How to keep dogs cool in the summer

June 19, 2022

A dog’s body temperature heats up a lot faster than a human’s. This means that even if you are feeling comfortable in the heat, your dog may not be so. In fact they can suffer from heatstroke in minutes. Here’s some advice on how to keep dogs cool in the summer.

Keeping dogs cool in the house

You might have noticed that during the summer months your dog chooses to sleep on the kitchen floor instead of in their comfortable bed. This is because the cold of the floor helps them to stay cool. Make sure your dog has access to somewhere nice and cool to sleep in the house on a hot day. If they are really hot, they may appreciate a damp towel to lie on. Give your dog plenty of drinking water – adding a few cubes of ice can help to keep their water nice and cold. Fill a Kong with your dog’s favourite tasty spread and then pop in the freezer for your dog to enjoy on a hot day.

Never leave a dog in a conservatory. Just like cars, conservatories can heat up really quickly and cause a dog to suffer from heatstroke.

Keeping dogs cool in the garden

On a hot day, your dog will prefer a nice shady spot out of the sun to sleep in. If you don’t have any shade in your garden your dog may be better off in a cool room in the house.

Lots of dogs love a garden paddling pool or something similar to splash around in. Be warned, if you have children they may find they have to share their pool with a shaggy dog who wants to splash and play!

Walking dogs in the hot weather

On hot days, it’s best to walk your dog during the coolest part of the day – early mornings and evenings. Avoid the hottest part of the day, which is between midday and 3pm.

If it’s a particularly hot day the pavement can get really hot and burn your dog’s paws. If the pavement is hot to touch, this means it will be too hot for your dog’s paws.

Finding dog friendly beaches

If you’re planning to take your dog to the beach, first make sure it is is dog friendly. Many beaches during the summer months do not allow dogs. Find out which beaches are dog friendly with this helpful dog friendly beach guide.

Your dog may enjoy swimming in the sea but it won’t be comfortable for them in the sun on the beach. Avoid taking them to the beach during the hottest part of the day. Go in the morning or evening instead.

Keeping dogs cool in the car

Despite the warnings every year, some dog owners are still unaware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a car on a sunny day. NEVER leave a dog alone in a car on a warm day, even for a few minutes. Dogs cannot cool themselves down in a hot car, even with the window open.

If you’re travelling in a car with your dog, here’s a few things you can do to reduce the temperature and help keep them cool: 

  • Switch on the air conditioning or open the windows to generate a flow of air
  • Put sun shades in your car windows to reduce the heat of the sun
  • Give your dog plenty of water to keep them hydrated
  • Get a cooling pad for your dog to sit on in the car. This can help to absorb your dog’s body heat and cool them down. However the mat only stays cool for a while and needs to be reactivated after being used in the car. You can also use a wet towel.
  • Make regular stops on longer journeys and spend some time in a shady spot.

Remember, this advice is for when you are travelling with you dog in the car. Please don’t ever leave them alone in a warm car, even to quickly pop to the shops. If you spot a distressed dog in a car on a warm day, dial 999. 

How to treat a dog with heatstroke

Dogs can suffer heatstroke within minutes, which can be fatal. Signs of heatstroke in a dog, include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Collapsed or vomiting

Some breeds of dogs, particularly those with short noses and flat faces, including French Bulldogs and Pugs, are particularly prone to heatstroke. Dogs with thick and heavy coats are also at risk of heatstroke.

If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, you should seek urgent veterinary advice and move them to somewhere cool. Douse your dog with cool (not cold) water to try to bring their body temperature down. If possible, cover your dog in wet towels and then use a fan to gently blow cool air onto your dog.

Once they have cooled down, you should get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

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