How to keep your pets cool in the summer – warning signs to look for in hot weather – The Sun

SUMMER is finally here, with Brits basking in glorious sunshine once again as another heatwave hits.

Although most of us love the heat, it's important to know how we can keep our beloved pets safe as dogs and cats can struggle as temperatures soar.

What are the signs my cat or dog are struggling in hot weather?

Just like humans, animals can get dehydrated and lose their appetite when they get too hot.

This is not a cause for concern unless the change is dramatic and/or they start vomiting after meals.

Dog breeds that are more likely to suffer in the heat include: pugs, bulldogs, greyhounds and any with thick fur coats.

It is also important to remember that dark-haired dogs will absorb more heat through their fur and that light-haired dogs are more susceptible to sunburn.

What signs should I look out for?


  • Heavy panting
  • Stumbling or disorientation
  • Lying down more often than usual
  • Their tongue may fall out of their mouth
  • Their tongue or gums may become a bright pink or red
  • They may have a dry mouth with a mucus-like build up


  • Heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Lying down more often than usual
  • Restlessness or always trying to find somewhere cool
  • Stumbling or disorientation
  • Sweaty paws
  • They may excessively groom in an attempt to stay cool
  • Their tongue or gums may become a bright pink or red

How can I keep my pet cool in hot weather?

It's important to remember your pets can't tell you when they're suffering.

But there are lots of easy things you can do to ensure your little animals stay nice and cool during the summer.

Here are some useful tips…


  • Make sure they can always access plenty of fresh water
  • But don't let them drink too much too quickly or they may throw up
  • Avoid walks around midday – when it's likely to be the hottest
  • Avoid strenuous exercise between 11am and 4pm
  • Move your dog somewhere cold and shaded if they get too hot and sponge cool water on their abdomen, armpits and feet
  • If you leave them inside, ensure they can access a shaded area
  • Avoid walking your dog on dark, hot surfaces that absorb sunlight as it will burn their paws
  • Don't feed your pooch within an hour either side of exercise as this could cause bloating and gastrointestinal problems
  • If your dog doesn't have much hair, apply sun cream to exposed skin – particularly around their ears
  • If your dog has a lot of hair, consider trimming its coat to help it cope with the warmer temperatures
  • Cooling coats are also an option – these are jackets that can be refrigerated and worn by your dog to keep them cool


  • Ensure they have plenty of fresh water
  • Brush them regularly
  • Put a fan or air conditioning on to keep areas cool
  • Move them somewhere cool if they have failed to do it on their own
  • Make sure there is always access to shade outside
  • Try and restrict them from going out between 11am and 4pm
  • Feed them little and often – food left out in the heat can gain bad bacteria and make them sick
  • Cats can burn too so apply lotion to them if they have very fine or little fur – the ears are often a problem area
  • Trim their coat to keep it short

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