Summer is finally here! Our dogs are loving the longer days, and the longer walks that often come with it. However we need to be particularly careful of the dangers the hotter days can bring. Below are our vet tips on keeping your pet happy and safe throughout the summer!

What are the dangers of hot weather?

Heat stroke

  • This is where your pet’s body temperature becomes too high, and they overheat.

  • The risk of this is particularly high during excitement or exercise.

  • Dog’s cannot sweat all over like we do - they can only pant or sweat through their pads/nose. They can easily overheat because of this.

  • Mild cases show as vomiting or diarrhoea, while severe cases can lead to seizuring and death.

Burnt paws

  • Pavements and tarmac can easily become too hot in the sun, burning the feet of pets that walk on it.

  • Your dog may not realise they are burning their pads until it has happened, perhaps after your walk.

  • In severe cases this can lead to weeks of recovery with repeat bandages.

Sunburn

  • Your pet’s exposed areas can be burnt by the sun, and this includes the ears and nose especially.

  • Paler and shorter haired pets are more easily affected.

Do’s and Don’ts in Hot Weather

Do’s

  • Walk your dog when it is cooler, such as first thing in the morning or in the evening.

  • Take water for your dog when you go on long walks.

  • Perform a ‘Touch Test’ on your walk - if the ground is too hot for you to keep your hand on, then it’s too hot for your dog!

  • Use cooling pads to keep your dog cool.

  • Let your dog swim in cool water on walks, or use a pool in your garden.

  • Apply sunscreen to exposed areas of skin, to prevent burning - Aniwell FiltaClear and Lillidale Sunblock are some dog-friendly options.

  • If your pet is long-haired, consider giving them a summer trim!

Don'ts

  • Don’t walk your dog during the hottest parts of the day.

  • Don’t exercise your pet excessively - your dog does not know their own limits, so limit play in particularly active dogs during the hotter parts of the day.

  • Don’t walk your dog in direct sunlight for too long, and head to shady places wherever possible.

  • Don’t walk your dog on pavement or tarmac, but try to walk on grass/earth as much as possible. This will be cooler.

  • Never leave your dog unattended in cars or conservatories/greenhouses.

If you think your dog is affected by any of the above conditions then contact your vet immediately as heat stroke can be life threatening. If you need any non-urgent advice on products that can help your dog then please contact our Customer Services team.

Written by: Dr. Nick Garside BVetMed MRCVS