Your Dog and Hot Weather

High temperatures in the summer can be dangerous for our canine friends – they can overheat and may experience heat-stroke, which may be life-threatening. Summer can mean lots of fun times outdoors, but we must be aware of the dangers.

We all want to ensure that our dogs are safe, happy and healthy in the heat, so it’s important that all doggie owners are aware of the possible dangers and strategies you can implement ahead of time.

Getting Outdoors


For physical and psychological health, it’s important for both you and your pooch to get exercise outdoors even when temperatures are high, but dogs can suffer from dehydration, like humans, if they do not drink enough water. Dogs need to drink 33-65 ml of water for every kilogram they weigh, over the course of a day.

Walking Your Dog

Fresh water must be available at all times for your poochie. If you are taking him/her outside, you should take a bowl and a bottle of water for them to drink.

Give your furry friend a chance to stop and rest in the shade during your walk, especially when it is very hot. You and your dog may over-heat which can be dangerous for both of you.

Walking with your dog should take place in the early morning or evening when the air and ground temperatures are not as high. In the daytime, ground temperatures can be so high that your dog’s paws may get burnt. If the ground is too hot for your bare feet, then it will be too hot for canine paws.

Long walks with your dog during a heatwave can cause heatstroke and dehydration in your canine friend. High temperatures can put a strain on your dog’s body, especially if he/she is overweight, older, dark in colour or has medical problems.

Heatstroke – Symptoms

Heatstroke happens when the body cannot cool itself down and should be considered a medical emergency. Your furry friend cannot lose heat by sweating because they do not have sweat glands like humans. They lower their temperature by releasing heat through their noses and by panting. Breathing also helps to keep them cool and regulates their temperature.

Symptoms of heatstroke may include the following:

  • Increased heart and breathing rate
  • Seizures
  • Mild weakness, collapse or stupor
  • Difficulty breathing or excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting and bloody diarrhoea

If you see any of these symptoms and if your pooch has been out in the heat, you should immediately contact your vet. Some breeds of dogs are more likely to suffer from heat stroke than others. Those who cannot pant sufficiently, such as those with flat faces like pugs, cannot pant effectively in order to lose heat. The elderly, overweight and those dogs with heart or lung conditions should be kept out of the heat and kept in cool rooms, ideally in air-conditioning.

Heat Tolerance

We tend to believe that a short haircut helps to keep dogs cool in the summer, which is not necessarily the case. A trim is fine but shaving your dog deprives him/her of the protection of layers of fur which can in fact provide protection from the heat and from getting sunburnt. This is especially true if your pooch has a light-coloured coat.

Note that any product such as sunscreen or insect repellant should not be used on your dog unless it is labelled for use on dogs specifically.

More Tips for the Summer

  • Not all dogs are good swimmers so do not leave your dogs unsupervised around an accessible swimming pool. Dogs should be allowed to get used to a swimming pool gradually and should be rinsed off afterwards with clean water to remove the chlorine from their fur. Discourage your dog from drinking from the pool as most swimming pools contain chlorine and various chemicals which may not be good for them.
  • Never leave any pet alone in a parked vehicle. The temperature in a parked car can reach dangerously hot levels and can cause heatstroke in your pet in a matter of minutes. A window which is cracked open does not help.
  • Open, unscreened windows can also be dangerous as your pet may fall out. These open windows may let in breezes but pose a danger to animals. Keep unscreened doors and windows closed and ensure screens are secure.
  • If your pet is not protected against parasites, a visit to your vet is important to maintain parasite protection, especially in very hot weather.

And finally …

Going outdoors in the summer months is fun for us and for our furry friends, but heatstroke can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on your pooch in the heat and keep him/her as cool as possible. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your vet.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get to know your furry friend better! Sign up for all things dog- or cat-related.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.