Keeping Your Dog Cool During a Heatwave - Vet Advice from Vet Dr Scott Miller

Dr Scott Miller holding dog

Keeping Your Dog Cool During a Heatwave - Vet Advice from Vet Dr Scott Miller

Keeping Your Dog Cool During a Heatwave


Pup-sicles and paw-l parties anyone?! 😎☀️

Although it’s a sunny day, it's also very hot for our dogs, which can be very dangerous if we don’t take the right precautions to keep our furry-friends cool!


Can my dog go out during a heatwave?

Unlike us humans, our dogs can't handle the heat as well as we can. Dogs sweat only through their paws and noses and rely on panting as their primary way of cooling down. Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke if temperatures are high enough 🥵🌡️

Our Vet, Dr Scott Miller, warns that heat stroke is a common condition in dogs in the British Summer, and can cause significant acute and chronic health issues. Many of our dogs are simply not used to the warmer weather when it finally appears, and with us enjoying the sunshine sometimes we can put our canine companions at risk of exposure to Hyperthermia. Older dogs or brachycephalic (flat faced dogs) tend to be more sensitive to extremes of temperature.

What can I do to keep my dog cool during a heatwave?

Dr Scott Miller, has advised plenty of ways you can keep your pet safe from these extreme temperatures and to make them feel more comfortable. Its important not to fully immerse them in water as that can shock them or turn overheating into shock and/or drowning. Instead, standing in cold water and scooping water over your dog can work well, otherwise find shade and dowse them in water from a water bottle. If at home, consider draping them in damp towels and use a fan to cool them. Allow you dog to drink as much as they wish and consider early or late walks and resting during the hottest part of the day to avoid heat stroke.

If collapsed, extend the neck, clear the mouth and vigorously massage the legs to maintain healthy blood flow. Always advise your Vet after an incident of hyperthermia, as your canine companion may show signs of ill health a few days after the event and should be monitored closely.

Some extra tips:

  • Keep your pet indoors and out of the sun ⛱️
  • Don’t shave your dog's coat! - although tempting, it's very important not to shave your dog's fur as this acts as an insulator; keeping your pet warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. Regular grooming can help them regulate their temperature, particularly if they have long or thick fur.
  • Walk your dogs early in the morning and late at night (feel the pavement with your hand to ensure it's cool)
  • Always ensure they have access to a full water bowl - you can add ice packs or cubes to their water, make pet ice lollies (pupsicles!🍦), flavour their drinking water, use a travel water bowl or bottle if you’re travelling
  • Add extra water to their food - soak their dry food and / or feed them wet food for additional hydration support
  • Circulate cool air inside using fans or air conditioning
  • Paddling pool or water sprinklers
  • Damp towels or cooling mat - providing a damp towel or cooling mat for your dog to lie on will help to keep your dog cool
  • Shaded areas in the garden - if your pet loves to be outside in the garden, ensure there are lots of shaded spots for your dog with access to water and their favourite toys and treats to keep them busy out of the sun.
  • Apply dog-friendly sunscreen to your dogs skin - Yep! Dogs can get sunburn too so don't forget to apply sunscreen to those sensitive areas on your dog’s skin (nose, ears, lips and stomach). Dr Scott Miller, advises sunscreen is a good idea if your white, light coloured or patchy furred dog is a sun worshipper, using suitable PH pet specific product which is safe to use in dogs.
  • Don’t leave your dog in a hot car 🚗


What are the signs my dog is struggling with the heat?

Dr Scott Miller, says that heat stroke can present itself as excessive panting that does not abate, distress, drooling or even collapse. If you think your pet may be in distress from the heat, we recommend contacting your vet for advice and they can then decide on the best course of action to take for your dog. Some symptoms which may indicate your pet is in distress are:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy (Not themselves!)
  • Prolonged lack of appetite
  • Inability to stand up


There's plenty of ways to safely enjoy the warmer weather with your furry-friend but if you're ever concerned, we always recommend calling your vet for advice and sup-pawt!



Vet, Dr Scott Miller and Barking Heads


Should I feed my dog treats? Our Vet Dr Scott Miller gives his top tips on healthy treating! Click here to read more.


*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*

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