The weather is warming up and that means it’s time for some fresh air. Your pup loves being outside, whether it’s spending time in the yard or accompanying your family on adventures. But if you want to keep that energy up all summer, you’ll probably need to spend some time in the shade. Too much sun exposure can lead to dehydration, heatstroke and sunburns for our best friends.
Here are our top seven picks for keeping the sun off your dog.
A quick comparison of our favorites
7 Best Products for Dogs with Shade
1. Pet Gear Travel Lite Soft Sided Pen with Portable Dog and Cat Pen
|Size:||Up to 46x46x28 inches|
If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable playpen that can be used anywhere, the Pet Gear Travel Lite Soft Sided Dog & Cat Pen with Removable Top is a great choice. With a sturdy hexagonal shape that provides plenty of space for your dog to play and relax, this playpen is a great way to shade your dog at home or anywhere else. The top is removable, making it easy to get your dog in or the sun on cooler days, and the mesh sides provide plenty of airflow. However, it is worth noting that destructive dogs will be able to chew through the fabric without much effort. And while most reviewers were happy with the quality, there were a few whose zippers broke quickly and needed replacing.
2. MidWest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top – Best Value!
|Portable.||To some extent|
If you’re on a tight budget, the Midwest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top is the best sunscreen for your money. This simple shade cloth is a solid four-foot-by-four-foot square with dimples along the sides and UV-blocking netting. It is designed to work with metal MidWest sports pens, but can also be used as a general purpose shade piece that can be hung over any space. Although it takes a while to set up and take down, it’s not too difficult to create a temporary shade for camping or the beach, and it takes up almost no space when folded. This mesh style is advertised as blocking 80% of UV rays, but reviewers in very warm states caution that a solid tarp may be preferable. A few reviewers also noted that the actual size may be 2-3 inches smaller than advertised.
3. Tangkula Wicker Dog House – Premium Choice
|type:||Shaded dog bed|
|Size:||27 x 38.5 x 28.5 inches|
If your pet needs a luxurious stay, Tangkula Wicker Dog House is the perfect choice. This dog bed has a canopy top made of water-resistant rattan and raised sides to give your pooch some privacy while lounging. The woven base and four-poster design are beautiful and classic, matching any decor style. This bed is also sturdy, with an iron frame and a comfortable, weather-resistant cushion that’s rated for dogs up to 165 pounds. Although this kennel can accommodate dogs up to 165 pounds, larger dogs cannot stretch as far. However, if you have a small to medium sized dog, this is a great (albeit expensive) choice.
4. FurHaven Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Kennel – Best for puppies
|type:||Opening game chamber|
|Size:||Up to 51x51x29 inches|
If your pup needs some space to play outside, but isn’t quite ready for complete freedom, the FurHaven Soft-sided Dog & Cat Playpen is a great choice. This playpen is lightweight and comes out easily, making it great for travel. Its breathable mesh sides allow airflow in while blocking out some of the sun. And it can be staked for wind protection. The one downside to this pen is that it isn’t particularly sturdy. If your puppy is a chewer or exerciser, it won’t take long. However, for a non-chewing puppy, this is a great and inexpensive choice.
5. Be Cool Solutions 70% Reflective Aluminum Sunscreen
|Size:||Up to 14×20 feet|
|Portable.||To some extent|
If you want to cover an entire patio, small yard or dog run, Be Cool Solutions 70% Reflective Aluminet Shade Coth is a great choice. This piece is made from a knitted reflective mesh that deflects most of the sunlight that hits it, keeping the area underneath much cooler than a regular piece. It comes in three sizes: 7×7 feet, 10×14 feet, and 14×20 feet. If you just want to cover a dog bed or kennel, this might be too much for you, but it’s great if you want your dog to have a place to play.
This shadow piece doesn’t have any support, so you’ll have to come up with your own solution to hold it in place. You’ll probably want to use ropes, zip ties, or carabiners to help secure it to a fence or stakes, but the exact solution depends on your space.
