Hot Tips for Hounds: Getting ready for Travelling and Training this Summer

Welcome to Hounds and Helis!

As a dedicated dog lover, you understand the joy and adventure that comes with training your dog in Mantrailing and other Search and Rescue (SAR) skills. However, with the likely rise in temperatures over the summer, it's crucial to prioritise your canine's health in hot weather..

In this blog post, we'll explore some essential tips and advice for working and traveling with your dog in the heat, ensuring that both you and your K9 partner enjoy a safe and productive training calendar this summer. Heat stroke prevention for your dog, should be your top priority during any outdoor summer dog training.

Cooling fan for dogs

First of all, dogs generally have a higher normal body temperature than humans. While the average human body temperature is around 98.6°F (37°C), a dog's normal body temperature ranges from 100.5°F to 102.5°F (38.1°C to 39.2°C). It's important for us to be aware of this difference, especially when considering the impact of heat on our dogs. Now, let's dive into some tips and advice for working and traveling with your dog in the heat.

Canine Hydration

Just like us, dogs need to stay well-hydrated, especially in warmer weather. Always bring a water bowl with you for the car and a collapsible water bowl when you’re training and a sufficient supply of fresh water. 

Did you know that in people, studies have shown that dehydration as low as 2% can result in cognitive impairment and fatigue. We can assume that there may be a similar affect for our working dogs. Hydration is important for their physical health but also for their training.

For the past few years, I have used Oralade when out training my dogs in warm weather. Oralade is chicken flavour rehydration drink for dogs and is full of electrolytes and nutrients for rapid hydration. A 500ml bottle can cost approx. €9. I’ll mix the 500ml bottle of Oralade with 500ml of water. The chicken flavour will encourage the dogs to drink more, staying hydrated while the electrolytes and amino acids will replenish my dog’s energy levels. You can pick up Oralade from your vet or any online pet shop.

Time Your Training Wisely

Plan your training sessions during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Avoid strenuous training activities during the peak heat hours to prevent heat-related issues. Adjust your training schedule to ensure both you and your dog can perform at your best without the risk of overheating.

Dogs Need Sun Protection Too

In Hounds and Helis, we teach our dogs to take breaks on the trail. This is an essential part of working trails over long distances or in warm weather. During these breaks your dogs will rest, take a drink, cool down, allow their heart rate to lower, their breathing to steady, all while keeping the focused on getting back to work. 

Dog Travel Tips

In your vehicle, provide a cool environment for them to wait between trails. Car Sunshades are ideal for keeping the suns heat out of your car when travelling and Aluminium Foil Sunshades for you front and rear wind screen are perfect for ensuring your car stays cool when you park. Get the shades with suction cups so they will securely stay in place, ensuring your dog has a cool and restful space is essential for their overall well-being.

Cooling Fan for dogs

An additional tip for keep your dog cool in the car between trails is to invest in a fan. Battery operated/rechargeable fans are readily available online. They can attach onto your dog’s crate or hang from the hook over the back door. For the best effect, bring along some frozen bottles of water. Place these in front of the fan or near the dog for cool air to circulate over your dog as the water defrosts slowly over the day.  

Paw Pad Protection

Hot roads and footpaths can cause paw pad burns, leading to discomfort and potential injuries for your dog. Before hitting the road, touch the pavement with your hand. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws. Opt for early morning or late evening training and consider dog booties for added protection.

Dog Grooming in Summer

Maintain your dog's coat appropriately for the season. Regular brushing helps remove excess fur, promoting better air circulation and preventing overheating. However, avoid shaving your dog's coat too short, as it can reduce their natural sun protection.

Cooling Products for Dogs

These do work! One item I won’t leave house without when training my dogs in warm weather is my Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest. Both my dogs wear theirs underneath their working harness/jacket as a dog cooling vest. How does it work? The light-coloured fabric reflects solar radiation and provides shading while wetting the vest activates the Swamp Cooler™ Tech for that refreshing, just-stepped-out-of-a-lake feeling also known as evaporative cooling. When we get back to the car, I just give it a soak, and put in back on the dog to recharge it. 

Invest in cooling vests, bandanas, or mats designed for dogs. These products can provide relief from the heat by regulating your dog's body temperature. Wet towels or cooling gel pads are also effective tools to cool down your pup during breaks.

As you continue on the exciting Mantrailing and Air Scent journey over the summer months it's crucial to be prepared. Invest in these items now and incorporate these tips into your training and travel routine and you'll ensure a positive and safe experience for both you and your dog companion. Remember, do some research into dog first aid in the heat.

Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy the incredible bond you share with amazing dog.

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I personally use and believe will add value to my readers. 


Mantrailing Instructor Eadaoin O'Gorman

Hounds and Helis was born from a deep passion & respect for dogs. Founder Éadaoin has worked extensively with dogs as a Puppy Foster Care Supervisor for the AADI and an Operational Search and Rescue Dog Handler Éadaoin is a qualified Mantrailing Instructor and runs regular workshops and seminars specialising in Mantrailing, Airscent and Cadaver Training. 

Follow Éadaoin  and her canine adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

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