Dogs Trust

Keeping Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

It is very important to keep your dog cool and never leave him in the car in warm weather.

Leaving a window ajar and parking in the shade actually does very little to lower the temperature inside the car. Just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal for a dog.

Dogs are unable to regulate their body temperature like humans can and older and flat faced dogs can especially struggle in the heat, so please take extra special care of your dog in the warm weather and read our top tips below.

Top Summer Safety Tips for Your Dog:

  • Avoid walking your dog in the middle of the day. Early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler is best and always bring some water with you. Most pet shops have portable water carriers that double up as a drinking device.
  • Test the footpath with the back of your hand for five seconds, if you can't hold it there, then it is definitely too hot to walk your dog.
  • If you are leaving your dog at home during the day, close your curtains/blinds to help keep the room temperature down and double up on the amount of water available on hot days to keep your dog hydrated.
  • Try to avoid long car journeys in hot weather. If you need to travel, avoid the heat of the midday sun.
  • Always take your car keys with you, even if you are just running back into the house to get something. The last thing you want is for your dog to accidentally lock himself inside your car on a hot day.
  • Consider using a car sunblind to provide shade and carry a ready supply of water at all times.
  • Apply pet sun cream to your dog’s easily burned areas. Avoid human sun cream as it can be toxic for dogs, so visit your local pet shop and get one that is made specifically for dogs.
  • Be extra vigilant with older or overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheating.
  • Never allow your dog to swim in or drink from stagnant water, as blue-green algae poisoning, which is more common in dry hot periods of weather, can produce toxins that are rapidly fatal.
  • Fresh, running water is safer for your dog to swim in but it is best to rinse his coat as a precaution afterwards.

You can also help your dog to stay cool by:

  • Adding ice to his water.
  • Freezing stuffed Kongs or K9 Connectables is an enjoyable way for your dog to keep cool.
  • Having a paddling pool in your garden – these can be purchased from children’s toy shops! If your dog isn’t a fan of getting his paws wet, try sprinkling in treats to encourage him into the pool.
  • Dampening a towel and placing it in the shade for your dog to sit on.

Visible signs of heatstroke in dogs may include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Red gums and tongue
  • Heavy salivation
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Lack of coordination or loss of consciousness

If you suspect a dog has heatstroke:

  • The very first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter, attempt to provide shade from the sun and move to a cooler area.
  • Use cool but not freezing cold water to help lower the dog's body temperature while seeking immediate veterinary advice!!
  • Your vet will provide you with further cooling instructions (please save the number and emergency number for your vet on your phone).
  • Wet towels can be used to help cool a dog but these must be regularly changed and not left on the dog to dry. They can also be used to help pour water over the dog's body if you can't find a sponge or get the dog to a bath or shower. Simply soak up the cool (but not freezing cold) water in the towel and squeeze over the dog.

It’s very important to remember that the inside of a car can reach 47°c in just one hour on a 22°c day, while at 26°c outside it can reach 37°c inside a car in the space of just 10 minutes.

ŠKODA Ireland have joined forces with Dogs Trust Ireland to highlight the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars during the summer months and kindly made this video: