Do you have a hot dog on your hands? Many of our pooches love to keep us company while we enjoy the outdoors, but it can become too hot for them at times — especially during the summer.
But don’t worry, there are tons of ways to help your pet stay cool and comfy, including off-the-shelf dog shade canopies and a variety of DIY shade projects. We’ll share some of our favorites below!
Best Dog Shade Canopies: Quick Picks
- #1 Best Choice Products Elevated Bed & Canopy [Best Bed & Canopy Set] — An elevated dog bed that’ll keep your pooch off the ground while he enjoys the shade provided by the removable canopy.
- #2 HiCaptain Crate Cover [Best Crate Cover for Shade] — Need to shade your dog’s crate? This adjustable cover comes with multiple flaps and windows to provide airflow, and it’s available in sizes that’ll fit most standard crates.
- #3 G4Free Pop-Up Shade Tent [Best Portable Shade Solution] — Heading to the beach or park during the summer? This pop-up tent makes it easy to give your dog shade wherever your adventures take you!
- #4 Sunny Guard Shade Sail [Best Semi-Permanent Shade Solution] — Want to go ahead and shade part of your patio in very stylish fashion? This shade sail looks great and will keep you and your canine cool!
Different Ways to Provide Canine Shade: Your Basic Options
There are a number of different ways to provide shade for your pooch, and it’s important that you select an approach that’ll work well for your specific situation. A few of the most common strategies and products that owners find helpful include:
1. Dog Houses
A regular ‘ol dog house is one of the most time-tested ways of providing your dog shade.
Just understand that some dog houses are pretty enclosed, so they won’t allow a lot of airflow. This means they may not be as cool as your canine would like. However, if you’re handy, you can certainly make a DIY dog house that provides as much ventilation as you like.
You can also opt to purchase dog houses that are constructed of breathable fabric and designed for use in warm climates. These houses kind of straddle the line between a proper dog house and a canopy bed, so you may see them called different things.
Regardless of what you call them, they’re great for giving your pooch a shady place to chill.
2. Dog Bed Canopies
Dog bed canopies are essentially fabric “roofs” that you attach to a frame that extends above your dog’s bed. Some are sold along with a bed as a kit, while others are standalone products, which you’ll attach to a bed you already have.
Canopies are pretty convenient for your dog, as they provide shade in a place he already likes hanging out, and many are designed to work with elevated beds, which allow air to flow beneath your pup’s body, thereby keeping him even cooler.
Just make sure that you select a canopy that’ll work with your dog’s specific bed, if you’re not buying a combo package. That said, if you don’t mind the bed and canopy looking a little homemade, there are scads of ways you could rig a canopy to attach to your dog’s bed, as long as they’re both about the same size.
Umbrellas are a common way people shield themselves from the sun, but they also work great for four-footers!
Many shade umbrellas on the market are designed to be used at the beach, but you can use most of them in your backyard if you prefer.
Just be sure that the mounting and stabilization features will work in your yard before making your purchase (for example, if your backyard dirt is packed down pretty hard, you may have trouble getting the stakes inserted in the ground).
And obviously, umbrellas are the perfect shade solution for a day at the beach!
They’re not only lightweight and portable, but they’re easy to set up and take down quickly.
4. Kennel and Playpen Covers
You can find covers that are made for specific playpens or kennels, as well as those that are sold in generic sizes (these are essentially just tarps). Some are waterproof, others are made from breathable mesh, and some are even reflective to provide maximum protection from the sun.
Just be sure that you secure the cover so that it doesn’t blow away or fall down on your pupper.
We share some pretty cool covers below that come with some neat design features, but you can always just buy a regular camping tarp and suspend it with some cord or posts.
5. Shade Sails
Shade sails are like tarps or kennel covers, except that they’re generally designed to be hung over your patio or some other backyard space. Also, they’re generally pretty snazzy looking products, which will look great in your backyard.
Shade sails are technically removable, but installation can be a bit of an ordeal for some. So, they’re probably best viewed as a semi-permanent addition to your patio. But that shouldn’t be a big problem for most homeowners.
The line between a gazebo and a dog house isn’t always crystal clear, but we generally think of gazebos as having gaps or openings to provide air flow, while dog houses usually feature solid walls. Both can provide your dog with a shady retreat, but because a gazebo will usually allow more circulation and keep your pet cooler.
We haven’t found any really good dog gazebos on the market, but you can make one yourself if you are handy. We share the plans for one pretty nifty model below.
The 15 Best Dog Shade Canopies & Other Shady Solutions
Are you ready to enjoy some dog days with your furry friend? Here are some of our favorite shaded solutions to ensure your furry friend is having fun in the sun.
