1. Five tips for fun in the sun
2. Summer snacks for dogs
3. What to do if your dog overheats
4. Dogs die in hot cars
Keep your dog happy and healthy in warm weather with our five tips for safe fun in the sun.
1. Provide shade and water - Make sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
2. Plan your walkies - Walk your dog in the early morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. This will reduce their risk of heatstroke. Be particularly careful if your dog is old, overweight or suffers from breathing difficulties.
3. Do the seven second tarmac test - Tarmac can get very hot in the sun and could burn your dog’s paws. Check the pavement with your hand before letting your dog walk on it — hold your hand down for seven seconds, if it's too hot for you, then it's too hot for your dog's paws.
4. Don't let them get burnt - Keep your dog out of direct sunlight where you can. Use pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your dog’s skin, like the tips of their ears and nose. Ask your vet for more advice if needed.
5. Check ahead for adventures - If you're planning a day out somewhere, check whether dogs are welcome. Some public parks and beaches may have Public Space Protection Orders or Dog Control Orders at certain times of year.
Keep your dog cool in the hot summer months with summer snacks for dogs
Try these easy-to-make summer dog treats at home with our simple to follow recipes.
Summer dog treat recipes
What to do if your dog overheats
If dogs are too hot and can’t reduce their body temperature by panting, they may develop heatstroke which can be fatal.
Heatstroke can affect any type of dog, but certain breeds and types of dog are at increased risk, including brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds such as English Bulldogs, Pugs and French Bulldogs. According to recent research*, English Bulldogs are fourteen times more likely to suffer heat-related illness compared to Labrador Retrievers. Over a third of owners of flat-faced dogs reported that heat regulation is a problem for their pet.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs
- Panting heavily
- Drooling excessively
- Appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
If your dog is showing any of these signs, contact your nearest vet and follow their advice .
Emergency first aid for dogs with heatstroke
For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered, but this needs to be done gradually or they can go into shock.
If your dog has collapsed, or is struggling to breathe, call a vet immediately as they may advise attending as a matter of emergency rather than starting treatment yourself.
In milder cases, under the guidance of your vet, you can follow these steps to start lowering your dog's temperature: Cooling measures can also be followed whilst travelling to your vet.
- Move the dog to a shaded and cool area.
- Place the dog in the breeze of a fan, or in an air conditioned room.
- Immediately start pouring small amounts of room temperature (not cold) water onto the dog's body (cold water may cause shock).
- Lie them on a cold wet towel or cooling mat. Don’t place a towel or cooling jacket over them as this can raise their temperature.
- Allow the dog to drink small amounts of room temperature water.
Dogs die in hot cars
Think twice about any car trips with your dog. If you do have to travel with your dog, plan your journey. Consider travelling at cooler times of the day, identify places to take breaks, and avoid congested roads or busy times of day when you could get caught in traffic.
Never leave your dog in a vehicle. In just 20 minutes, a dog could die in a hot car. Winding a window down is not enough to help your dog stay cool.
If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, call 999 immediately.
In Northern Ireland, you can call your regional Animal Welfare Officer or the PSNI on 999. Visit the ni.direct website for your regional Animal Welfare Officer contact numbers.
Learn more about our Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign >
*research from the VetCompass Programme at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University.
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