How to keep your dog cool at outdoor events

It’s September in Colorado, and it’s still HOT!

(It’s why pumpkin spice Frappucinos exist, probably.)

It’s also the tail end of art show and farmer’s market season, which means lots of people are out and about with their dogs.

Don’t get me wrong — for me, meeting dogs is the best part of art fairs and markets, and they’ll always be greeted with treats and water! But I do worry when I see fatigued, panting pups out in hot weather. If it’s very hot, it’s best to leave your pups at home. But if you do decide to bring them along, here are some tips to keep them happy and cool.

KoolSkinz Cooling Vest

KoolSkinz Cooling Vest

  1. Bring lots of water. While some vendors (like me!) have water bowls available, it’s best to carry your own source too. Collapsible dog bowls are easy to carry in a backpack or purse. Or you can try a “dog water bottle”, which is basically a bottle with an attached cup.

  2. Try a cooling vest. There are a couple kinds out there that work slightly differently. KoolSkinz, a Denver company, makes vests that hold freezable ice packs that stay cold up to two hours. Others, such as this one from Ruffwear, are soaked in water, using evaporation to cool off your pup.

  3. Consider booties. We all know that asphalt can get dangerously hot very quickly in the heat of the day, which can cause discomfort and even burns on a dog’s paws. Breathable dog booties are a great way to go. As an added bonus, they protect from glass and other sharp material that might be on the ground. My greyhound, Walker, wears shoes whenever he’s outdoors.


Note: You might want to practice a little at home before taking the booties for a spin. Yes, your dog will probably do a silly walk (a la John Cleese) for awhile, but most dogs will get used to them pretty quickly.

4. Brush your pets before leaving the house. While shaving your dog isn’t always a good idea (especially if she has a double coat), getting rid of excess fur that they’re ready to shed can really help them to stay cool.

5. Listen to your dog. Heavy panting, excessive drooling, dry or pale gums, and deep, rapid breathing can all be signs that your dog is overheating. If this occurs, make sure to take a break, bring your pup to a cool area, and make sure to provide lots of cold water.

Stay safe and cool out there!