How well do poodles handle the heat? It’s an important question as summer sets in, and as responsible owners we’ve got to do our best at keeping them cool on those extra hot days.
This article covers the very best ways you can keep your poodle cool in hot weather, and answers some essential questions about their tolerance to heat.
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How Do Poodles Handle Hot Weather?
In general poodles can handle hot weather fairly well, but it gets uncomfortable for them over 22C (71F). At this point it becomes much more important to follow the tips below, and keep your poodle safe.
Is there a difference between standard, miniature, and toy poodles when it comes to hot weather?
It seems like there is, yes. In general large dogs have a harder time cooling down the small dogs. Toy poodles being as small as they are have a higher skin to body ratio than standard poodles. Ultimately this means toy poodles are better able to lose heat and keep cool.
Additionally, poodles do not have double coats and their beautiful locks are able to let a lot of breeze in. This can also contribute to keeping them cool in hot conditions, so long as there’s a breeze!
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9 Ways To Keep Your Poodle Cool In Summer
Let’s run through the best tips to be aware of in order to keep your poodle safe, cool, and comfortable in hot weather.
1. Keep her paws off hot surfaces
The paw pads are very sensitive to temperature and are also the first point of contact to the ground. Walking on hot surfaces can eventually cause your poodle to overheat and feel uncomfortable.
Some surfaces like tarmac, asphalt, and even certain wood can become hot enough to where it will actually burn the bottom of the paw pads. This is extremely painful, will affect mobility, and will require a trip to the vets.
Be sure to consider what surfaces your poodle is frequently walking on, not only in your yard but when out on walks too. Grass and mud are always the best options.
A good rule to remember is that if the ground is too hot to hold your hand on it, it’s too hot for your poodle to walk on.
2. Exercise early morning & late evening
Exercise is so important to your poodle’s overall health that it must continue even throughout the summer months.
And this doesn’t have to be a problem at all. It just requires you to change the timing of your poodle’s daily walks.
Walking your poodle early morning or late evening when the sun is low will be FAR more tolerable and comfortable for your poodle. Early morning walks will be better than late evening walks as the temperature is usually lower.
Be sure to have plenty of breaks, don’t force your poodle to run more than she wants to, and carry with you water and a bowl. Here’s a great bottle/bowl combo.
3. Elevated cooling beds
Perhaps the best investment I’ve made for my dogs is an elevated cooling bed. Sounds fancy, but they really aren’t (and most are affordable).
Cooling beds are made from a lightweight aluminum frame, raised off the floor about 10 inches. They use a perforated trampoline-like mesh as the bed.
As the material is breathable and the bed off the ground, the breeze can wisp underneath and allows your poodle to lay comfortably well expelling body heat from their underbelly.
They are simple, comfortable, and will help your poodle remain cool throughout summer.
4. Put damp towels down in the shade
If your poodle insists on being outside with you in the yard, despite the heat, try encouraging her to lay down on a damp towel that’s kept in the shade.
It only needs to be slightly damp in order to remain cool for a long time, especially if it’s in the shade.
This is a neat little trick I learned while living in the Philippines. Some dogs really take to this, while others may not. But it’s certainly worth a try.
5. Keep her water fresh and accessible
Our dogs don’t drink enough water on their own accord as it is. This issue only worsens in summer.
Remaining hydrated not only will keep your poodle cooler, but will help her to avoid dangerous conditions like heat-stroke, hyperthermia and dehydration.
Keep your poodles water bowl FRESH and topped up with cool clean water. She’ll be more inclined to drink her water if it is cool and doesn’t have gunk in it.
Additionally, ensure she has multiple water bowls throughout the house and outside. If her water is in her sight, she’ll remember to drink more often.
You can even throw in a few ice cubes which will act as a fun game yet will encourage your poodle to drink at the same time. (do this outside though, as it can get messy).
6. Have an accessible “cool room” at all times
One thing that has helped my dogs remain cool, even in the hottest of summers is to have a room in the house that’s kept cool, at all times.
This involves having the AC turned on (if you don’t have AC you can use a cool blower), some kind of fan to create a breeze, and the shades drawn (or use UV blinds).
