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Hot dogs, heatwaves and happy days

Keeping Dogs Cool in Heatwaves

With summer upon us it’s important to think of our canine friends and what we can do to make their life more comfortable in the heat. Dogs sweat through their paws and panting, which is their main cooling method, but will only cool them down to a certain extent. As it takes about 2 months for a dog to acclimatise to new temperatures they can’t adjust as quickly as we do and this causes them to suffer in heatwaves, which is why we need to be aware of heatstroke to protect our pets.


Be aware that pavements can scorch our dogs paws. A good test is to put your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds and see how it feels. If you can’t stand it you are in danger of burning your dogs paws. Walk your dog in the cool of the morning and evening to protect their paws and prevent risk of heatstroke.

Cars – Caravans – Conservatories – Outbuildings

The temperature in a car can rapidly soar on a hot day, even when parked in the shade with the windows open - this can cause a lot of distress to your dog. Dogs can suffer and die from heatstroke so don’t risk it. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR. The same also applies for any enclosed spaces that you may leave your dog in.


Some dogs are prone to sunburn, keep your dog out of the sun to protect delicate areas and their skin. You can get a pet safe suncream, your vet will be able to advise.


Heatstroke is when your dog can’t control his body temperature anymore. Treating heatstroke promptly can ensure that your dog recovers successfully. Heatstroke can happen very quickly, if you are worried your dog has heatstroke contact your vet immediately.

Dogs can get heatstroke by:-

  • overheating by being subjected to heat, like in a hot car

  • exertion through exercise or play – avoid strenuous exercise and monitor play to include lots of water and rest breaks in the shade.

  • working dogs or dogs competing in competitions are also at risk and need plenty of rest and water breaks in the shade.

Dogs at higher risk are short faced dogs, overweight dogs and dark coat dogs.

Signs of heatstroke:-

  • panting heavily

  • lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated

  • drooling excessively

  • dark red gums

  • rapid heartbeat

  • collapse

  • vomiting

How to keep your dog cool

  • Paddling pool – a lot of dogs love to walk in or lay in a paddling pool. Make sure that your pool is not in the full sun and that your dog has access to shade.

  • Cooling coats and bandanas – wet these with tepid water and keep checking that they stay wet, as soon as you suspect they are starting to dry out, re-soak in tepid water and replace on your dog.

  • Wet towels – soak in tepid not ice cold water and lay on your dog

  • Fan – keep the air circulating, allow enough space for your dog to lay in the breeze and to be able to move out of it when they want to. Make sure that your fan cannot be knocked over causing injury to your dog.

  • Cool toys – there are toys that you can put in the freezer and bring out for your dog, as with all toys supervision is required.

  • Sprinkler system – water connected to a dog sprinkler system so that your dog can cool down is great for the garden.

  • Access to plenty of fresh tepid water

  • Take water and a collapsible bowl with you on a walk

Let’s keep our dogs cool and safe this summer.

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