The weather is heating up, and that means it is time for fresh air. Your pup loves being outdoors, whether spending time in the backyard or coming along for your family’s adventures. But if you want to keep that energy going all summer long, 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 in 2023
|Best Overall||Pet Gear Soft-Sided Dog Pen with Removable Top||
|Best Value||MidWest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top||
|Premium Choice||Tangkula Wicker Dog House||
|Best for Puppies||FurHaven Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen||
|Be Cool Solutions Reflective Aluminet Sun Shade Cloth||
The 7 Best Products With Shade for Dogs
1. Pet Gear Soft-Sided Dog Pen with Removable Top – Best Overall
|Size:||Up to 46x46x28 inches|
If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable playpen that can be used anywhere you go, the Pet Gear Travel Lite Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Pen with Removable Top is a great choice. With a sturdy hexagonal shape that provides lots of space for your dog to play and rest, this playpen is a great way to shade your dog at home or anywhere else. The top is removable, making it easy to access your dog or let some sun in on cooler days, and the mesh sides provide a lot of air flow. However, it’s worth noting that destructive dogs will be able to chew through the fabric without much effort. And although most reviewers were happy with the quality, there were several who had zippers break quickly and needed a replacement.
2. MidWest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top – Best Value
If you’re on a tight budget, the Midwest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top is the best sun shade for your money. This simple shade cloth is a sturdy four-foot by four-foot square with grommets along the sides and a UV-blocking mesh weave. It is designed to work with metal MidWest Exercise Pens but can also be used as a general-purpose shade cloth that can be hung over any space. Although it takes some time to set up and put down, it’s not too hard to rig up a temporary shade for camping or the beach, and it takes up almost no space when folded up. This mesh style is advertised as blocking off 80% of UV, but reviewers from very hot states warn that a solid tarp may be preferable. A few reviewers also noted that the actual size might 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 to lounge in luxury, the Tangkula Wicker Dog House is a perfect choice. This dog bed has an overhead shade made with water-resistent rattan and raised sides to give your pooch some privacy while resting. The wicker base and four-poster styling are beautiful and classic, fitting in with any décor style. This bed is also sturdy, with an iron frame and a comfortable, weatherproof cushion that is rated for dogs of up to 165 pounds. While this dog house can hold dogs up to 165 pounds, big dogs may not be able to stretch out as much. However, if you have a small to medium sized dog, this is a great (albeit pricey) choice!
4. FurHaven Soft-Sided Dog Playpen – Best for Puppies
|Size:||Up to 51x51x29 inches|
If your puppy needs some space to play outdoors but isn’t yet ready for total freedom, the FurHaven Soft-sided Dog & Cat Playpen is a great choice. This playpen is lightweight and pops up easily, making it great for travel. Its breathable mesh sides let airflow in, while blocking some sun. And it can be staked down to protect against wind. The one drawback of this pen is that it isn’t particularly sturdy. If your puppy is a chewer or a body-slammer, it won’t last long. However, for a non-chewing puppy, this is a great and low-cost choice.
5. Be Cool Solutions Reflective Aluminet Sun Shade Cloth
|Size:||Up to 14×20 feet|
If you want to cover a whole patio, small yard, or dog run, the Be Cool Solutions 70% Reflective Aluminet Shade Cloth is a great choice. This cloth is made of a knitted reflective mesh that deflects most sunlight that hits it, keeping the space beneath it much cooler than a standard cloth. 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 room to play.
This shade cloth doesn’t come with any support, so you’ll have to figure out your own solution to hold it up. You’ll probably want to use ropes, zip ties, or carabiners to help tie it securely 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 a perfect solution for protecting your dog when it is outdoors. It has a sturdy metal frame and a removable sunshade that will 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 for storage, but its heavy weight (about 50 pounds for the large size) means that it’s not ideal if you need to be moving it frequently. Whether the price is worth it depends on your needs, but the quality definitely justifies the price tag.
7. K&H Cot Canopy for Elevated Dog Bed
|Size:||Up to 42x30x28 inches|
The K&H Pet Products Cot Canopy for Elevated Dog Bed is an easy-to-use canopy add-on that connects to K&H brand elevated beds. It comes in several different sizes, making it work well for most dogs. The canopy does tend to be a bit on the shorter side, so if you have a leggy dog, you might want to go a size bigger than you think. This product is easy to attach to the bed, but it is designed to work with the K&H brand bed that is sold separately. This canopy is also not portable—it works best as a permanent outdoor bed as there’s some assembly needed.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Products With Shade for Dogs
As you’re shopping around for a pet shade, 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 Sunshades
A canopy bed is a great choice for letting your dog rest outdoors. This is usually a covered dog bed that has a sunshade on top and sometimes shades on the sides as well. It’s great for giving dogs the option to rest in the shade if your yard is pretty sunny. But they don’t give much shade for playing.
Shaded Playpens and Tents
Dog tents and shaded playpens are enclosures that keep your dog contained and provide some shade. These are often portable, making them a great choice if you’re planning on taking your dog with you when you travel. They’re also ideal if you want to give your dog some outdoor time without giving it free-run of the yard.
Shade cloths are large, rectangular cloths that are usually made of plastic mesh. They have metal grommets around the sides that let you tie them in place. Shade cloths can be tied vertically or horizontally to fences, playpens, or stakes to provide a shady area. They generally need some setup, but their simple design makes them very versatile.
Shaded Kennels or Dog Houses
Shaded kennels and doghouses are permanent or semi-permanent structures that give your dog a shady place to rest. They’re not usually portable and some will protect from rain as well as sun. Many dog houses are less-than-ideal for hot summer days because they don’t have much airflow, making it so that they are too warm for rest even though they block the sun.
Features to Watch For
Ideally, a shady space will have lots of airflow to keep it cool. Mesh panels or open sides are often used to let air in. It can be a balancing act to find a shade that blocks out the sun without cutting off the wind.
Some sun shades make use of reflective surfaces to increase deflection. This keeps the space beneath the shade even cooler. However, there are some drawbacks to reflective surfaces. They often get much warmer to the touch on their sunny side than other surfaces, possibly even hot enough to cause burns. They also can be disruptively bright when hit by the sun.
Since sunshades usually need to be placed horizontally to block the sun, it’s important to keep an eye on their height. Some breeds of dogs are taller than they are long, so a dog that’s normally small might need a bigger size of sunshade to compensate.
If you like to spend lots of time hiking, camping, or at the beach, you might want to look into 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 a great sun shade that will meet your needs. Although every home is different, our top overall pick is the Pet Gear Travel Lite Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen because it is durable, portable, and spacious. The MidWest Exercise Pen Sunscreen Top is the best value option, while our premium choice is the stylish Frisco Outdoor Wicker Canopy Dog Bed. But all the products on this list are great choices for protecting your pup from the summer sun.
Featured Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock