How to Cool Down a Dog in a Car

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 06/01/22 •  4 min read
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How to Cool Down a Dog in a Car

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When the weather warms, many of us aspire to travel with our pets. We want to take them on long road trips and ensure they are included in all our greatest adventures. 

The issue, however, is that dogs are susceptible to higher temperatures – especially when traveling in a car or camper. They can fall ill from heat-related illnesses very quickly, so it is best to take the proper precautions to ensure this does not happen. 

When it comes to pet travel, there are a few things you can do to make sure your dog is kept cool in your car for miles to come. For example, Ruff Rugs Pet Cargo Liners offer custom cargo liners that will keep hot, shedding dogs from leaving hair everywhere. Ready to learn more? Let’s take a deeper dive into some tried and true cooling strategies. 

Cooling Accessories 

Luckily, you can purchase quite a few accessories that can help keep your dog cool while traveling. Cooling vests and collars, for instance, are a great way to prevent heatstroke. 

Additionally, cooling vests come in many different colors and styles to suit your preferences. You can purchase one that your dog can step into or one that wraps around them for an easy on/off solution. 

The cooling vest is soaked in water and kept in a resealable bag in the freezer. When your dog gets hot, all you must do is take it out and strap it on. Within minutes, your dog will feel much cooler. 

A cooling towel, bandana, or collar work in the same way except they are designed to go around your dog’s neck. Each of these accessories will help to keep your dog cool and prevent heat-related ailments while on the road. 

Regular Hydrating 

You must keep your dog well hydrated while traveling in the car. As they get hot and pant, they need to replenish the water they are losing from their bodies. Dogs drink a lot of water in the car! 

It is best to keep a dog bowl in your vehicle so you can give your dog water whenever you make stops. Many different types of collapsible bowls fold up for quick and easy access and are easy to store. Non-spill bowls are also available on the market if you prefer to keep your dog’s water bowl filled while driving. This will help to ensure they always have access to water with minimal spillage. 

Window Shades

Another strategy for keeping your dog cool while traveling in the car is to invest in some window shades. You may have seen these used for babies or small children traveling in the back seat. The same principle applies to pets. 

There are many different types of window shades on the market that can be purchased and used in the car. They typically have suction cups that attach securely to your vehicle’s window. This helps to reduce glare and minimize the amount of sunlight that is coming through which helps keeps your car cool. 

Air Conditioning 

When it comes to pet travel, using your air conditioner can be a lifesaver. When driving, make sure all your windows are rolled up and turn your air conditioner on high. Be sure the vents are directed toward your dog, so they feel the airflow from where they are positioned. 

If your car does not have a reliable air conditioning system, you can always purchase a portable air conditioner unit to use on your dog while driving. They sell pet-specific units that can be used in conjunction with water. Before turning it on, you can add some water, so the unit blows the chilled, moist air onto your dog. This will help to keep them cool. 


Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious and potentially life-threatening issues that can cause a lot of problems for your dog. 

Even if the outside temperature feels cool and comfortable to us, it can feel much hotter for your dog. This is especially true of the temperature within your car. 

As you plan your travels with your pet, it is wise to think ahead and equip your vehicle with the resources needed to keep your dog cool. Cooling towels, cooling collars, bottled water, a water bowl, and window shades can help. Making sure your air conditioner is in working order before hitting the road can be a good thing to do, too. 

When it comes to pet travel, planning is instrumental in ensuring a safe, healthy, and happy trip for you and your dog. 

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!