Summers seem to be getting hotter every year, and many dogs will be unable to regulate their temperature. Dogs living in kennels or dog houses can really struggle with the heat, so today I wanted to share with you my tips on how to keep a dog cool in a kennel or dog house.
Whether you mean a small kennel dog house, or a larger set of walk-in kennels with crates and dog houses inside them, you should be able to pick up some ideas here on keeping your dog cool.
How to keep a dog cool in a kennel in 17 simple steps
Whilst most kennels are shaded, the small dimensions of dog houses can create a lack of air flow and make them very hot in the summer. There are tips here on how to make a dog house cool in summer, and advice that also applies to larger kennel rooms.
1. Raise the dog house off the ground
If your dog house is inside a kennel, move it off the ground in the hot summer months. This can help to keep the dog house cool as air will be able to circulate better underneath and it will also reduce any heat coming up through the floor. It’s easy enough to do with old bricks or wooden blocks.
As a side benefit, a raised dog house or small kennel can also stay dryer meaning you won’t get a build-up of mold and bacteria on the insides.
2. Leave a bottle of frozen water in the dog house
If you know hot days are coming, then prepare a bottle of frozen water. Place the frozen bottle inside the dog house, and it will keep your dog cooler in the kennel.
You might find that your dog sleeps against the frozen bottle and uses it like a pillow to cool themselves down.
When freezing the water, only fill the bottle up 60% as water expands when it turns to ice. Filling it this much should make sure you get a decently filled frozen bottle for your dog to cool down with.
3. Change the kennel roof material and color
Scientists say that dark colors absorb and heat up quicker. If your kennel and dog house has a dark roof, it could be making your dog dangerously overheat this summer. Here’s what the team on Sciencing.com say:
“Darker colored objects heat up faster in the sun than light colored ones, which is why running across asphalt in bare feet can feel much hotter than walking across light-colored concrete. The reason is that darker colors absorb more of the different wavelengths of light energy, while white or light-colored objects reflect the light of most wavelengths.”
Based on this, it might be worth changing the roof color and materials that you use, to something that will cool the kennel down better – like whites and pastels.
4. Clip dog cage fans onto the dog house
You can buy small fans that clip on to the bars of a dog house or crate. It’s also possible to get ones that will stand up and point into the smaller kennel if needed.
The best clip-on fan I found was this dog cooling fan on Amazon. You can see how it looks in the photo below. It’s simple enough to use and will circulate the air in a hot dog house or crate, keeping the dog kennel cool in summer months.
Alternatively, you could buy a free-standing fan that sits in front of the dog house or kennel which you can point around to get the best air flow. Here’s one I found with good Amazon reviews.
5. Leave a baby padding pool outside the kennel
Dogs love to cool down in water when things get too hot, and there’s no better way of doing that than lowering their belly into some cool water. You can let them do that with a baby pool.
You can see how much our own dog loves to cool down on warm days in the photo below.
6. Have taller ceilings in kennels
Heat rises, so if you have a large kennel area, the higher the ceilings, the higher the heat rises. This will help to keep the heat away from your dog houses and crates, keeping your dogs a lot cooler.
7. Keep dog houses in the shade
If you have a dog house outside in your yard then move it into a shaded area but bear in mind how the sun will move around during the day, so make sure it’s not going to be in direct sunlight at any point.
You might have to move the small kennel or dog house around during the day, taking advantage of trees or even by fixing a canopy into place to keep things cooler.
I have also known dog owners to fix tarpaulins up over their yard or garden which also works well as a cooling aid.
8. Take advantage of wind direction
You can also keep dog kennels cool by putting them in line with wind direction. Wind improve air flow, improve ventilation, and keep the dog house cooler on hot days.
9. Build air vents into the dog house
This might not be possible, as it’s a permanent fix, but by creating your own air vents it can help to make the dog house cool in the summer.
As an alternative, you could invest in a ventilated dog house which I believe are available to buy on websites such as Amazon or Walmart.
10. Install air conditioning into the kennel
A more reliable method of keeping your dog kennel cool in summer, is also the most expensive one; dedicated air conditioning.
Having said that, you can buy smaller portable air conditioning units (view on Amazon), but if it’s a large kennel with lots of dog houses, you should invest properly with a built-in solution.
11. Provide plenty of drinking water
To avoid over-heating, dogs need to be kept cool and can do that by drinking water. Make sure there’s a plentiful supply outside the dog house or inside the kennel.
You could consider freezing the water the night before as this will keep it colder during the warm even as it starts to melt.
Water should be changed daily to keep it fresh. Please also be aware that too much water can lead to water intoxication. Whilst rare, it can happen, so read this guide on how to prevent it courtesy of Vets-Now.com.
12. Place damp towels in the dog house
If your kennels are on concrete floors, it can conduct heat. It has a high thermal mass, meaning your dog houses can get hot very quickly.
To help your dog cool off in the kennel you could place damp towels down, but you will need to replace them regularly.
13. Canine cooler dog bed or cooling mats
An alternative solution meaning you don’t have to switch out wet towels constantly is a cooler dog bed. There is a very highly rated dog bed with cooling gel technology on Amazon. You can see a photo of it below.
You can also buy cooling mats. I’ve used these in our house for our dog, and they do keep very, very cool so a definite option for keeping your dog kennel temperatures down. The cooling mat we use is also available on Amazon – as shown below.
14.Set outdoor sprinklers on a timer
If you dog has free access from the kennel to a yard or garden, you could use set timers on water sprinklers to keep the area wetter and your dog cooler.
If do you this, your dog will probably be counting down the minutes until the sprinkler comes back on again – it will keep them mentally stimulated in the heat too!
15. Spray the floors with water frequently
If you don’t have a garden sprinkler, you should get the hose out and spray water on the kennel floors when it’s extra hot. Do this every couple of hours or even more frequently if needed.
When dog houses are inside kennels, you should also be spraying water over the roof and inside of it to keep things cooler when you dog lies down.
16. Buy cooling clothes for your dog
There are a range of accessories you can also buy that you can fit on your dog, keeping them cooler in the kennel this summer. These include items such as:
Dog cooling jacket
It might sound counterintuitive to dress your dog in jacket in a hot kennel, but this on here is designed to cool them down, not heat them up. It not only reflect heat, but once made wet, keeps dogs cool for hours. check the Amazon prices.
Dog cooling bandana
For a cool-looking dog, you could also try a cooling bandana to go with the jacket. Just like the jacket, you soak it in cold water first, and it keeps the water in, and against your dog’s skin to keep them cool in their kennel… check Amazon prices.
Pop these onto your dog’s paws and they will stop their feet from getting burns on hot concrete and surfaces outside of the kennel and dog house… check the Amazon prices.
17. Bring your dog indoors
And lastly, if you really cannot keep your dog cool in the kennel, please bring them into your house to keep them safe.
Temperatures this summer could reach record levels, so you need to be constantly check and keep an eye on things in excessive heat.
Handy Hint: You might be tempted to shave your dog in the summer to keep them cool. Before you even think about cutting their fur, please read this guide which explains why it’s bad to shave certain dog breeds.
How to make a dog house cool in summer (video)
Whilst researching how to keep a dog kennel cool, I stumbled across a great video by a guy who owns a large set-up. You can watch as he takes you through each step he has taken to keep his dog houses cool in his big kennel building.
When is hot too hot?
The dangers of heat stroke this summer should not be underestimated. Kennels can heat up like furnaces in the hottest conditions, so planning ahead is key to making your dog house cool this summer.
But just how hot is too hot when it comes to dog kennels? Well, most dogs can deal with temperatures of up to 90°F/32°C but don’t think that means this is ok for all dogs, they are all different.
Smaller breeds and particularly those that are brachycephalic can suffer even worse in the heat and find it hard to keep themselves cool due to breathing issues.
Whilst I hope it never comes to this, here are signs of heat stroke in a dog – but you should not even get to this point if you have made steps to keep your dog cool in the kennel this summer.
- Excessive panting and breathing.
- Dehydration (dry nose, lethargy, sunken eyes).
- Excessive drooling.
- Change in gum color (red, grey, purple, blue).
- No longer able to urinate.
- Trembling and shaking.
- Trouble walking and standing.
Dogs can die in heat, and just because the kennel and dog house has openings for air to flow though doesn’t mean they will be cool enough this summer.
Take the necessary steps to keep your dog cool in his kennel, and even consider bringing him in the house if the heat gets too much.
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On the topic of warm summers, you might also like these other guides on keeping your dog safe in the heat: