The sun is beginning to shine and we can't wait to go outdoors to soak up the sun's rays. Whether you're off for a long trek through the countryside or simply chilling out in your garden, it's important to remember our furry friends can't cope as well as we do in the summer heat.

We’ve put together some handy tips and advice on how you can care for your dog in the warmer weather, along with some fun activities to keep them entertained, yet chilled below. You’ll also read about how you should never leave a dog in a hot car as well as what you should do if you think your dog has heatstroke.

To see what we're getting up to with our dogs this summer to keep them cool – keep an eye on our Facebook page and TikTok

Caring for your dog in the heat

Making a few small and easy adjustments to your daily routine can help keep your dog safe:

  • Always remember drinking water - no matter what the weather you should have clean water available for your dog to drink. At this time of the year, this is crucially important as you don't want your dog to become dehydrated.

  • Plan your exercise - you don't want to over-exercise your dog as this can make them overheat.

    Make sure they have plenty of breaks in the shade while out on a walk or when playing in the garden. Avoid playing games that will get them too hot – that's why enrichment toys are great because they keep their brains stimulated with little movement!

    The ground can also get extremely hot which can burn your dog’s paws (as well as cause them to overheat). Because of this, and the high temperature of the sun, it is best to walk your dog early in the morning and late in the evening when it is cooler.

    If you feel as though it is simply too hot for your dog to go on a walk, then do not take them. It is okay not to walk your dog if it is going to have a negative effect on their wellbeing, there is no need to feel guilty for it.

    However, if you do decide to walk your dog, don't forget to take water with you and test the ground temperature before you go. Simply place the back of your hand on the ground, if you can comfortably leave your hand there without it burning for at least 7 seconds then it should be okay for your dog’s paws to walk on. But remember, if you are unsure as to whether a walk is the right thing for your dog, then don’t risk it!
  • Keep your dog groomed - the shorter their coat, the cooler they are. Plus, it’s much easier to maintain if they decide to take a dip in the paddling pool or roll around in the mud!

  • Provide lots of shade - under umbrellas, behind windbreakers, provide shade for your dog however you can in whatever way you can! Never leave your dog in a suntrap with no shade as they could fall ill with heatstroke.

 Dogs die in hot cars

Never leave your dog in a car – it may seem like common sense, but every year many dogs become seriously ill or die as a result of being left in a hot car. Even with the windows cracked open, they are still too hot and should never be left.

In just 20 minutes, a dog could die in a hot car. If you see a dog in distress while in a hot car call 999 immediately.

What you can do to keep your dog cool

There are plenty of ways you can keep your dog safe and cool while having lots of fun - check them out below:

  • Paddling pools - find a shaded area and fill up a child's paddling pool full of water. Your dog will love splashing around and the water will keep them cool.

  • Frozen Kongs - pop your dog's beloved Kong toy in the freezer with their favourite treats inside and after a couple of hours take it out and chuck it outside in the shade. They'll have loads of fun licking the treats out of the Kong, while using a minimal amount of energy and keeping themselves cool. Check out our gorgeous Rosie tucking into a frozen Kong!

  • Spraying or gentling brush them with tepid water - fill a spray bottle with tepid water and regularly spray or gently brush over your dog’s coat. The water must be tepid and not cold as cold water will make the dog feel even hotter! 

  • Treat them to a cooling mat or a raised bed - available to buy from most supermarkets, cooling mats and raised beds are an easy way to keep your dog off the hot ground while they rest.

What to do if you think your dog has heatstroke

Dogs can very quickly become over-heated and start showing signs of heatstroke.

Heatstroke starts when a dog cannot cool themselves down (reduce their bodily temperature) by panting. Some dogs are more likely than others to start showing symptoms due to their age and breed. Very young or very old dogs are more prone to it along with dogs with heavy coats and flat-faced breeds. 

Heatstroke, if left untreated, can be fatal. So it is really important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Your dog may be suffering from a heat stroke if:

  • They are breathing faster and panting heavily.

  • They are barking or whining with signs of agitation.

  • They have an excessive thirst or are drooling excessively.

  • They have an increased heart rate.

  • You think that their gums or tongue are darker in colour.

  • Their eyes are glassy, they are showing signs of weakness or collapse.

  • They start to suffer from seizures or become unconsciousness.

If you suspect your dog may have heatstroke:

  • Contact your vet immediately.

  • Move your dog to somewhere cool and give them small amounts of tepid water.

  • Use wet/damp towels to cool the dog, placing them on their body, but never use cold water.

  • If you have a fan that you can place near the dog to cool it, use it.