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Canine Care Tip Brought to You by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline Team

School will be out soon and summer vacation is coming up! Planning to bring Fido on your family road trip? A little planning ahead will make your trip smoother. Here are a few tips to keep your dog cool and comfortable!

Before your trip:

  • Make sure your dog is comfortable riding in your car, whether he is in a crate, car seat, or car harness. A stressed dog can overheat. Take a few shorter practice trips and praise and reward your dog for riding calmly in the car.
  • Pack extra water in your cooler for your dog. Don’t forget a collapsible travel bowl!
  • Consider purchasing a battery operated fan if your dog rides in the cargo area of your vehicle. Often even multi-zone AC doesn’t reach cargo areas and an extra breeze can help keep your dog cool.
  • Bring a window shade to provide shade for your dog. Direct sunlight, especially on a black dog, can cause your dog to overheat!

During your trip:

  • Take breaks! Plan several stops where you can walk your dog and offer him water. If your dog won’t drink while on the road try adding a small amount of no-sodium chicken broth to encourage him to drink.
  • Be aware of hot asphalt and concrete. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog! Look for a shady place to park at rest stops so your dog can stretch his legs without burning his paws.

Special considerations must be taken for brachycephalic, or short-nosed, dogs, like Pugs, Bulldogs, or Boxers. Dogs cool themselves through panting, with brachycephalic breeds’ short noses and small tracheas they’re unable to pant as effectively. Don’t allow your short-nosed dog to over-exert himself. Limit his activity and try using ice packs or damp towels to keep your short-nosed dog cool.

Remember, car temperatures rise rapidly, even when parked in the shade or with windows open. NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car; the temperature can soar to over one hundred degrees in just a few minutes!

When you join the AKC Canine Partners program, you receive many great care and training tips through the AKC Canine Partners newsletter and the 1-year subscription to AKC Family Dog magazine. For information on joining the AKC Canine Partners community – for ALL dogs including mixed-breeds –


For more information on the AKC GoodDog! Helpline training service: