Find safe and fun ways to work and train your dog in the heat!

Halo and Lucy take a dip at a recent BowWow PowWow to cool off.

Halo and Lucy take a dip at a recent BowWow PowWow to cool off.

The Canine Center offers shaded and breezy outdoor training areas for you and your dog.  We have water troughs for the dogs to cool off in as well. You might even see a Canine Center trainer or client taking a dip alongside the dogs!  We may also hold some private lessons and small classes in our indoor “Real life room” if necessary and available.  We also offer summer hikes, in the cooler parts of the day, and most hikes offer water access for the dogs.  Another fun class is kayaking with your dog, which is taught several times a month on Lady Bird Lake.

Here are some additional tips to get you and your dog safe for the Texas Summer

swamp cooler

Swamp Cooler by Ruff Wear


  • If possible, get your dog wet before beginning any outdoor training or exercise. This helps keep them from getting too hot in the first place
  • Re-cool frequently with wet, even frozen, towels, or use water bottles and another dip in the water.
  • Consider purchasing a Canine Cooling Vest such as the Swamp Cooler from Ruff Wear.


  • Keep dogs and people hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Add electrolytes if exercising in the heat
  • If your dog isn’t drinking, consider baiting the water with canned food, treats or tuna juice.

Asphalt is HOT.  Especially on dog paws. Keep your dog from lingering on paved roads and avoid walking on them when possible.  Dirt and grass trails stay cooler on the pup’s feet.  If in doubt, test it with your hand and remember they are putting ALL of their weight onto that paw too.

To Cut or Not to Cut? Do your breed research to find out how you can help your dog stay cool.

  • Some dogs have coats that reflect the sun’s rays. If shaved, your dog may have a higher risk of sun burn and will need added precautions when outdoors. Examples: Huskys, Goldens, Chows and Shepherds.
  • Other breeds do better with a “summer cut.” Examples: Poodles, Spaniels, etc.
  • If your dog has exposed skin or a very short coat, consider a dog safe sunscreen. Avoid zinc oxide as it is toxic for dogs if ingested.
  • A light colored wet t-shirt can be both cooling and prevent sun exposure.

Our dogs also get bit by those annoying summer mosquitos, chiggers, gnats and other bugs.

  • DO NOT use DEET or DEET Products on our dogs per The ASPCA Poison Control Center
  • DO USE products containing natural insect repellent.  Cutter Natural and Taspen’s Organic Insect Repellent Oil may be good options for your dog.

Dogs have difficult cooling themselves with temp over 90 degrees.

Early signs of HEAT EXHAUSTION include:

  • rapid breathing,
  • heavy panting & salivation,
  • fatigue,
  • muscle tremors, and staggering.
  • The dog’s tongue will be long and wide (like a bell) in attempt to cool more surface area. The tongue may begin to turn purple.

What to do?

  • Take the dog to a cool, shady place or indoors and apply wet towels or cloths to help cool the dog’s body down.
  • Try to give the dog small amounts of water.

Progression to HEAT STROKE in dogs: 

  • Rapid, sometimes frantic, excessive panting.
  • Tongue and mucus membranes are bright red and the saliva is thick,
  • Vomiting and sometimes diarrhea that can be bloody,
  • Unsteady, staggering gait.
  • Nose and ears dry and hot to the touch,
  • Body (rectal) temperature is 104 degrees or higher.

What to Do?

  • Immerse your dog in cool NOT icy cold water.
  • Use a garden hose or bucket to cool the undersides including the groin and arm pits.
  • Use a wet towel or bandana to cool underside if a hose is unavailable
  • Pack ice in wet towels and use on underside and head to help cool dog.


Kayak Class with The Canine Center at Lady Bird Lake

Kayak Class with The Canine Center at Lady Bird Lake

  • Walk or Hike a trail with water access for dogs. Lady Bird Lake, Bull Creek, Turkey Creek and St. Edwards are just a few.  Be sure to pay attention to the leash rules!
  • Do your training indoors! Austin is extremely pet friendly and many local stores allow dogs inside.  Home Depot, Lowes, the Container Store are just a few.
  • Take a Kayak class with The Canine Center
  • Train in the early morning or late evening

The Canine Center will cancel most group classes if the temperature is at/over 100 degrees at the start of class (or there is a heat index of 104+) for safety reasons. We are sometimes able to delay the start of evening classes, but your trainer will contact you if this is the case.

If in doubt, call your vet and BE SAFE!

DEET and Dogs
ASPCA Offers Hot Weather Tips
Cutter Natural Insect Repellent
Taspen’s Natural Insect Repellent Oil
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest