Shady Paws! How Dog Shade Saves Money!

Does your yard provide enough dog shade for your pup? Are you worried that installing more shade into your beautiful yard will be too costly? There are cost-effective ways to create shade without busting your budget. I’m always surprised at the shady spots in my yard that my dog, Henry finds. Most don’t cost me much of anything, yet they all help to keep him cool in the hot summer months. So, today, let’s grab our sunglasses and dig in to discover all about providing dog shade and how it saves you money.

disclaimer note
Budget tip:

The great thing about adding an area of dog shade in your yard is that it helps your dog and adds to your yard's beauty. Additionally, by keeping your dog cool, you reduce the risk of future vet bills related to heat or sun issues. Thus, an area of shade in your yard is a major win-win-win for your dog, yard, and your pocketbook!

Wish you had a prettier yard, but you have a kibble budget? Learn how to make your dream dog-friendly yard a reality in this article.

Why do dogs need shade?

I would hope that this is almost a self-explanatory question. But let me break it down why your dog needs ample shade. In the hot months, or even warmer spring and fall months, the sun can be too much for your dog. For example, just as the sun can cause serious health issues for you, it can for your dog. Specifically, when your furry friend is left in the sun with no shade he/she may suffer from:

Additionally, when your dog doesn’t have shade it can lead to issues such as:

  • Digging holes to try to get cool
  • Escaping your yard to get to a shady spot

These are all pretty good incentives to provide shade for your dog, right?

My dog loves to nap in the sun. Isn’t the sun good for him?

I admit, Henry loves an early morning or late afternoon nap in the sun’s gentle rays. However, when it’s hot out or he’s been outside for a while with me, he’ll naturally seek out shade. 

As such, yes the sun is great for your dog. Just as the sun is good for you. It provides a source of natural D3. However, when it becomes hot or your dog is exposed to the sun for too long then it can become an issue. Thus, the reason for providing shade for your dog.

Are some dogs more prone to sun-related issues?

Yes! Light-colored dogs can be more prone to sunburns. Meanwhile, dark-colored and thick-coated dogs can have more issues with staying cool in the sun. For example, Henry is mostly black. Thus, it doesn’t take him long to be in the sun before he’ll start panting trying to cool himself down. 

How can I affordably provide dog shade in my yard?

Honestly, Henry often seeks shade from a tree out of the direct sunlight. Additionally, when he lies down at the base of a tree, the soil can be moist. Thus, it helps to keep him cool. 

However, there are other ways to easily provide shade for your dog without breaking the bank. These include:

Putting a cover over your dog run or dog kennel

Surprisingly kennel covers can be very affordable. Here are some great dog kennel covers!

Dog Houses

You can build a dog house or buy one affordable that will let your dog escape the sun’s rays. For example, an elevated tent-style dog house like this one is great for keeping your dog out of the sun’s rays without being too hot.

Additionally, a dog house can allow your dog to find shelter during rain storms and summer heat.

Install shade trees

Use the side of your house as shade (assuming you have a mostly shady area)

Install an umbrella in a planter

This is very cost-effective. Additionally, you can place an umbrella planter on your patio and enjoy it as well. Just remember to take the umbrella down during wind or storms. Here’s a great tutorial for installing a planter umbrella. 

Moreover, you can plant dog safe perennial flowers in the pot as well. To learn about what are the best perennial flowers for you, check out this article. Sun sail or canopy

Shade sails or canopy

These can be surprisingly affordable. You can even find them at big box stores relatively cheap. Here’s a great tutorial on installing a sun sail:


Creating an awning may take a few more skills to install, but it’s very affordable to add a shade structure to your yard. Here’s a great tutorial on how to install a retractable awning.

A-Frame Roof

Similar to an awning is installing an A-frame is a shade structure in your yard. This is the most costly project. However, it could add beauty as well to your yard while keeping your dog out of the direct sunlight. Additionally, an a-frame does take the most skills. But if you have the skills, it could be well worth the effort. Here’s a great tutorial on creating an A-frame structure.

Tip: Moreover, you could even train a dog-friendly perennial vine such as Jasmine or a climbing rose, to climb the frame, which would add even more beauty to your yard. 

How long can I leave my dog in a shady yard?

Of course, you always want to make sure your yard is secure. However, even during the hot or warmer months, you don’t want to leave your dog in your yard, even with shade for hours on end. Here’s a good rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it to yourself or your child, don’t do it to your dog. 

How hot is too hot for my dog to be outside, even with shade?

Of course, the amount of heat your dog can tolerate can vary depending on breed, size, immune issues, and even fur thickness. However, even with all that considered you shouldn’t leave your dog outside for any length of time when the temperatures soar above 85F (29C).

What are the signs my dog is suffering from the sun’s exposure?

