure for seven seconds, it will also be too hot for your dog's paws.

For situations like these, you can buy paw shoes for your German Shepherd, but if the temperature is extremely high, stay inside and don’t go out.

9. Make sure that there are shaded spot

If your German Shepherd is outside during the hot days, and if there is no shaded spot in your garden, make sure to create one. Even in the shadow, sometimes it can be too hot for them, and if you notice that your German Shepherd is digging and lying in that hole during the hot days, know that he is hot and trying to cool down.

During the last few years, the popularity of underground dog houses (or underground levels) has grown, and one of the reasons for that is that they are cool during hot summer days.

You can’t find good underground houses for dogs on the market, but if you have enough space in the garden, place a pool near the house or create one bigger hole in the ground for your German Shepherd. Also, you can leave him to do that by himself.

10. Spray them with a hose

Unfortunately, some German Shepherds are scared of hoses, and you maybe can't do this, but if your German Shepherd isn't scared of hoses, this is a great idea to cool him down! 

Just be careful! If the water is too cold, the outside is too hot, and your German Shepherd is a little tired, he can get a heart attack if you immediately wet him with cold water. 

Sprayed German Shepherd with hose in summer

Also, too cold water can cause German Shepherd dogs to become hypothermic, so please check the water temperature. If the water temperature is above 50°F (10°C), you can let your German Shepherd enjoy it!

11. Avoid long car journeys

Most dog owners avoid long car journeys with their dogs during the summer because they know they can get into a traffic jam, and the traffic jam can cause additional problems, such as problems with AC, more time spent in the car, or some issues with the car.

Long car rides can be extremely dangerous for German Shepherd dogs during hot summer days as they cannot regulate their body temperature properly and may suffer heatstroke if left in a vehicle or exposed to excessive heat.

Dogs do not sweat like humans, so they rely on panting and radiation of excess body heat through their ears, paws, and nose to cool themselves down.

If you must take your German Shepherd on a long car journey during the summer, be sure to keep the AC running and make frequent stops for water and rest breaks so he can cool off. Make sure to bring along fresh drinking water, ice packs, or frozen bottles of water to help keep him cool in emergency situations.

12. Get your German Shepherd used to higher temperatures

We highly recommend you do that because, in the long run, it will help your German Shepherd dog to withstand the great heat better. When we say “used to higher temperatures,” we don’t mean to take him outside immediately when the temperatures are crazy high. When it comes to getting your German Shepherd used to higher temperatures, it’s important to start off small and gradually increase the duration of time spent outdoors in the heat.

It is a good idea to take advantage of cooler mornings and make sure that your pup drinks plenty of water throughout their outdoor time. It is also advisable to pay attention to your pup’s signs of fatigue, such as excessive panting and listlessness.

If your German Shepherd shows signs of distress or discomfort, it is best to let them cool off indoors or in the shade before resuming their time outdoors. You can also get special cooling vests for your pup to help keep them comfortable outside.

13. Groom your German Shepherd more frequently

German Shepherds should be brushed 2-3 times per week, but during the hot summer days, you can brush them 2-5 times.

Regular brushing during hot summer days is very important to help keep your German Shepherd cool and comfortable. This helps maintain their coat healthy and free of dead hair, which would otherwise block airflow and prevent the heat from dissipating properly.

Further, it can benefit your German Shepherd's skin condition since brushing helps remove all dirt, debris, and parasites trapped in the fur. Also, brushing will distribute the natural oils throughout the coat, which helps keep it healthy and glossy.

Clean German Shepherd in summer days

Regularly brush your German Shepherd during the summer, and their body temperature will be lower. Also, we want to mention that you should NEVER trim their coat!

In situations like this, one of the best dog brushes for German Shepherds is Dogcog™ double-sided brush. This brush will remove all dead hair from your German Shepherd, without hurting him.

14. Keep your German Shepherd at a healthy weight

On hot summer days, overweight German Shepherds are at a greater risk for health problems than healthy weight. This is because the excess fat in their bodies prevents heat loss, making them more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, dehydration, and even heat stroke. Also, the extra weight strains their joints and can cause chronic pain and inflammation.

It's important to keep your German Shepherd at a healthy weight throughout the summer months, so they stay comfortable and safe in the heat. Be sure to feed them a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, provide plenty of exercise opportunities to stay active, and talk to your veterinarian about reducing the amount of food your dog consumes.