1. Best Choice Products Elevated Bed & Canopy
About: This raised outdoor bed-and-canopy combo from Best Choice Pet Products is great for keeping your canine cool in the hot sun. Both the bed (which is raised 8.5 inches off the ground) and the canopy are made from breathable nylon-mesh fabric for maximum comfort.
- Sturdy steel frame can be set up in less than 20 minutes
- Portable canopy comes with on-the-go bag for use anywhere
- Elevated bed gives your pooch plenty of air circulation in the sun
- Canopy provides plenty of shade and is removable
- Flexible sizing options ranging from 30 to 48 inches
- Portable bed & canopy set can be used on-the-go
- Assembly doesn’t require tools
- Elevated design allows for lots of airflow
- Larger dogs may sink down a bit due to their body weight
- Mesh may tear if your dog likes to “nest”
2. K&H Pet Bed Canopy
K&H Pet Bed Canopy
A lightweight, easy to install canopy that will work with most K&H elevated beds.
About: K&H Pet Beds are well-loved by dog owners for good reason. These sturdy, lightweight beds are great for outdoor fun and happen to be our top pick for the best elevated pet bed. And this canopy attachment will take the bed to the next level, providing your pooch with shaded seclusion from the summer sun.
- Water resistant fabric is super sturdy and perfect for outdoor use
- Easy to assemble without tools
- Machine-washable for easy clean of stains or outdoor debris
- Portable design for added flexibility
- Flexible sizing options to fit small, medium and large K&H elevated pet beds
- Great for providing pups plenty of shade outside
- Sturdy design is water-resistant and easy to wash
- Some savvy owners were able to adapt the canopy for other uses and beds
- This is just the canopy, so you’ll need to purchase the elevated pet bed separately
- There’s no guarantee that this canopy will work with beds that aren’t from K&H
3. Wicker Canopy Bed
About: Looking for a cute way to keep your canine cool? This wicker canopy bed from Leaptime is absolutely adorable and provides your pooch with shade and padding for unrivaled comfort. The bed is a great way to keep small sized pups cool, and it will look great on your patio, too.
- Wicker house provides plenty of shade and airflow at the same time
- Includes padded cushion for extra comfort
- Wicker design is easy to wipe off and keep clean
- Easy to assemble
- Lightweight bed is easy to move from one place to another
- The bed looks great and is more stylish than some other options
- Owners reported that the customer service department was very responsive
- You can use this bed indoors or outdoors
- Wicker design is not water resistant (bring it indoors when not in use)
- Only suitable for small pooches
4. HiCaptain Crate Cover
About: If you’re seeking a way to keep your canine comfortable while he’s relaxing in his crate, this crate cover from HiCaptain is an excellent tool to keep out the sun. This flexible cover can be left partially or completely closed transforming your pup’s wire crate into a relaxing doggie den.
- Wide range of sizing options to fit almost any crate
- Polyester crate cover is lightweight and water resistant
- Adjustable roller shades for added flexibility
- Included mesh windows for breathability
- Toggles help keep the crate firmly in place
- Great alternative to traditional dog houses
- Owners appreciated the flexibility of the shade rollers
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
- Some owners found that their dogs chewed through the polyester fabric from inside the crate
- For some owners, the cover ran a little large
5. Portable Pet House
About: Amazon Basics makes just about everything, including this portable shaded dog house. The elevated house is perfect for small to medium-sized pups and has mesh panelling to keep your pooch comfortable in the heat. The indoor or outdoor house is great for at-home or on-the-go use.
- Raised elevated pet bed provides plenty of air circulation
- A-frame pet house offers complete coverage from the sun
- Lightweight house is portable and easy to spot clean
- Mesh panels offer additional airflow and can be covered or exposed
- Easy to assemble
- Dogs and small cats alike seemed to love this small shelter
- Owners loved how easy it was to clean this dog house
- Mesh panels and elevated design keep hot dogs super cool
- Not intended for large pups
- Some owners found that this house isn’t super windproof, so you may need something to weigh it down when your dog isn’t using it
6. Pop-Up Shade Tent
About: This pop-up shade tent from G4free is designed for people, but it can certainly keep canines cool as well. This wind-proof shade tent is perfect for use while exploring the great outdoors, and it comes complete with sandbags to keep it in place and stable.