You’ll need to take immediate action if your dog is doing any of the following:

  • Panting excessively
  • Drooling 
  • Dehydrated (when you gently pinch your dog’s skin on the neck or back it doesn’t pop back immediately)
  • Red, blue, purple, grey gums
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargic
  • Wobbly when trying to walk

What should I do if I suspect my dog has heat exhaustion?

The best thing to do if your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms is:

  1. Put your dog in the shade
  2. Pour cool (not cold or ice) on your dog, but avoid his/her head so their no drowning issues
  3. Wet cool towels 
  4. Let your dog drink small amounts of water

However, if your dog doesn’t start to improve rather rapidly, race to the vet! Moreover, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. 

Note: If you suspect your dog is experiencing a stroke rush to your vet!

Learn how is possible to lower your emergency vet bill in this article.

What else does my furry friend need in a good dog shade yard?

Naturally, you want to always provide lots of clean fresh water for your dog. Additionally, you may want to include fun activities for your dog during the cooler hours such as:

Henry enjoy a bit of dog shade with his cooling vest.
Henry keeps cool in the shade with and his cooling vest.

Want to learn more about what a cooling vest is, how it works, and how to use it for your dog? In this article, I walk you through everything you need to know.

Note: Always make sure you plant dog friendly plants and flowers. Additionally, you may want to section off your yard to restrict your dog’s access to your vegetable garden. Keep in mind that some veggies are very toxic to your dog such as onions and garlic. 

Does your dog love veggies as much as Henry? Do you know you can grow many dog friendly vegetables year round inside? Learn how in this article.

How much can I save by providing good dog shade in my yard?

This is always the part of an article that I truly love. It helps to bring everything together. Also, it lets you know that with just a few simple steps you can avoid costly bills. So with that in mind consider the following potential costs of not providing dog shade in your yard.

IssuePossible Cost
Dehydration$200 – 800
Heat exhaustion$280 – $3,000
Emergency vet visit$100 – 150
Heat stroke$500 – 15,000

Related articles:

Summary of Shady Paws! How Dog Shade Saves Money!

Sometimes the easy things in life don’t seem like they could possibly save any money.  But when you realize the cost of not doing them, it can be pricey. Thus, I know providing dog shade in your yard seems simple, yet if your dog has no shade it can be catastrophic.

While Henry has many shady spots in our yard to rest when I’m outside, his favorite is generally beneath a shade tree. Moreover, the shaded dirt is moist and helps to keep him cool. However, I always make sure he has plenty of cool clean water and even put his cooling vest on during the hotter summer months. Keeping Henry cool during the hot summer months with the shade is essential and a major way to cut future vet bills. 

Do you have enough shade in your yard for your furry friends? Will you add any more now that you know it can be very affordable?

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

6 thoughts on “Shady Paws! How Dog Shade Saves Money!”

  1. With the hot weather approaching and dogs out and about, these are such important tips. I’m always amazed to see dogs on super hot days panting away, and not a water bottle in sight. I like the umbrella in the flower pot idea, which is exactly what I did for my dog Bailey who loved sitting outside, but there were no shady areas.

    • Yeah, isn’t the umbrella flower pot idea genius? I LOVE that idea and it adds beauty as well to your yard. I think Bailey and Henry would’ve gotten along well. I have to trick him to go inside, like a child having fun outdoors playing. Fur kids are fun! Thanks for the kind words, Hindy! Pets to your pack!

  2. I always made sure I would take Layla to parks with shade so she would be comfortable, I also put a cooling vest on her to keep her cool plus the one or two times we went to the beach (she did not like the sand LOL) I had a beach canopy for her so she had shade and was safe, people do not think how important that is especially with the summer approaching. Great post

    • WOW!!! Layla was such a lucky pup to have you as her mom. You were the best dog mom to her. I LOVE the idea of a beach canopy. I’m going to have to add that one. Thanks for your wonderful insights for always being so supportive!

  3. With the warm-hot weather now upon us, these tips are so important! Having Huskies I was always so vigilant about keeping them cool. They had a wonderful shady yard and lots of ground to dig in (oh, and they did! Body sized holes!) My husband had a contractor come and build a serious roof over one side of our deck for them. I also had several kiddie pools and an oscillating cooling fan that sprayed water!

    While I didn’t use a cooling vest (which is a very good idea), I did have cooling collars on them and a cooler water bed. And when it was too warm for them, into the house in the a/c they went!

    I think sometimes folks forget just how much heat can affect dogs and how quickly it can turn critical for them (as in your last budget item). Great reminders! You know I’m sharing this everywhere!

    • Cooling collars are great! I need one for me. I haven’t explored cooling beds too much yet. Actually, I did have one for Henry shortly after I adopted him. But it didn’t seem to make any difference. There are probably better options now. I’ll have to look.

      Your pack was so luck to have you as their mom. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. I’m very grateful for your continued support!


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