A healthy weight is essential for your German Shepherd’s well-being, so make sure to take the necessary steps to keep them in tip-top shape all year round!

According to the American Kennel Club, the standard weight of German Shepherd dogs is:

  • Female German Shepherd dog: 50-70 lbs (22.5-31.5 kg)
  • Male German Shepherd dog: 65-90 lbs (29.5-40.5 kg)

Everything above isn't healthy, and you should consult your vet on how to reduce the weight of your German Shepherd if he is an overweight dog.

15. Buy for your German Shepherd a cooling bed or mat

Cooling mats are great accessories for German Shepherds during hot summer days, as they help keep your pup comfortable and safe from potential health risks associated with overheating.

Cooling beds absorb heat from your dog's body and transfer it into water or an absorbent gel, similar to how a cold floor does the same. Your German Shepherd's body heat causes the bed to warm up, which helps your dog cool down more rapidly.

Your German Shepherd will leave the bed if it becomes too warm and look for relief from the heat elsewhere. The mat loses heat to the air and the floor in the interim, so your dog may return to a cold bed the following time he wants to cool down.

German Shepherd overheating symptoms.

It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of your German Shepherd becoming overheated to prevent heat-related illnesses and other issues. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat, it is important to take immediate action and not ignore the symptoms.

The most common signs and symptoms of a German Shepherd suffering from heat stroke are:

1. Excessive Panting: If your German Shepherd is panting heavily, it indicates that they are overheating and trying to cool off. This can be especially true if they pant while not engaging in physical activity.

2. Increased Heartbeat: If you feel your dog’s heart beating unusually fast, this could also be a sign of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

3. Unresponsiveness: If your German Shepherd is unresponsive to stimuli or doesn't have the normal energy they usually have, it could indicate that its body temperature is too high and they need help cooling off.

4. Elevated Body Temperature: If your dog’s temperature is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, seek medical attention immediately, as this can signify heat stroke.

5. Drooling: If your German Shepherd is drooling more than normal, it could indicate that its body temperature is too high and they are trying to cool off.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog during the summer months, move them to a cool area and provide plenty of water for hydration. Seek medical attention immediately.

Things to avoid doing with German Shepherd during summer.

When the summer months hit, there are certain steps that you should take to keep your German Shepherd safe and comfortable. One of the most important is avoiding certain activities that can lead to overheating or discomfort in your pup.

Here are a few things you should avoid doing with your German Shepherd during the summer months:

1. Avoid exercising too much: It’s important to keep your German Shepherd active during hot summer days, but monitoring their activity and ensuring they don’t overdo it is essential. When the temperatures start rising, reduce the duration and intensity of outdoor activities, as strenuous exercise can strain the body and lead to heat exhaustion.

2. Do not leave your dog in the car: On hot summer days, never leave your German Shepherd in the car, as temperatures can soar quickly and cause serious health problems. It’s best to leave them at home or use other transportation when venturing outdoors.

3. Avoid cutting the German Shepherd's hair: We already mention that this isn't good practice at all. Cutting your dog's hair will make things even worse, so please, don't trim the hair of your German Shepherd dog.

4. Do not rely on fans: While fans are great additions to help keep your pup cool, they should never be relied on as the only means of cooling down. Instead, utilize other strategies, such as providing plenty of water and allowing access to a cool space.

5. Avoid Overfeeding: Eating too much can lead to weight gain in German Shepherds, making it more difficult to cool off during hot summer days. Make sure you’re feeding your pup the right amount of food based on their breed and size.

Should you cut German Shepherd's hair in summer?

Big no! You should never trim the coat of your German Shepherd, no matter how hot outside it is. If you want to cool down your German Shepherd, buy him a pool, and ice snacks, put the ice into the water, and create a big shaded spot, but never trim the coat of your German Shepherd! 

Unless absolutely required for health reasons, you should not shave the coat of your German Shepherd. German Shepherd has a double coat, meaning another layer of coat is under the visible one. Their coat's ability to keep them dry, warm, or cool will be damaged if you alter these layers.

Don't shave German Shepherd in the summer

Here are 3 reasons why cutting the hair of a German Shepherd dog isn't a good idea!

