Ahh summer, a time of year full of BBQs and beaches. Longer days spent outside soaking up some much needed vitamin D. That hot weather is amazing, especially after a cold winter.

summer, beach, dogsSummer is unfortunately also the time of sun burns and heat stroke. This is especially true if you are traveling in a van with three dogs and no air conditioning. Your pup feels that heat too, maybe even more so than you.

These pups add nearly endless rewards in our life. They encourage us to see and stop more and they are our most loyal companions. But, they are also horrible hinderers.

While they are incredibly worth it, summer time is hard with dogs. When it is hot you will see all five us curled up under a tree trying to get some shade.

Here’s a list of our tried and tested ways to keep the dogs safe and cool. Well, cooler.

  1. Seek out air conditioning

If you are like us and your camper/home does not have air conditioning finding some air 


conditioning is a great option. While you won’t be able to stay long, even just a short trip to air conditioning so the pups can reset works wonders.

This isn’t an easy task as most stores have no pet policies. Check for pet friendly signs, or more often just check that there is not a “no dogs” sign.

While it is typically based location to location, some of our favourite air conditioned pet friendly stores are:

  • Canadian Tire
  • Any pet store
  • Walmart (only some and in our experience only the ones in America)
  • Barnes & Noble → read for hours and keep your dog cool, yes please!
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Michaels
  • Macy’s
  • Anthropologie
  • Old Navy

You may also like: Epic Road Trips: 8 Stops You Need To Make When Traveling Through BC

  1. Grooming

Uhh that constant battle! Imagine a small area and 3 shedding beasts (well 2).

Needless to say we brush constantly. If you have a dog that sheds I am about to give you the best advice you will EVER get.

Invest in a Furminator

Seriously, I bought ours about 5 years ago and I still can’t sing enough praises about it. Not only does it keep our house way cleaner, it keep our pups worlds cooler.

This brush may look mean but trust me – it will change your life. It helps get the dog’s undercoat as well which makes them way cooler. In the summer when it gets hot we have to brush our dogs way more, up to about 2-3 times a week.

Luckily it doesn’t take too long and our dogs act like they’re at the spa enjoying every second.

  1. Shopping

One of the hardest parts about living in the van with dogs is that there is no where to put them when we want to go do stuff. From shopping to sightseeing these little buggers can definitely be restricting.

Our van is our home and with that we know everything about it, including how hot it can get when it is all closed up. We also know how to combat this with windows open and parking under shade.

dog, beach, sand, sunWe (well Myles) is a risk taker and basically just brings the dogs in everywhere and waits to see if someone complains. It seems to work for us as we have only ever been stopped once. The only thing is that you obviously can’t do this with places that have or serve food, except weirdly Walmart.

It is only safe to leave your pups in the car when it’s cool outside. Oftentimes this will mean in the late evenings. No matter how cool it is, we open almost every window in the house. There are blankets for them to crawl under if they’re too cold.

When we just run in for a quick item we make sure the house is set up properly including a full bowl of water. It is essential to park under a tree in nearly every parking lot regardless of the temperature. .

We are those weird dog parents that think our dogs would rather have a chance at seeing a squirrel than stare at a brick wall.

We have heard so many horrible horror stories of people leaving their poor dog in a car in the heat. This really shouldn’t be a thought anymore.

  1. Haircuts

While this only applies to one of our dogs and getting her shaved is a summer essential. Oddly our smallest dog, a Chihuahua cross, has the least tolerance to heat. In the summer we face a constant battle to keep her cool.

Getting her shaved makes the world of a difference. Cutting the area around her mouth and stomach is the most important. Being a Chihuahua, Yorkie, Maltese cross her hair doesn’t actually get that long or thick but she still can’t handle the extra bulk.

Pro Tip: If your dog has a nice coat that you don’t want to cut, try just cutting their stomach. You won’t be able to tell and they will be able to put their bare stomach against a cool ground.


  1. Wet your pet

An obvious choice but man, so useful. In summertime we typically have a spray bottle that we use to soak our pups, 

especially their stomachs. They actually don’t mind getting wet for the most part but even when they do, they feel noticeably better afterwards.

We try to do all our walks and hikes in the morning time so they stay cool with much success. Sticking near rivers and lakes we try to throw our dogs in even if they don’t want to. This brings their core temperature down and helps them to cool off quicker.

Do you have any summer tricks for keeping cool that we missed? Let us know in the comment section below.



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