6. Trixie Deluxe Outdoor Dog Kennel
|Size:||Up to 48x48x54|
The Trixie Deluxe Outdoor Dog Kennel is the perfect solution for keeping your dog safe when he’s outdoors. It has a sturdy metal frame and a removable sun visor to help protect your dog from the summer heat. And if your dog is on the tall side, this is a great option. both sizes are taller than they are wide, so your dog will have plenty of headroom. This kennel does fold up for storage, but its heavy weight (about 50 pounds for the large size) means it’s not ideal if you need to move it around often. Whether the price is worth it depends on your needs, but the quality definitely justifies the price tag.
7. K&H Pet Products Cat Canopy Raised Dog Bed
|Size:||Up to 42x30x28 inches|
The K&H Pet Products Cot Canopy for Elevated Dog Bed is an easy-to-use canopy accessory that joins the K&H brand of premium beds. It comes in several different sizes, which works well for most dogs. The canopy tends to be a little on the shorter side, so if you have a legged dog, you may need a larger size than you think. This product attaches easily to the bed, but is designed to work with the K&H brand bed sold separately. This umbrella is also not portable. it works best as a permanent outdoor bed because it needs to be assembled.
Buyers Guide. How to Choose the Best Shade Products for Dogs
When you’re shopping for pet kennels, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. With so many different types of products on the market, having a clear idea of your needs will help you find the right shade for your budget.
Types of sunscreens
A canopy bed is a great choice for letting your dog relax outside. This is usually a covered dog bed with a canopy on top and sometimes on the sides. Great for giving dogs a chance to relax in the shade if your yard is fairly sunny. But they don’t give much shade to play with.
Shaded playgrounds and tents
Dog tents and shaded play areas are enclosures that keep your dog contained and provide some shade. These are often portable, making them a great choice if you plan to take your dog with you when you travel. They are also ideal if you want to give your dog outdoor time without letting him run free.
Shade cloths are large, rectangular pieces, usually made of plastic mesh. They have metal tabs on the sides that allow you to tie them in place. Shade cloths can be tied vertically or horizontally to fences, play areas or stakes to provide a shaded area. They generally require some setup, but their simple design makes them very versatile.
Shaded kennels or kennels
Shaded kennels and kennels are permanent or semi-permanent structures that give your dog a shaded place to rest. They are usually not removable and some will provide protection from the rain as well as the sun. Many dog houses are less than ideal for hot summer days because they don’t have a lot of airflow, making them too hot for the rest, even though they block the sun.
Features to look out for
Ideally, a shaded area will have plenty of airflow to keep it cool. Mesh panels or open sides are often used to let air in. A balancing act can be finding a shade that blocks the sun without cutting out the wind.
Some sun shades use reflective surfaces to increase deflection. This keeps the space under the shade even cooler. However, reflective surfaces have some disadvantages. They often get much hotter to the touch on their sunny side than other surfaces, possibly even hot enough to cause burns. They can also be disturbingly bright when the sun hits them.
Since sunscreens usually have to be installed horizontally to block the sun, it’s important to keep an eye on their height. Some dog breeds are taller than they are long, so a typically smaller dog may need a larger sunshade to compensate.
If you want to spend a lot of time hiking, camping or on the beach, you may want to look for a shade that can come with you wherever you go. However, portable shades are often less durable than permanent shades, especially if you’re on a budget.
We hope these reviews have guided you in finding the perfect sun shade that will meet your needs. While every home is different, our top pick is the Pet Gear Travel Lite Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen because it’s durable, portable, and roomy. The MidWest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top is the best value option, while our premium pick is the stylish Frisco Outdoor Wicker Canopy Dog Bed. But all of the products on this list are great choices for protecting your pup from the summer sun.
Featured Image Credit: Christine Baird, Shutterstock