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How To Keep a Ridgeback Cool In Summer: 8 Hot Weather Tips

With the rise in temperature, keeping your Ridgeback safe and comfy is paramount. This article will guide you on the heat threshold for a Ridgeback and offer extra pointers to help your pooch stay cool in the summer.

How to keep your Ridgeback cool in summer:

  1. Consider walking surfaces
  2. Avoid midday sun and heat
  3. Actively encourage drinking
  4. Create an accessible “cool room” in the house
  5. Elevated cooling beds
  6. Damp towels to lay on
  7. Ice treats
  8. Get a doggy paddling pool

What Temperature Is Too Hot For a Ridgeback?

Even though Rhodesian ridgebacks have remarkable tolerance to heat (due to their origins in thriving in Africa), they can still get uncomfortable when the mercury level rises dramatically.

The ideal temperature range for a Rhodesian ridgeback is between 55-70F (13-20C). Once the temperature rises above 20C, the chances of dehydration and heatstroke quickly increase. However, all ridgebacks are different, and some tolerate heat better than others.

Of course, it’s necessary to point out that ridgebacks, in general, do handle the heat well. After spending a few centuries thriving in south and central African weather conditions, their temperature regulation is definitely more capable than many other breeds.

Signs Your Ridgeback Is Too Hot

It’s crucial to understand when your ridgeback is getting dangerously hot. Your Rhody will exhibit any of the following signs, and this indicates that he’s already too hot or getting too hot.

Signs your ridgeback is overheating:

Excessive panting (extremely fast and uncontrollable)
His coat and skin are very hot to touch
Bright red gums/tongue
Sticky saliva
Can’t stand up or walk straight
General weakness
Random head shaking
Any other unusual behavior or whining

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to bring your ridgeback to a cooler place and encourage drinking.

When to call a vet:
If your ridgeback can’t stand up, has collapsed, is vomiting, or acting very weird, it’s important to give your veterinarian a call so they can assess your situation and give your further advice over the phone.

8 Ways To Keep Your Ridgeback Cool In Hot Weather

Of course, a better idea is to prevent your ridgeback from overheating in the first place, so let’s run through the following tips to help with that.

  1. Consider walking surfaces
  2. Avoid midday sun and heat
  3. Actively encourage drinking
  4. Create an accessible “cool room” in the house
  5. Elevated cooling beds
  6. Damp towels to lay on
  7. Ice treats
  8. Get a doggy paddling pool

1. Consider walking surfaces

A not-so-obvious tip is to consider the surfaces that your ridgeback walks on. The paws are the first point of contact to the ground and are very sensitive to temperature.

Certain wood, concrete, and asphalt can get hot enough to the point they will burn your Rhody’s paws. This is extremely painful and will require veterinary attention.

Consider the surfaces not just where you go for daily walks, but also in your own yard!

A good rule to remember is that if the ground is too hot to hold your hand on, it’s too hot for his paws too.

2. Avoid midday sun and heat

Another crucial tip is to avoid the midday sunshine and heat. These hours vary depending on your region, but it’s usually around 12-4pm.

Even if your ridgeback enjoys sunbathing, it’s important to keep him in a shaded and cool area during these hours. It’s during these hours that overheating, dehydration, and heatstroke are likely to happen, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

This also goes for when you exercise your Rhody. It’s important to exercise your ridgeback preferably in the morning or late evening when the sun is lower and the temperatures have dropped off.

3. Actively encourage drinking

Unfortunately, our dogs don’t drink enough on their own accord. This is why it’s necessary for us to actively encourage drinking.

Hydration is absolutely crucial in order to properly regulate temperature and cool down. When your ridgeback becomes dehydrated it’s a downwards spiral that escalates quickly. Heatstroke is never far away once dehydration sets in.

Tips to encourage more drinking:
Have multiple water bowls around the house (downstairs, upstairs, outside)
Constantly refresh the water (dogs actually prefer cool water and gunk-free water)
Remind him to drink by ushering him to the water bowl
Place a few ice cubes in his water bowl as a fun hydration game

4. Create an accessible “cool room” in the house

After having looked after many dogs in the tropics, one thing that worked wonders was to have what I call the “cool room” (great imagination there…)

The point of this is to have at least one room in the house that your ridgeback can always access, whether you are in or not, and is always cool (below 65F/18C).

This can be achieved by keeping the A/C turned on, have a cool air blower, ceiling fan, or even just by using UV-blocking blinds to prevent the sun’s direct heat from entering.

This was a lifesaver for my dogs. Whenever they felt too hot themselves, they knew exactly where to go to cool down.

5. Elevated cooling beds

If you don’t already have one of these for your ridgeback, I highly recommend it be your next purchase!

These are fantastic for dogs, and will quickly become your ridgeback’s favorite place to lay down.

Elevated cooling beds are usually made from a lightweight aluminum frame, with a simple perforated material as the bedding (similar to trampoline material). The bed is raised up from the floor about 6-10 inches.

These beds allow the breeze to wisp underneath while allowing your Rhody to expel his body heat via the breathable material. These beds are comfortable, durable, lightweight, and are easily moved.

6. Damp towels to lay on

If you’re spending a day in the yard, lying a few damp towels down in the shade will be the perfect laying surface for your ridgeback.

If he’s a little confused and resistant to lay on the wet towel, offer him a few treats there and put a couple of his toys down on the matt. This will let him know this towel is “his” to lay on.

This is a great way to keep your ridgeback cool while still out in the yard. And remember, it’s always best to keep him in the shade if possible.

7. Ice treats

To provide some instant relief from the heat, you can opt for some frozen treats instead of his normal treats. The good news, these are super easy to make.

You can try frozen bananas or frozen carrots (just keep the carrots large and whole to avoid choking hazards).

You can also infuse ice cubes with meat stock, piece of kibble, his usual treats, or dog friendly peanut butter.

All of these treats won’t necessarily last a long time, but they will certainly give him a cool kick right when he might need it.

8. Get a doggy paddling pool!

There’s no better way to entertain your ridgeback and keep him cool at the same time than a doggy paddling pool.

Whether you get one big enough to swim, or one just to splash and play around in, your ridgeback will have a blast.

Of course, you’ll need to take it slow, give him a few swimming lessons, and don’t leave him alone unsupervised around a body of water.

Here’s a good option on Amazon.

Last thoughts

Keeping your ridgeback cool and comfortable in summer shouldn’t be too difficult. All you need is a little advanced planning and to implement some of the tips given above.

Although ridgebacks do have a good tolerance of heat due to their history, this shouldn’t be relied upon. No ridgeback is invincible. Dehydration and heatstroke are not things to take lightly and can make your Rhody very sick.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out more articles here

Additional Info PetMD Summer Safety Guide for Dogs


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.