- Portable tent comes with a carrying case
- Mesh windows keep your canine cool while relaxing
- Reflective tent is easy to open and pops-up without additional assembly
- Tent pegs and sandbags keep the tent in place
- Fabric is rated UPF 50 to keep out UV rays
- Customers were impressed with the tent’s ability to keep everyone cool
- Pretty spacious tent for the price
- Set up is super quick and easy
- Many customers recommend that you practice putting this tent back in its case before using it while out
- You’ll need to spend time setting up the sandbags to prevent the tent from blowing away
7. Shade Cloth
About: This large shade from YGS is perfect for providing shade for your regular outdoor kennel. You could also potentially rig it up with some poles to use directly over any outdoor area you’d like to shade.
- Sturdy cloth can be kept up outside throughout the year
- Lightweight cloth is made out of UV-stabilized polyethylene
- Provides plenty of coverage for patios up to 10 by 20 feet in size
- Built-in holes make adding rope or poles to this cloth simple
- Great for improvising a shaded space for your pooch
- This flexible cloth is perfect for a variety of applications and situations
- Large cloth provides plenty of coverage at an affordable price point
- Easy to rig up and install
- A few owners reported that water leaked through the mesh fabric
- You’ll need to use poles or ties of some sort to keep this cloth in place
8. Reflective Cloth
About: If you live in an area with particularly hot summers or your yard just gets blasted by the sun, you’ll want to consider this reflective cloth from Be Cool Solutions. This cloth not only blocks the sun to provide shade but it also reflects back the sun’s rays, keeping your canine even cooler.
- Cloth comes in three versatile sizing options
- Comes with a carrying case making it easy to take on the road
- Eyelets are easy to mount with bungee cords or string
- Can be mounted in umpteen ways
- Knitted mesh design provides plenty of airflow
- Owners were impressed with this cloth’s ability to provide shade in a variety of settings
- Large size makes this cloth easy to drape over any kennel
- Can be draped over the top of a parked car during road trips with your furry friend (just keep safety in mind)
- This cloth doesn’t come with mounting materials
- Not quite as portable as some non-reflective options
9. Umbrella Canopy
About: Ready to spend a day at the beach with your best buddy? This large 8-foot umbrella canopy from Spot-Brella provides plenty of shade for your furry friend. The umbrella protects from UVA and UVB rays and has included anchors to keep it firmly in place.
- Umbrella features zippered window for flexible airflow options
- Portable design allows you to place this canopy virtually anywhere
- Canopy made with UPF 50 sun protection to keep you and your pooch protected
- Included anchors make the umbrella stable on the beach
- 8-foot canopy provides plenty of room for Spot to stretch out in the shade
- Customers were impressed with how much shade these extensive canopies provide
- Portable design is great for use at the beach
- Vents on the side provide airflow for your furry friends
- Some customers found it difficult to keep this umbrella in an upright position
10. 8-Panel Kennel Shade Cover
About: This shade cover from EXPAWLORER is perfect for any furry friend with a 24-inch, 8-panel playpen or kennel. The lightweight polyester cover is not only great at providing shade but it’s also waterproof, making it helpful for keeping your pooch dry during downpours.
- Lightweight design makes cover easy to install
- Included ties help keep the shade cover firmly in place
- Foldable cover is easy to store when not in use
- Waterproof cover keeps your dog dry
- Discourages dogs from jumping out of the playpen
- Provides excellent sun protection and shade
- Cover stays firmly in place with included nylon ties
- Helps prevent some puppies and dogs from jumping out of the crate (though you shouldn’t consider it “secure”)
- Some owners reported that water collects on top of the cover, so you’ll need to drain it if it gets wet
- It is conceivable (though perhaps not likely) that a strong gust of wind could cause the whole playpen to lift or flip over if not anchored in place
11. Mesh Playpen Cover
About: If you have a pooch playpen out on the patio, adding one of these mesh covers from YGCASE will help your hound stay comfortable in the sun. The breathable cover provides shade while allowing plenty of airflow, and it easily attaches to most 24-inch wide, 8-panel exercise pens.
- Lightweight mesh material can be machine-washed for easy maintenance
- Bungee secured design keeps canines contained
- Cover provides light shade to keep Spot cool in moderately warm climates
- The cover is durable and made out of polyester
- Cover is easy to install and provides plenty of sun protection for four-footersMany owners felt this cover kept their dogs securely contained (we’d still urge caution)
- Also great for other small pets like rabbits, cats, or chickens
- Some users reported the cover was a bit on the small side
- Won’t provide any protection from the rain
12. Shade Sail
About: Shade isn’t just for your dog! You want to stay cool too. And this sun shade from Sunny Guard is the ideal solution, as it can help keep your entire patio cool. This shade protects you and your pet from UV rays and comes with everything you need to hang it up in your outdoor space.
