Don't let your dog get dehydrated on warm days

Our vets see a lot of cases of heat stroke during the summer months. Many of these are very serious and some end in tragedy.

One of the saddest aspects of this is heat stroke is easily avoidable if proper precautions are taken. So here are our top tips on how to keep dogs cool in the heat.

1. Circulate cool air

Open the windows, turn on a box fan or keep the air conditioning at a reasonable temperature. Your dog will appreciate having a cool place to relax indoors if it’s scorching outside.

2. Keep dogs out of conservatories and greenhouses

These areas can get dangerously hot even when it may only feel mild outside. Bear in mind that there are no cooling breezes inside these sun traps and they magnify the heat.

3. Prevent sunburn

Don’t forget dogs are susceptible to sunburn, particularly those with white ears and noses.  This can lead to painful blistering and sores, and long-term exposure can lead to skin cancers. It is possible to buy pet sunscreen to apply to the hairless areas on the end of the ears and nose. It’s also advisable to keep white-faced dogs indoors during the heat of the afternoon.

4. Never leave dogs in a parked car

Temperatures inside cars can reach astronomical levels on a warm summer’s day, and it can take just 15 minutes for a dog to start overheating. Watch our video to see what happened to one of our members of staff when he was stuck inside a car in the height of summer.

Dogs die in hot cars - an experiment

5. Leave a bowl of water out for your dog to drink from

It’s common sense but you should check your dog’s water bowl regularly and fill it up whenever it’s low. If you take your dog for a long walk, please remember to pack water and a bowl to ensure he doesn’t overheat and suffer dehydration.

6. Try giving your dog cool snacks

If you are at home or out in the garden try giving your dog a few ice cubes to lick or freeze one of his favourite chew toys.

7. Watch when you exercise

Make sure your dog doesn’t play too hard while in the sun. During particularly hot spells walk them early in the morning or later in the evening. And make sure they take breaks between playing. This includes swimming, particularly if your dog doesn’t venture into the water regularly. Swimming in a safe place can be fun but overdoing it can cause exhaustion, low blood sugar and ‘swimmer’s tail’ where the tail can be painful or immobile.

8. Check the pavement

On very warm days, there is a risk the pavement may be too hot for your dog’s paws. It’s worth checking the tarmac before you head out for a walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If that is the case stick to grass.

Image of a dog in the sea for Vets Now article on how to keep dogs cool in hot weather
During the heat of summer, dogs can't regulate their temperature like humans.

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9. Ensure there’s a shaded spot

If there are no naturally occurring shaded spots in your garden, or even in your house, create one by placing some cloth or cardboard over an area to keep the sun out.

10. Spray them with the hose or put out a paddling pool

If you’re using a paddling pool for your dog, remember to test the temperature. It takes a lot longer for water to warm up than it does the surrounding air. When water is too cold it can cause dogs to become hypothermic.

11. Avoid long car journeys

If you decide to take your dog in the car, make sure the air conditioning is on or the windows are open. Also, take plenty of water and regular breaks for fresh air.

For more helpful advice on how to keep your dog cool in hot weather visit our heat stroke hub here.