Having an accessible room that your poodle can retreat to whenever she feels too hot is invaluable.
Unfortunately, we don’t always know how our pooch is feeling, but if she knows the living room is always nice and cool, she can make the decision herself to go there if she wants to.
7. Avoid direct sunshine & midday heat
Many dogs like their fair share of sunbathing, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s reserved for the mornings and evenings only.
Avoiding the midday heat and sunshine is a simple, yet effective way to ensure your poodle remains safe and comfortable.
By keeping your poodle inside between 12-4pm you will dramatically reduce the chances of heatstroke, dehydration, and hyperthermia.
Of course, if your summers are not completely sweltering, you may have extra leeway when it comes to remaining outside in the afternoon.
8. Get a doggy paddling pool
Paddling pools are an awesome way to keep your poodle cool and thoroughly entertained throughout the summer.
You can either use a regular paddling pool or opt for one made for dogs, which tend to have thicker material to prevent their nails from ripping the material.
If this is something you would like to try, it’s a good idea to get yourself a doggy lifejacket and give her a few basic swimming lessons. At first, keep the water shallow until she becomes more comfortable.
And of course, never leave your poodle unattended with a filled paddling pool.
9. Protect your poodle’s nose with balm
If you live in a place where the summers get incredibly hot, it will be necessary to protect your poodle’s nose with some nose balm. The hot weather can dry your poodle’s nose out creating cracks and worse.
Applying nose balm won’t be necessary to do every day, but certainly, 3-4 times per week will help protect her nose from burning and drying out.
It’s best to opt for one that absorbs quickly and only uses natural ingredients, due to the fact that your poodle will likely try licking her nose as soon as the balm is applied! Here’s one of our favorites.
Can You Cut a Poodles Coat In Summer? Will It Help?
As it happens, the advice for many other breeds is to never cut their coat. But with poodles, it’s not so straightforward.
If you want to give your poodle a “summer haircut” that is fine. But just know that this will have little impact on her ability to remain cool. And in some cases, if the coat is cut too short, the result could be sunburn and further overheating.
This is why shaving is NOT recommended. Light hair cuts are fine.
If you already cut her hair then it’s okay to continue as you are, but if you’re considering doing it just to make her “cooler” in summer, it’s likely not going to have the helpful effect you desire.
Why doesn’t cutting help? As poodles only have a single-layered coat, the breeze can access the skin much more easily than most owners think. Not only that, but they are able to expel their body heat through their coat easily too.
If you really want to cut your poodle’s coat, that’s okay, just ensure it remains long enough to protect her skin from the sun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s run through the FAQs on this topic. I will answer each question with a short concise answer.
Do poodles get hot in summer?
Yes, poodles do get hot in summer if they are exposed to direct sunshine and the midday heat. To ensure your poodle remains comfortable and safe in summer, she should avoid the midday heat, remain hydrated, and have access to a cool room.
What temperature is too hot for a poodle?
When the temperature rises above 22C (71F) it will start becoming uncomfortably hot for your poodle. When the temperature rises over 25C (77F) the chances of heatstroke and dehydration are dangerously high. The preferred temperature range is 12C – 17C (52-63F).
When should I exercise my poodle in the summer?
It’s best to exercise your poodle in the early morning or late evening throughout the summertime. Avoiding the midday heat when the sun is at its highest is a must. Exercise needs to continue throughout summer so choosing the correct time of the day becomes very important.
Can I shave my poodle’s coat in summer?
Giving your poodle a light trim in summer is fine, but shaving should be definitely avoided. Shaving your poodle’s coat too close to her skin will allow the sun to penetrate the hair causing sunburn. As poodles have a single-layered coat anyway, haircuts will do little in the way of cooling.
Will my poodle eat less in summer?
It’s entirely possible that warm weather reduces your poodle’s appetite a little. However, there shouldn’t be any drastic changes in appetite and as long as your poodle still receives sufficient exercise, she should continue eating normally throughout summer. Visit your vet if drastic changes in appetite happen suddenly.
Additional resource: Pet MD Avoiding Dehydration Tips
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