How Hair Keeps Dogs Cool; Does Length and Colour Matter?

When the sunny days of summer start to crank up the heat, walking around in a fur coat starts to sound like a ridiculous plan. However, this thinking applies to humans more than it does to dogs. How does dog fur/hair keep them cool?

Dog fur works as an insulator. Most dog breeds have two layers of fur. During the winter, it works to trap heat, and during the summer, it works to trap cold. The length does not influence the insulation very much. However, black dogs may get hotter in sunlight due to black absorbing more sunlight.

There are still ways to help dogs keep cool in the summer. Read on to find out how to keep your pet happy and healthy in the summer heat!

Dog fur layers and how it affects body temperature

Most dog breeds have two layers: an undercoat and a top coat.

The undercoat is shorter and softer. This layer provides insulation for dogs. During the winter, it traps any heat it can get ahold of, and during the summer, it holds coolness.

However, in order for them to trap coolness or warmth, they must first be around some. Keeping dogs out in the heat all day will cause them to overheat, and leaving them outside all winter will cause them to freeze.

The top layer of fur is known as the guard coat. This layer of fur is typically longer and thicker than the dog’s undercoat. The purpose of the guard coat is to provide additional protection. Whereas the undercoat is used to retain, the top coat is used to repel.

The top coat keeps away water, dirt, and bugs that may try to bite the poor little pup. By protecting the dog from dirt, the guard coat can also prevent any injuries from getting infected.

Dog fur length

For dogs with double-layered coats, it is not recommended to shave them in the summer. A good trim can be healthy for a dog, but shaving them takes away many of their natural defences.

The obvious choice is to shave a fluffy dog to help them stay cool, just like taking a sweater off of an overheating child. But, that should be avoided; instead, your dog should get a trim if the veterinarian advises.

If you have any questions about shaving, trimming and grooming for your pet, you should call your vet! 

I remember with my Siberian Huskies that we got a couple of comments that we should shave them to cool them down, but I explained to them that it is dangerous to do that, and their summer coat actually helps to keep them cool and protects their skin!

If your dog gets a good trim regularly, then you may not need to worry. But, you can consider booking an extra one or two appointments with the groomers over the summer so that your dog has shorter hair for longer.

You can also get a comb or brush meant for brushing out all the sheddings in your dog’s hair. Getting this out can help your dog be cooler in warm months because it takes the thickness out and helps them have less hair to carry on them.

Furminator Pet Hair Brush
My Furminator Pet Hair Brush

My favourite brush that I use is the Furminator. In my opinion, it is the best brush I have used in terms of reaching the undercoat. I loved it for my Siberian Huskies and the three ragdoll cats I have now. The last Siberian we had was so hairy and fluffy that we called her Wooly!

You can find the Furminator on Amazon, and you can choose different sizes depending on the size of your pet and the fur length!

Keeping dogs cool in the summer can be helped by regular brushing. When the dog fur isn’t brushed out, it can start to clump together and prevent the dog from cooling off.

Below is a post I wrote about using the Furminator along with why dogs shed so much after a bath. Keeping your dog free of excess hair can really help them in those summer months!

Read Now: Why Dogs Shed So Much After Bath; Causes, When to Furminate

Dog fur colour

The colour of your dog’s hair can impact its temperature during the heat.

Darker colours absorb more heat than lighter colours. So, if your dog has black or dark brown hair, then your dog may feel more heat outside compared to another dog with golden or white hair.

You can make sure that you don’t go outside during the hottest points of the day, which may be easy since who wants to go outside when it’s blazing hot? I am definitely a shade girl!

It would be best if you went outside with your dog in the morning or the evening. That way, it is cooler out, and the sunlight won’t be hitting your dog’s hair, making your dog hotter. If you need to go out in the peak of day, try to make it as short as possible.

Other ways dogs cool down

There are many products to help your dog while it is hot. You can get a dog water bottle (Amazon link) that you can take with you on walks and whoever you go during the heat. Your dog will need to be hydrated, so getting this may be great for your dog.

When it is hot out, avoid clothing and outfits on your dog. Clothing will insulate the heat and keep your dog hot when your dog wants to cool off.

Instead, let your dog not wear clothing, and that will help them have the ability to get wet. If you have a pool or walk by a sprinkler, you can let your dog jump in a cool off. Your dog will enjoy it, and you will be more open to it if your dog isn’t risking that sweater getting wet too.

However, you may want to take care of and dry off your dog well to avoid the wet dog smell.

If you want to learn more about the wet dog smell, I wrote an entire post about it. I know I hated the smell when I had dogs and looked up everything on how to prevent it and get rid of it, especially after taking the dogs for a walk while it was raining.

Read Now: Why Do Dogs Smell So Bad in the Rain? Stop Wet Dog Smell

If you want to go out for a walk, you need to place your hand on the pavement and try to hold it there. If you can not last very long, the ground is too hot for your dog’s paws. It would help if you tried summer dog shoes (Amazon link)Opens in a new tab. for your dog’s paws.

The dog shoes linked will protect against the heat while being breathable simultaneously, and it will help them avoid injuries especially burns.

Another product that you and your dog will love in the summer is a portable fanOpens in a new tab.. You can get a handheld one that you can point at your face and that you can point down at your dog.

Taking little breaks in the shade with a fan and some water is perfect for keeping cool on your walks.

Another way to keep your dog cool is by getting a pet bed raiser (Amazon link)Opens in a new tab. or a cooling bed pad (Amazon link)Opens in a new tab.. A bed raiser can help get the air circulated around the dog so they do not get overheated.

At night, your dog bed can be placed on top of the bed raiser, and it can help keep them cool, but the bed raiser of its own is comfortable and cool if they prefer it that way.

The cooling bed pad is great because it can stay cold while your pet is on it. So, your dog can lounge on it during the day and remain cool all through the night. It is excellent, and you can combine the bed raise with the cooling pad for the ultimate lounge bed. I am getting jealous now!

Not everyone runs A/C over the summer, so doing this can give your dog a lot of comforts that they wouldn’t typically have for months at a time.

I hope you have found this information helpful and helps keep your pup cool!

Holly 🙂


Hi! My name is Holly. I am currently the fur mom to my beautiful three ragdoll cats, and I have owned multiple dogs over the years, including Siberian Huskies! To say the least I am experienced with all aspects of pet hair!

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