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Its Cool to keep your Pets Cool!

Its Cool to keep your Pets Cool!

Well, we have finally had a few exceptionally warm days, so summer must have finally arrived...

Many people love to flock to the beaches to soak up the suns rays, often taking their beloved pooch with them. However sometimes when the sun is too intense, your dog may find the heat too much, and for them getting too hot can lead to them getting dehydrated, and they may even suffer heatstroke.

So please think twice on a really hot day.. and maybe consider that they might be better in your home, on a nice cool tiled floor, with plenty of cool water with ice cubes in, and out of the sun. Just NOT a conservatory unless they can move out of it if they choose to.

All dogs can suffer from heatstroke, but some dogs are more prone. Flat faced, short muzzled, older dogs, puppies, sick or overweight, small dogs, and especially thick coated dogs, can all remain vulnerable.

When dogs get overheated, the only way they can release heat is by panting (vasodilation), through their mouth, and through the limited sweat glands between their toes.


All dogs are at risk of dehydration, if they do not drink enough water. However it can also happen if they have been vomiting, had diarrhoea or been panting excessively through too much exertion.

Basic common sense advises you to walk your dog early morning before the sun gets too hot, or late evening... However on exceptionally hot days, it may even be too hot for a walk at all!

If you have a water sprinkler in the garden, some dogs love to play in this and keep cool, or a paddling pool that they can run in and out of as they choose.

Dogs love to lie on cool tiles which helps them cool down through their tummies and paws. Electric Fans are also great if you have one. Just be vigilant if they chew wires !

Dog cooling vests are available to buy, as well as cooling pads with cooling gel inside, which the dogs can lie on, again just remain vigilant if they chew !

Always remember that pavements and roads can reach excessive temperatures. If the pavement is too hot for the back of your hand.. it will burn your dogs pads.

Obviously black coated dogs are also more susceptible, as the heat will be absorbed through their dark coat more easily. Always remember to take bottled water for them.

Not wanting to state the obvious... But NEVER EVER leave your dog in a car.. Sadly yes, people still do..!! Don't underestimate how quickly the inside of your car can turn into an oven.. so please, please, just DONT do it.. It will kill your dog.

Symptoms of Heatstroke

There are many signs to look out for with a dog with heatstroke and dehydration.. They are as follows:

The most common symptom of dehydration is the loss of elasticity in the skin. Initially lethargic. Wobbly and unsteady on their feet. Excessive panting, possible vomiting and loss of appetite. Blood shot eyes, dark urine. Warm back. Dry and chipped nose. Xerostomia, this is when the gums lose moistness and become dry and sticky, and their saliva is thick.

In advanced cases the eyes become sunken and the dog can collapse in shock.

If your dogs appears to be suffering from any of the above, get them into the shade immediately, Indoors if it is cooler.

Do NOT douse them with ice cold water, as this can bring on shock. Cool water should be applied to their body.. especially their paws and under their armpits, of both front and back legs.

Encourage them to drink water, but don't force them. Gently wipe their face and nose with water.

If you can put them in front of a fan, this will help cool them down gradually.

Please ring the VET immediately, explain the dogs symptoms, and what you have done, and ask their advice.

The best motto is....If in doubt, don't take them out...!

Caged Pets

I would also like to mention Rabbits, Guinea pigs, and Cats who are also extremely vulnerable to heatstroke. Please ensure they are kept in the shade, especially caged pets. If kept in the garden, ensure they are in in a run with circulating air.. but most importantly with shade that will not disappear when the sun moves around. Leave plenty of water, not just bottled, but bowls too. Consider leaving some frozen bottles of water for them to lie next to if you can.


As well as keeping hutches in the shade. I would also remind Rabbit owners to remain vigilant for FLY STRIKE. Especially in the hotter weather. This is when blue bottle flies, lay eggs near the genital/tail areas of the rabbit. They can hatch out in as little as 8 to 14 hours, into maggots. They will kill your bunny if not treated by the vet... CHECK THEM TWICE A DAY, close to their skin and all around their rear end and tail. If you think your rabbit has this condition, get them to the Vets immediately. DO NOT DELAY.


Please also remember in the warm weather to leave water out for the wildlife. The birds and hedgehogs who may visit your garden, especially when there has not been much rain and the ground is dry, they need our help to survive.

Dawn Silverwood

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