Keeping your dog cool in the hot weather

As the weather is getting hotter and summer is finally here, it is important to consider how the weather can start to affect our dogs. With the temperature set to hit new highs, particularly in the south, we must follow steps to keeping our dogs safe and still able to enjoy the warmer weather. 

Just like us, our furry friends love a relaxation in the sun and we won't be the only ones trying to escape to the Costa Del Salford or Scarbados. Unfortunately, too much sun and heat exposure can become an issue for our dogs. Follow our  top tips and advice on how to avoid problems and keep your dog safe this summer. 

How hot is too hot?

A chart to show how the heat and summer sun can impact a dog

This chart helps show at what temperature it can become unsafe for dogs to be exposed to the sun and hot weather. Make sure you are aware of this point for your dog and their individual breed. 

*Brachycephalic breed - defined as a dog with a short-muzzled, short-nose and flattened face for example; Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boxer etc. 

Top tips for keeping them cool and safe

Take them for walks early in the morning or late in the evening

Walking your dog in hot weather can be very unsafe so it is best to avoid the heat of the day which generally falls between 12pm - 4pm. We would recommend walking them early in the morning before the air has time to heat up and the ground is still cool. The temperature of the floor is very important to consider. When it is very hot it can burn through a dogs paw pad which can be painful and dangerous for them. 

If early mornings aren't preferable for you, walking your dog in the late evening once the sun has began to set is the next best alternative. The air and ground should be cooler, making it an acceptable time to take your dog for a walk. If you are unsure, we recommend testing the heat of the pavement with the palm of your hand and if you struggle to keep it there without discomfort or painful it should be okay for your furry friend to walk on it.  

Use cooling equipment and clothing to help keep them cool 

Investing in the safety of your dog by purchasing a cooling bandana, mat or jacket. These are great tools which can be used to keep dogs, who insist on laying in the sun, cooler for longer. Most of these can be purchased at a local pet shops or online. Alternatively, you can use an old flannel or towel to get similar results. 

Extra top tip: Once you have soaked the jacket, mat or towel in cold water, leave in the freezer for a couple of minutes to help get it extra cool so that the cool temperature lasts longer for your dog. 

dog with a cooling jacket and ice cubes

Freeze their food or make frozen dog snacks

Frozen snacks are a great way to cool dogs and also keep them occupied - bonus! There are many ways you can experiment with freezing snacks and food, one of our favourites is to freeze peanut butter and our Semi-Moist Roast Chicken onto a licky matt keeping them entertained for a good hour. Ice cubes are a fun toy for your dog to play with and it also helps to hydrate them. Adding fruit to the ice cubes or using vegetable/animal stock to make them can create extra fun and excitement for your pooch. 

See what you can create to keep them entertained!

strawberry and blueberry ice cubes a safe treat to cool dogs down

Keep them hydrated

One of the most important things is to remember to keep your dog hydrated. We'll admit this can prove quite difficult when trying to get them to drink from their bowl. Make sure their bowl is always full with water so when they do decide it's time for a drink, they have access to cool water. 

As we know, most dogs love to play a game, so make hydration fun using ice cubes, soaking their favourite Finn the Fox toy or putting the sprinkler on for them to run through which will help them to take more water in without really noticing. All these things are great ways of keeping them cool and safe in the hot weather. 

We would always recommend carrying a portable water bowl and cool water bottle when walking in hotter times of the day.

dog running through sprinkler

Other ideas:

  • Get them groomed before the hot weather starts to thin their coat and remove excess hair. 
  • Avoid leaving them in the car. If you must, make sure it is no longer than 15mins and either leave a window open or the air conditioning on.
  • Keep games like fetch to a minimum in the heat of the day. 
  • Make sure they always have access to a shaded area and entice them to sit their rather than in the sun (however hard it may be).

Most importantly, know the signs of heatstroke in dogs: 

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Confusion
  • Uncoordinated movements

If your dog shows any signs of these symptoms, make sure you seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.


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