How Long Can a Cocker Spaniel Be in the Sun?

Orange and white cocker spaniel sitting in the sand on a beach in the sun

For some dogs, there is nothing finer than to lay beneath the warm rays of the sun. As soon as the sun hits that perfect spot on the living room sofa or the rug on the patio, they know exactly how they are going to spend their day. Cocker Spaniels can be drawn to those sunny patios and yards just as much as any other dog, but how long can a cocker spaniel be in the sun?

For a Cocker Spaniel, three hours in direct sunlight is as long as they should go without a break. Cocker Spaniels with lighter fur and lightly pigmented eyelids and noses should spend less time in the sun as their skin is more sensitive.

A simple rule of thumb is, if you’ve had enough sun, the chances are that your dog has too. Fortunately, most dogs will usually get themselves in the shade when they’ve had enough. A dog can only get so much sun before it becomes uncomfortable.

But, we’ve all known stubborn dogs that refuse to come in when they should or dogs that aren’t the best at making smart choices. Let’s look at ways for your dog to enjoy that warm summer sun safely.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

How the Sun Affects Your Cocker Spaniel

Not all dogs love to bask in the sun, but the ones that do can usually be found glued to the ground as they soak up those sunbeams any day the sun shines. You might also have a dog that becomes more active when the sun is shining bright, playing, running, and having a ball.

Not all dogs are going to be able to tell you when they’ve had enough. A Cocker Spaniel’s drive to please their human can make it impossible to show their displeasure with a given situation.

If your Cocker Spaniel has been in the sun for a couple of hours, mostly if they are napping, you may need to check on them and see if it is time to come into the shade. If they’ve been in the sun for three hours, you need to get them to take a little break. Any longer in the sun and they are risking sunburn and heat exhaustion.

For both types of sun-loving Spaniels, you may need to take some extra precautions to ensure that they don’t suffer from any ill effects of too much UV or heat exposure.

Stay focused here.

I’ll show you some of the hot spots to look out for to protect your doggo when the heat is on.

Have Water Available At All Times

Especially when you are dealing with a young dog, Cocker Spaniels, like most other breeds, love to play, and when the weather is nice and hot, they might not stop until they get overheated. With young dogs and puppies, they have an incredibly hard time calling it quits even if they are getting into the discomfort zone.

Something simple that you can do to ensure that they take a break and cool down is to give them water. If your dogs are playing in the yard, you can simply make sure that they have a big ole’ bowl of fresh water available at all times. You can even set up a sprinkler for them if they’re having trouble pressing pause on the playtime.

Maybe even give it a top off with the water hose if you think it’s time for them to take a break. If you are on a walk and the temperature is high, bring some water with you. A plastic water bottle and a collapsible dog bowl, like this one, make it easy to water your pup on the go.

Another quick tip is to plan walks around businesses and houses in the neighborhood that keep water bowls out in front for thirsty pooches or make a pass by the lake or river for a quick slurp.

Watch Out For Scalding Sidewalks

If you’ve ever run out onto the sidewalk in bare feet to check the mail on a particularly sunny day, you know very well that sometimes, the sidewalk can turn into a cement frying pan. It is easy to forget about since you wear shoes all the time when you go outside for walks, but for your dog, those mid-summer sidewalks can hurt their little paw pads.

There are a few things that you can do to save your pup from scalding their paws on the sidewalks.

First, change the walking time. If you usually take your dog out for a walk in the middle of the day, you may need to adjust for times when the sun is beating down on the cement. If you can’t hold your hand on the cement for more than a couple of seconds, it will hurt your dog’s feet.

Secondly, stick to shade and grass. If you usually walk the sidewalks around the neighborhood, maybe change things up and go to the park or the woods, somewhere where the ground is soft and not heated to the extreme by the sun.

Don’t Shave Your Cocker Spaniel

You might assume that shaving your Spaniel will help them stay cool when the weather is hot, but it has quite the opposite effect. A Cocker Spaniel’s trademark coat not only looks fabulous, but it also helps these dogs to regulate their body temperature better, whether it’s in the cold or the heat.

Their fur also helps to protect them from the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. Shaving is also not a solution to save you from shedding either.

A Cocker Spaniels coat catches the shed hairs, and with regular brushing, you can reduce shedding more than shaving ever would. Brushing the coat out also helps them stay cooler in the heat as the fur can move more freely and breathe better when it’s not clogged up with all those shed follicles. 

It is detrimental to your Cocker Spaniel in nearly every way when they are fully clipped. Regular grooming can go a long way towards keeping them stylish and cutting down on shedding, as well as keeping them nice and cool. So put down those clippers and read this first before grooming your cocker.

You May Need Sunscreen if You Have a Stubborn Dog

Sunscreen is not only for stubborn dogs, but if your pup insists on laying in the sun as much as possible or playing all day in the summer heat. Take matters into your own hands and slather them in some dog-safe sunscreen.

You don’t want to use human sunscreen unless you can confirm that it is canine safe. For more on that, check out this article.

If your dog likes to lay in the sun on their back, with their belly exposed to the sky, sunscreen might be necessary to protect them from sunburn and the likelihood of developing cancers. Anywhere where their skin is nearly or fully exposed, and the pigment is light. Especially that belly if the fur is short.

It is best practice to apply the stuff to your pooch 20 minutes before they go to lay in their sunspot or play in the yard. Reapply every 4 to 6 hours if they really must be in the sun. And don’t forget regular breaks to cool them down and get them hydrated.


So, we’ve learned that your Cocker Spaniel can spend up to 3 hours at a time in the sun.

It is best to check on them after an hour or so, especially if they like to sun their bellies. If you take the extra steps to protect your dog from UV radiation and overheating, they should be able to soak up plenty of sun.

Just pay attention to us, humans. And as always, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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