In summertime, our dog’s diet may naturally change in response to the heat and summer activities. We can care for our furry friends best when we help them cool down, stay hydrated, well-nourished, and keep them safe from summer dangers like heat stroke in dogs. Not sure if your dog’s winter diet is the right one for summer too? Get some tips on the best foods for dogs in summer (and even an ice cream recipe) below!

Summer nutrition tips for dogs

First, let’s go over the basic tips you need to know about your dog’s diet in the warmer months:

  • Consider serving up lighter, fresher meals in summer – just like us, dogs tend to eat less in warmer months.
  • Add some wet food to your dog’s diet to up their water intake and stimulate their appetite.
  • Don’t leave your dog’s dinner out for too long – hot temperatures makes food go bad faster (and bacteria grow more quickly). Your dog could get an upset stomach eating old or spoiled food.
  • Incorporate fresh, raw, and cooling foods to your dog’s diet in summer, like fresh fruit.
  • Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times – they’ll need more water in summertime. Find out how much water your dog really needs.
  • Give your dog water that water is cool or room temperature – not ice cold. Cold water can be a shock to a dog’s system in the heat of summer.
  • Don’t forget to bring that water with you on a walk or trip.
  • Feed your dog foods that have a high water content, like watermelon or cucumber.
  • Change up mealtimes to the cooler times of day – early morning and night rather than a big meal in the middle of the day.
  • Place your dog’s food in a cool or shady spot – indoors ideally.

Do dogs eat less in summer?

Many pet parents find that their dogs eat much less in summer. This should not be a cause for concern – as long as your dog is still eating and isn’t showing any signs of illness. If your dog stops eating completely, take them to the vet asap.

That said, it’s natural for a dog’s appetite to decrease in hot summer months. First of all, high temperatures tend to make your dog less active – they may feel like lying around to stay cool and avoid heat exhaustion. So they will need less calories, since they’re using less energy. Also, it’s easier to stay warm in summer than winter, so this is another reason why your dog needs less calories. Plus, sometimes they may just feel too hot to be interested in their food.

black, white, and brown dog running on the beach with ocean in the background

Luckily, you can tempt your dog to eat with these tasty summer foods for dogs.

Best summer foods for dogs

Just like us, our furry friends will appreciate light, fresh, delicious and nutritious summer foods. You can choose to feed your dog a mostly raw diet, or opt for processed wet or dry food for convenience. Feed your dog a blend of proteins and carbohydrates in summertime, and avoid feeding them anything too fatty.

The best summer foods for dogs are:

  • nutritious
  • cooling
  • hydrating
  • delicious

Besides protein, fruit and vegetables are always good options to opt for in summertime, if your dog can digest them. Watch out for these foods which are toxic to dogs.

Read more: What Vegetables Are Good For Dogs?

Cooling foods for dogs

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, some foods have cooling properties (yin energy) whereas other foods have warming properties (yang energy)1. In the summertime, you can feed your canine friend dog-friendly cooling foods to help them stay cool when temperatures are high.

Some example of cooling foods for dogs are:

  • Meat & fish: turkey, duck, duck eggs, rabbit, pork, white fish, ocean fish
  • Eggs & dairy: eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt
  • Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, turnip, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, swiss chard, brussel sprouts, green beans
  • Fruit: strawberry, melon, cranberry, banana, mango, apple, pear
  • Herbs & greens: dandelion, kelp, seaweed, spiruline, wheat grass, peppermint, chlorella, alfalfa sprouts, majoram
  • Mushrooms: button mushrooms,
  • Grains: buckwheat, barley, wild rice, millet
  • Other: tofu, sesame and flaxseed oil

Keep in mind, the cooling benefits of these foods will be higher if they are fed raw or lightly cooked, as the cooking process can destroy certain properties of foods. However, not all foods can be served raw to dogs and some raw foods might cause an upset stomach – brussel sprouts should be cooked for example. Do further research or ask your vet before adding a new food to your dog’s diet. And always start out slow by giving your dog only a small amount of the new food.

metal scoop of dry dog food sitting on the floor near a dog food bowl

Dry food, wet food, cooked food, raw food: what’s best for dogs in summer?

While dry dog food is really convenient, it’s not necessarily the best for your dog’s health. Dry food is highly-processed, making it less nutritious than raw foods, and it’s also warming, according to holistic veterinarian Dr. Wagner2.

In summer it’s best to give your dog raw foods or cook them lightly. Avoid giving your dog ice-cold foods, as these can be hard on your pup’s digestion.

Water, water water

In summertime, not only can dogs get easily overheated – but they can also become dehydrated. Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh, cool water. To encourage your dog to drink more on hot days.

  • place more water bowls around the house and garden
  • refill the water as needed

Some people fill a dog bowl or bucket and freeze it overnight. As it melts during the day, it provides a steady supply of refreshing, cold water. You can also freeze, or simply chill, water in the refrigerator in water bottles and add the melting or chilled water to your dog’s water periodically throughout the day. Adding ice cubes to your dog’s bowl may also be a good idea.

dog eating strawberry ice cream bits from a bowl with red background

Strawberry coconut milk ice cream recipe for dogs

Are you looking for a light recipe for the summer, which you can enjoy together with your dog? Then try our delicious strawberry coconut milk ice cream! But be careful – your dog should not eat too much ice cream. A small scoop is enough, otherwise they may get stomach ache.


  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 100 g strawberries, washed and dried
  • 30 ml honey
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon


  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container.
  3. Cover and freeze for several hours, until the consistency of ice cream.

Note: You can try different fruit/yogurt combinations, but don’t forget to wash all fruits and remove the rinds, inedible skins, seeds and peels before feeding them to your dog! Download the recipe

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