- Plenty of patterns to choose from for your patio
- 10 flexible sizing options so that you can find the right fit for your space
- Breathable material keeps out sun while still allowing for air to circulate through
- Can be kept out year-round
- Comes with all necessary hardware for installation
- These sun shades did a great job at keeping furry friends and humans comfortable outside
- Customers found the sunshade fairly easy to install
- Cute design makes this a fashionable and functional piece
- This sun shade is not waterproof
- Not particularly portable
13. DIY Gazebo | Best Pooch Pavilion
If you’re willing to get crafty for your canine, this pooch pavilion from Jen Woodhouse is calling your name. And despite looking fantastic, it’s actually not too hard to construct.
Essentially, you pick out some lumber (perhaps by reclaiming the wood from an old pallet), screw the boards together to create a sturdy frame, and pop some cushioning in the pavilion for your pooch. You can download the full plans on Jen’s website.
- Untreated wood boards
- Exterior wood screws
- Metal connectors
- Dog-safe paint (optional)
- Measuring tape
14. PVC Frame Canopy | Best DIY Canopy Frame
This PVC canine canopy frame is another great DIY option, but you will need to add a “roof” to provide your pooch some shade. That being said, it’s fairly easy to construct and you can see a step-by-step creation guide provided for free on Instructables.
PVC is cut to create a frame for Fido, and then surrounded by sheer curtains for some extra coverage. You can use your dog’s bed to measure out how large you’d like the frame to be. Once the frame is constructed, you can easily create a shaded roof by draping a mesh cover on top of the frame. You could also construct a roof out of a different material for a sturdier solution.
- PVC pipes
- PVC elbows and caps
- Dog-safe paint (optional)
- Voiles or sheer curtains
- Pipe cutter
- Measuring tape
- Fabric scissors
15. Plants & Trees | Best Free Option
There’s nothing wrong with going au naturale! Plants and trees can provide plenty of shade for your four-footer and are a great option when you don’t have one of these other shady solutions on-hand. For that matter, they’ll also help increase your property value if you select good species and take good care of them.
Of course, there’s a lot involved in adding some new plants or shade trees to your yard, so it may not be the quickest or simplest option.
For example, you’ll have to select plants or trees that are suitable for your area and well-suited for your yard’s soil and sun exposure level. You’ll also have to be sure to select dog-friendly shrubs and trees to keep your canine safe.
Finally, understand that you’ll have to either purchase big, established plants or trees (which can be technically challenging and expensive) or accept the fact that it’ll take them a while to grow large enough to provide usable shade.
Sun & Summer Safety for Dogs: Keep Spot Safe!
Shade canopies are a great way to keep your canine comfortable while soaking up the summer sun.
However, they don’t protect your pooch completely from the heat. So be sure to keep these summer safety strategies in mind while having fun in the sun with Fido:
- Keep your hound hydrated. Whether you’re visiting a park in the summer or just hanging out in the backyard, make sure to provide your pooch with plenty of water. If you’re in the backyard, just leave a bowl out for your bestie (just be sure to wash it and refill it regularly), or give Fido a chance to drink every 15 to 30 minutes during summer adventures away from the home.
- Monitor your mutt. You’ll need to keep a keen eye out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke from your four-footer. If your dog is excessively panting, drooling, or experiencing lethargy it’s time to head inside. After removing your hound from the heat, give your veterinarian a call.
- Give your companion some cool gear. You can help your canine cool off with the help of a cooling dog vest. Additionally, it’s worth considering a cooling dog bed so that Spot can relax comfortably. As a makeshift solution, you can place a damp towel soaked with cool water on your pup’s back to provide temporary relief.
- Find Fido something frozen. Frozen toys can be a great way to help your canine cool off while experiencing all of the summer fun. You can also make some DIY frozen treats for your furry friend.
- Keep those paws protected. Remember that pavement can become excruciatingly hot in the summer. So, try to stick to soft, non-paved surfaces while walking around with your furry friend. You can also pick up a pair of dog booties to keep Buddy feeling his best.
- Slather on the sunscreen. Keeping your pooch protected in the sun is important, especially if he has light-colored fur. Remember to pick up some dog-safe sunscreen for the summer season.
- Let your dog take a dip in the pool. If Spot loves making a splash, it’s worth considering getting a dog pool to keep him cool when it’s sweltering outside.
- Take plenty of breaks. Remember to refrain from too much playing or exercising in the heat. Your pooch will need plenty of breaks while out in the sun, so make sure you have access to a nearby indoor area where your pooch can cool off.
It’s essential to keep your dog properly protected in the sun. These canopies and other shade solutions are excellent tools to keep your fur baby comfortable while enjoying the outdoors.
Have you tried any of these shaded solutions? How does your dog like to have fun in the sun? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!