How to keep dogs cool in the summer

Keeping your dog cool in hot weather is all about careful preparation and forward planning. This will keep your dog healthy and happy, and will reduce the risk of your dog suffering from heatstroke. To help you stay on top of things, we've put together our top summer dog care tips, so you can enjoy the sun in safety with your best friend.

How to keep dogs cool

There are many ways you can help your dog stay cool in hot weather, these tips also help to cool down a dog if they are too hot

  • Encourage them to stay in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight
  • Put down damp towels for them to lie on
  • Fill a hot water bottle with cold water, but keep an eye out for any signs of chewing as the material could be harmful if swallowed
  • Put the garden sprinkler on
  • Keep a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash about in

Never leave dogs in cars

Leaving a dog alone in a hot car can be fatal – even parked in the shade with the windows open, dogs can become distressed and uncomfortable very quickly. Make sure you always have a plan so your dog isn't left alone in the car or any other enclosed spaces.

If you see a dog in a hot car, dial 999.

Always remember water 

It's important to ensure your dog has access to plenty of clean drinking water all year round, but especially in the summer. If you're out and about with your dog, ensure you always have a bottle of water and a bowl for them.

Plan your walks

Try and avoid taking your dog out in the midday sun. Early morning or evening walks will be cooler and more pleasant for your best friend.

Introduce new games

Introducing new games that don't involve too much running around is a good idea when the weather gets warmer.

  • Hide toys or treats and let your dog sniff them out
  • Use toys or treats to encourage your dog into a shaded paddling pool
  • Freeze food or use special food puzzles to keep your dog stimulated without too much exertion

Remember regular grooming

Regular grooming and/or clipping will keep your dog's coat clean and free of knots. This is important as matting can trap heat. See our range of dog grooming products here

Sun cream for dogs

Just like humans, dogs are at risk of burning in the sun if they're not protected – especially lightly coloured or thinly coated dogs. But the good news is you can pick up specially formulated sun cream for dogs at most pet shops. If you're unsure whether your dog needs sun cream, ask your vet.

Protect your dog's paws from hot surfaces

Protect their foot pads

Hot surfaces can really hurt your dog's foot pads, particularly sand or tarmac. If these surfaces feel too hot for you, the chances are your dog's thinking the same.

Keep your dog healthy

It's important to help your dog stay as fit and healthy as possible all year round, whatever that looks like for them. During warm weather it's especially important to help them maintain a healthy weight. Your dog will likely be less active when it's hot, and any walks or playtime should be moved to cooler parts of the day with lots of breaks and time in the shade, so it can be a good idea to adjust the amount of food you give them to reflect how much energy they are using up.

Is your dog microchipped?

As a legal requirement, it's important to make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with an ID tag. In the summer you're likely to be outside a lot more with your dog so they need to be identifiable should they go missing.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs

Heatstroke develops when a dog can't reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal. Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • A rapid pulse
  • Excessive salivation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea 
  • Loss of consciousness

How to treat heat stroke in dogs

If you think your dog has heatstroke, you need to act fast. Take them to a cool, shaded area. Apply towels soaked in cold water to their head, neck and chest and let them drink water or lick an ice cube. Never place them directly into ice cold water or give them too much to drink as they may go into shock.

Make sure you contact your vet or call Vetfone on 0303 334 0612 immediately if you suspect your dog has heatstroke.


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