How to keep your pet cool in the hot weather

As the warm weather approaches, see our advice below on keeping your dog cool.


Heatstroke can occur in dogs at any time of year if it is hot, not just in the summer months. If we are having an uncharacteristically hot day, regardless of the time of year, it’s important to keep your dog cool. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat to regulate their body temperature, so they rely on panting to keep cool. Never prevent your dog from panting by using a muzzle or similar. Dogs can suffer heatstroke within minutes, and in extreme cases it can be fatal. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, salivating and vomiting, and even collapse. If you suspect heatstroke in your pet, please move them to a safe cool place and contact us immediately for further advice. Do not cover your pet with cold water, this shock can sometimes do more harm than good.

Preventing heatstroke

Once signs of heatstroke show, the damage can already be done to your pet. It is important to prevent heatstroke altogether, following our advice below:

  • Walk/exercise your dog at the cooler parts of the day, usually early morning and evening times. Keep walks short, and don’t let your pet overdo it on a long run, especially if they are brachycephalic or short-nosed (such as bulldogs, pugs and boxers).
  • Ensure that your pet has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Refill as necessary throughout the day, and carry water with you on walks.
  • Never leave your pet in the car, even for a ‘short’ period of time. This is never safe, even if the windows are open.
  • If your pet shows any signs of overheating or heatstroke, contact your vet immediately. We can give you advice on what to do next.

Exercising your dog

It’s important that your dog gets plenty of exercise, to stimulate their physical and mental needs. If it is too hot to walk your dog, you can play games with them at home instead. Most dogs will enjoy playing with their favourite toy, or even learning a new command or trick! If you are walking your dog, please keep this to the cooler parts of the day, usually in the morning and evening. Do not walk your dog over the hottest part of the day, usually 11am-3pm. If your dog is outside, please make sure that they have access to shade, and plenty of fresh drinking water. Dogs paws can burn on hot pavements, so please take care to ensure that this doesn’t happen to your pet. As a general rule, if the pavement is too hot for you to place the back of your hand down for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for their paws.

Dogs in cars

If you see a dog trapped in a hot car, the official advice is to dial 999 and ask for the police. The police will see this as a genuine emergency, and advise you on what to do next. Please don’t ever break into a car to rescue an animal without seeking police advice, this could be seen as criminal damage.

Most importantly, we want your to have fun with your pets this summer, keeping them safe whilst you do. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us on 01204 525066. If your pet has suspected heatstroke we will always see them as an emergency.