Protecting Your Dog In The Summer Heat

Be dog heatstroke aware

With the weather hotting up, it is so important to be heat aware when it comes to our precious dogs.

Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes and cannot sweat through their skin like us humans. Dogs, instead rely on panting and sweating through their nose and paws to regulate their temperature.


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Signs of heatstroke in dogs:

  • Collapse
  • Excessive panting
  • Dribbling.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from the condition, move them to a cool place, preferably with a draught and no sun light, wet their coat with cool - not freezing - water, make sure it is room temperature (so they do not go in to shock) and contact your vet immediately.

Once a dog shows signs of heatstroke the damage is often already done, which is why it’s so important to prevent it.



Dogs in hot cars

Dogs succumb to heatstroke quickly. As above, they cannot sweat in the same way that people can and cannot keep cool as easily as we can. A car can become a dangerous oven very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it is 22°c outside - within an hour - the temperature in a car can reach an unbearable 47°c.

Never leave a dog in a car, even for a moment. "Not long" is too long. Even leaving the windows open will not stop the temperatures from soaring.

Please reference our Car Temperature chart below. at 37 degrees outside, within only FIFTEEN minutes temperatures can soar to over 60 degrees.




What to do if you see a dog in a car on a warm day...

According to The RSPCA, in an emergency, they may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, the RSPCA will always need police assistance at such an incident.

Don't be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform The RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.




How to help a dog in a hot car


  • Firstly, establish the dog's health and condition. If they're displaying any signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting, collapse or seizure then call 999 at once.
  • If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, your gut feeling may be to break into the car and rescue the animal.
  • According to The RSPCA, If you decide to do this, you must be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
  • On the phone to the police tell them what you intend to do and why. This can be backed up with any pictures or videos.
  • Also take names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. 
  • The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971)

How to keep your dog cool and prevent heatstroke



  • Make sure your dog has access to clean and room temperature water at all times. Make sure to keep it topped up throughout the day and always take water with you on walks
  • On hot days, walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening.
  • Remember, temperatures can get excessively hot for your dog's poor paws and they can burn their paw pads easily.
  • Keep an extremely close eye on your dog for signs of over-heating and heat stroke. This can include lethargy and excessive panting.
  • Of course, dogs will always pant more in the heat but if it becomes heavy panting then make sure your dog has access to a cool room or shade and plenty of water. 
  • Why not make some fun ice cold treats by freezing peanut butter in ice cubes or even put your dog's chew toys in the freezer! This will keep your dog cool and provide some great enrichment.


Emergency First Aid for dogs

According to the RSPCA, for the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually...


  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area
  • Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place them in the breeze of a fan
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
  • Continue to pour cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering

Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.



Stay safe with your pup this summer and always be cautious of the temperatures. Be safe rather than sorry. If you need any help or advice with your dog, please contact us for further information.



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