1. Damaging the Natural Protective Layer: Double-coated dogs, such as German Shepherds, have a special protective layer called the undercoat. This undercoat helps the dog regulate its body temperature and protects it against the elements. If you trim their hair, that layer can become damaged, and your dog won’t be able to regulate its temperature as effectively.

2. Making the Skin Vulnerable: Trimming the coat of your German Shepherd can make him more prone to sunburn or even skin cancer if he is exposed to too much sun without proper protection.

3. Allowing Dirt and Parasites Easier Access: With shorter hair, dirt, and parasites can more easily make their way to the skin and cause infections or other health problems.

Remember, regular bruising will help your German Shepherd to stay cool during the hot summer days. 

Do German Shepherds overheat easily?

Unfortunately, the German Shepherd can get hot easily during summer days. German Shepherds' body temperatures are greater than humans and have less capacity for cooling themselves. This is because they have fewer sweat glands, only found on their soft paws and noses.

Overheating German Shepherds dogs can only control their body temperature through panting, which is incredibly ineffective in hot temperatures.

To cool down your German Shepherd, we suggest you follow the tips that we have already mentioned in this blog post.

The ideal temperature for the German Shepherd.

Most German Shepherds love cold weather, and they can be outside when it is 20-30°F (-6°C to 5°C) for a couple of hours without any problem. During the summer, when the temperature rises up to 75°F (24°C) or more, it is advisable to protect your German Shepherd with ice, shaded spots, and a pool, and help him stay fresh.

When the temperatures are 20-30°F (-6°C to 5°C), you can do almost all activities with your German Shepherd, with a little more caution.

On the other hand, when the temperatures are 75°F (24°C) or more, you are recommended not to train, walk, or do any other extreme exercise with your dog. 

Every day has an end, and at the end of the day, there is a night. Use night or morning to train or exercise with your German Shepherd. Trust us, your German Shepherd will thank you for this!

Long-haired German Shepherd in hot weather.

Without any doubt, the hot summer days are the most difficult for long-haired German Shepherd dogs. If your German Shepherd has this type of coat, you must be careful what you’re doing during the summer. 

There is no “secret recipe” to cool down your German Shepherd just like that. We recommend you follow the steps mentioned in this blog post and be less active.

Use fresh morning and night for walks, training, and exercise, and during the day, if you have a pool, enjoy with your long-haired German Shepherd! 

Also, we want to mention this again: do not trim the coat of your German Shepherd, no matter how long it is!

Frequently asked questions.

Can German Shepherds survive in hot?

German Shepherds can survive in hot temperatures, provided they are given the proper care and protection. It is important to understand that this dog breed has fewer sweat glands than humans and relies on panting as its primary cooling method.

If you're living in a place where the temperatures are high during the whole year, maybe you should consider getting a different dog breed if you don't have enough time to keep your German Shepherd cool during the whole day.

Do German Shepherds sweat?

German Shepherds sweat, but unlike humans, the sweat glands are located in different places. Dogs have sweat glands on their paws and noses, allowing them to cool down faster when they pant and lick their fur.

This is why it's important for dogs to be able to access shade and water when outdoors in hot weather.

Do German Shepherds need conditioner?

Yes, German Shepherds will probably need conditioner during the summer months. This is because the heat and humidity can cause their coats to become dry, brittle, and tangled.

Additionally, conditioners help restore moisture to their fur, which can help protect their skin from becoming irritated or sunburned.

What temp is too hot for a German Shepherd?

It is generally considered too hot for German Shepherds when temperatures reach 75°F (24°C) or more. When the temperature rises to this level, it is advisable to protect your dog with ice, shaded spots, and a pool to help him stay cool.

Avoid extreme exercise in these high-heat situations, as it can be dangerous for the dog. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting and looking listless. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.

More information

For those who want to learn more, we’ll always provide more useful information and tips. Here are the 5 signs of heatstroke in dogs. If you spot these signs in time, you can save your German Shepherds' life!


Final words

Summer has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Nature is more beautiful, and the weather is better, but the bright sun can also be dangerous for our German Shepherds and us.

Try to stay in the shade during the hottest hours. We understand that we all have some jobs that we must finish, but we only do these. 

Your health and the health of your German Shepherd are most important, and that’s why we recommend you to be active only at night and morning! 

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