Top tips for staying safe in hot weather
- Provide shade and water – Make sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
- Plan your walks –Walk your dog in the early morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. This will reduce their risk of heatstroke. Be particularly careful if your dog is old, overweight or suffers from breathing difficulties.
- Do the five-second tarmac test –Tarmac can get very hot in the sun and could burn your dog’s paws. Check the pavement with your hand or foot before letting your dog walk on it – hold your hand down for five seconds, if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Don’t let them get burnt – Keep your dog out of direct sunlight where you can. Use pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your dog’s skin, like the tips of their ears and nose. Ask your vet for more advice if needed.
- Check ahead for adventures –If you’re planning a day out somewhere, check whether dogs are welcome. Some public parks and beaches may have Public Space Protection Orders or Dog Control Orders at certain times of year.
What to do if your dog overheats
If dogs are too hot and can’t reduce their body temperature by panting, they may develop heatstroke which can be fatal.
Heatstroke can affect any type of dog, but certain breeds and types of dogs are at increased risk.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs:
- panting heavily
- drooling excessively
- appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
If your dog is showing any of these signs, contact your nearest vet and follow their advice.
Emergency first aid for dogs with heatstroke
If your dog has collapsed or is struggling to breathe, call your nearest vet immediately. They can advise if your dog is suffering from heatstroke and what to do. While you contact your vet, here are some things you can do to help cool your dog down:
- move the dog to a shaded and cool area
- place them in the breeze of a fan, or in an air-conditioned room
- offer them drinking water
- start cooling them down by soaking their body with tap water, avoiding their face
- lie them on a cold wet towel or cooling mat, but don’t place a towel over them as this can raise their temperature.
Dogs die in hot cars
Think twice about any car trips with your dog. If you do have to travel with your dog, plan your journey.
Consider travelling at cooler times of the day, identify places to take breaks and avoid congested roads or busy times of day when you could get caught in traffic.
Never leave your dog in a vehicle.
A dog could die in a hot car in just minutes. Winding a window down is not enough to help your dog stay cool.
What to do if you see a dog in distress in a hot car
In England and Wales
Call 999 and ask for the police.
Call 999 and ask for the police, and/or call the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) on 0300 099 9999.
Take down the registration number and contact An Garda Síochána on 112 or 999, or the National Animal Helpline on 0818 515 515 (Callers from outside the Republic of Ireland should use +353 43 33 25035).
In Northern Ireland
Call your regional Animal Welfare Officer or the PSNI on 999. Visit the ni.direct website for your regional Animal Welfare Officer contact numbers.