top of page

Keeping Your Dog Cool in A Van

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

As traveling with your dog becomes more and more popular, precautions need to be taken in warmer months to keep your dog cool. Check out the tips and tricks I use to keep my dog comfortable and cool during those warm summer travel months.

Park in the Shade

Whenever possible I park in the shade. This is the number one way to keep your vehicle cool. Remember, however, that shade changes based on time of day so frequently check where the shade is in relationship to your van, especially if you’re going to be away from it for any length of time.

Keep the Sun Out

If shade isn’t available, you need a way to keep the sun out of your car. I use reflectix window shades that I made myself (see video below) to keep the side windows covered, as well as a large front shade from WeatherTech to keep the sun off the windshield. You would be amazed at how much cooler the van is with a sun barrier in the windows. If your vehicle is smaller, you can also cover the whole thing with an aluminet shade which will even protect the top of the vehicle from sun.


Besides opening windows, I also use fans to ventilate the van and keep it cool. My Promaster has a MaxxAir Fan set to suck air out of the van. When opening the various windows in the van, it will pull cooler air through and suck hot air out which keeps the temperature down. I also make sure each of my dogs has a personal fan to ventilate their crate. I use the Ryobi fan that can be run off of a drill battery or plugged directly into an outlet. This ensures that my dog is experiencing cool air where otherwise it may get a bit stagnant in their crate.

Choose an Appropriate Crate

I have a couple types of crates that I use, but the Ruff Tough Kennel is my go-to. I have one model that has both a door on the back and the front of the kennel and another with just the front door which I have drilled extra holes in the back for extra ventilation in the summer.

Dog Equipment

There’s a couple of things your dog can wear to help keep them cool in the van. One is a swamp cooler that works via evaporative cooling, and the other is a cooling pad which activates when the dog lays on the pad. Both can help your dog feel cooler on hot days.


Make sure your dog has access to water. I like to put some ice cubes in their water bucket on hot days, just to keep everything cooled down.

Everyone knows not to leave your dog in a hot vehicle. But what many don’t know is that on those warm days, there’s quite a bit that can be done to keep your dog cool and happy. Use common sense, be safe, and keep your dog cool with these tips and tricks!


bottom of page