How Clothing Can Prevent Overheating and Sunburn

When the summer sun starts shining, we’re not the only ones who want to leap into the fun – our dogs do, too. But just like people, dogs can get hit hard by the heat, ending up with nasty sunburns or even overheating. Did you know that a simple dog shirt could actually keep your pup safe and comfy? We’re going to break down how summer gear for dogs isn’t just adorable—it’s also smart protection. Let’s get into how these nifty outfits work and how they can help your pet beat the heat and enjoy the sunny days right alongside you.

Dachshunds in Waffle Striped Dog Shirts

Dachshunds in Waffle Striped Dog Shirts

1. What’s the Deal with Dog Clothes for Summer?

When you think of dressing up your dog, it might seem like just a cute way to get some aww-worthy pics for your social media. The right kind of dog clothes can be a game-changer for dogs when the heat is on. We’re not talking about those thick winter sweaters – summer dog gear is all about being lightweight and breathable.

Blocking the Burn with Threads

It’s not just about looking good in a summer bandana; these dog clothes can be beneficial to fending off those harsh UV rays. Just like you’d slap on a shirt to protect your skin from getting fried, the right doggy wear helps keep your pup’s skin shielded from the sun.Read more: benefits of UV shirts for dogs.

Shih Tzu in a Summer Flamingos Dog DressInstagram: wakanda_shihtzu


Keep It Breezy

Now, the thought of putting dog clothes on your pet in the heat might have you scratching your head. But hear this out: we’re talking fabrics that let the air flow. These aren’t your ordinary textiles; they’re made to let your dog’s fur breathe while deflecting the sun. Imagine it like your dog wearing its own personal shade tree. So yeah, dogs can rock that cool shirt or dress and still stay chill, even when it’s baking outside.

2. When’s the Best Time to Dress Up Your Dog in Summer?

Dog clothes in summer might sound as odd as wearing sunglasses at night, but there are moments when your pup’s wardrobe can be more about function than fashion. Knowing when to pull out those doggie tees and shirts is all about timing and situation.For a comprehensive look at how to manage the temperature in your home for your dog's comfort, see our article: Is the temperature in your home too hot for your dog?

Maltese in a UV Sun Protection Dog ShirtInstagram: popcorn_desiderio


Situations Where Dog Clothes Shine

Think of those scorching midday walks – this is prime time for a light-colored, breathable shirt that reflects the sun rather than absorbs it. Heading to a sunny beach or park? That’s a perfect opportunity for a doggie hat and other UV-protective gear. And if your area’s sidewalks could fry an egg (or even just feel hot to the touch), dog booties can protect your pooch’s paws from getting scorched.

Mix and Match Cooling Tactics

Dressing your dog up is just one piece of the cool-down puzzle. Got an active breed? There are specially designed harnesses that can help wick away heat while still letting you keep control during those energizing runs or hikes.

Frenchie in a Striped Dog ShirtInstagram: mochi_sushi_melton


3. Can Pooches Really Pull Off Summer Outfits?

When you see a dog decked out in a cute summer outfit, it’s easy to think, “Isn’t dog burning up in that?” But hold onto your leashes, because it’s time to untangle some of those myths and get the real scoop on dogs in duds when the sun’s blazing.

Clearing Up the Dog Clothes Confusion

First off, there’s this idea floating around that all dog clothes are bad for dogs in the heat. Not true! The key is the type and fit of the dog clothing. Light, loose, and breathable fabrics can actually help shield your dog from the sun without turning them into a furry furnace. Think of it like their own personal shade tent.

Dog in a Summer Watermelon Dog DressInstagram: all_cali_cuteness


Overheating: A Legit Worry or Overblown?

Sure, dogs can overheat in summer clothes—if they’re made of thick material, fit too tight, or cover too much of their body. But as long as you’re choosing the right kind of apparel and keeping an eye out for any signs of discomfort (like excessive panting or restlessness), your pup can stay both stylish and cool.

4. Is Sunscreen a Must for Your Dog?

Yes. While it might seem a bit out there, slathering sunscreen on your dog before a day at the beach or park, it’s not just humans that need protection from those sneaky UV rays. Especially for dogs with thinner coats or lighter skin, sunscreen is a serious helper in keeping them safe from sunburn.

Maltipoo in a Cheerleader Dog DressInstagram: minniepennyb

Picking the Right Potion for Your Pooch

Big no-no: grabbing whatever sunscreen you use for yourself and putting it on your pup. Some ingredients in human sunscreens can be harmful to dogs if they lick it off. Instead, look for products specifically formulated for pets—they’re made to be safe even if ingested in small amounts. These dog-friendly sunblocks are usually fragrance-free, offer broad-spectrum protection, and don’t contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), both of which can be toxic to dogs.

Slather Strategies for Dog’s Fur

Applying sunscreen on your dog may sound like a recipe for a mess, but it’s pretty simple with the right approach. Focus on areas that are exposed to the sun the most—like the nose, ears, belly, and anywhere the fur is thinner. A quick dab here and there, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you do this about 15 minutes before venturing outdoors so it has time to sink in. And reapply after swimming or if your buddy is a serial roller in the grass.

Italian Greyhound in a Denim Sunflower Dog DressInstagram: iggychelseaandme


The Bottom Line

Throwing on a light shirt for dogs isn’t just about making him the most stylish pooch at the park—it’s about keeping him cool and protected from those harsh sun rays. Not all pups are fans of fashion, and hey, that’s okay. If your dog’s giving you the “no way” vibes with clothes, there’s always a shady spot and a chilly treat to do the trick. Just remember, whether it’s with some neat dog clothes or plenty of water and shade, helping our pets stay comfy in the summer is what it’s all about. Keep it breezy, keep it safe, and have fun in the sun!


Q1: Do all dogs need summer clothes, or are some breeds okay without them?

While not all dogs need clothes in the summer, some breeds with thin coats or light-colored skin are more prone to sunburn. Breeds like French Bulldogs, Pugs, Chihuahuas, and Boston Terriers, for example, might benefit from a light shirt or dress.

Q2: What materials should I look for in dog summer clothing to prevent overheating?

Look for dog clothes made of lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton or a cotton blend. These materials allow air circulation and help keep your dog cool. Avoid heavy fabrics or dark colors that can retain heat.

Maltipoo in a Summer Striped Dog DressInstagram: minniepennyb

Q3: Can dog clothes really prevent sunburn?

Yes, they can! Much like clothing for humans, dog clothes can shield your dog’s skin from harmful rays. It’s especially helpful for dogs with short fur or those who have had haircuts for the summer.

Q4: How do I know if my dog is getting too hot in their clothes?

Keep an eye on their behavior. If your dog seems lethargic, is panting heavily, or is trying to remove their clothes, it may be time to take off the outfit. Always ensure that the clothes fit properly and that your dog has plenty of water and shade.

Q5: Is it safe to put human sunscreen on my dog?

Generally, no. Sunscreen formulated for humans often contains ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. Always use a pet-safe sunscreen for your furry friend.

Maltipoo in an Athleisure Dog DressInstagram: baileythequarendoggo

Q6: How often should I apply pet-safe sunscreen to my dog?

Apply it about every two hours, or as indicated on the product instructions—especially if your dog is swimming or very active outdoors. Just like with humans, reapplication is key for continued protection.

Q7: What if my dog absolutely refuses to wear clothes?

Not all dogs are comfortable wearing clothes, and that’s okay. Focus on other ways to keep them cool, like providing shade, offering frozen treats, and keeping exercise sessions during cooler parts of the day.