How do you know if your pet is coping with the heat? Warning signs to look for and how to help your animals stay cool in the sun

A SUNNY day in Britain is a long-awaited treat that should be savoured – but for many pets the summer can be miserable.

Here are our top tips for keeping your canine and feline friends cool in the heat.

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Dark pavements can get extremely hot and hurt little paws – think walking across burning sand with bare feet. Try and limit the times they go out and never walk them on dark flooring in the heat of the day[/caption]

How do I know if my dog or cat is struggling in the heat?

Just like humans, animals can get dehydrated, angsty 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.

Some other signs to look out for are:


  • 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

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

SWNS:South West News Service

Many people invest in paddling pools for their dogs to cool down in, you can also get a damp sponge and dab their paws and belly with it to try and reduce their temperature[/caption]


  • 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

Cats are more likely to adapt better to hot weather than dogs are.

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Animals can get sunburnt too, it is advisable to apply sun cream to their ears or all over if they are a no-haired breed of cat, for example, or your pet has recently been shaved[/caption]

How can I help my cat or dog stay cool in the heat?

One of the most important things to remember for both is never to leave them in a hot place from which they cannot leave.

So, never leave them locked in a conservatory (the glass will have a greenhouse effect) or a car (animals should not be locked in cars no matter what the weather but especially not in the heat).

Other ways to help your pets stay cool include:


  • Make sure they can always access plenty of fresh water
  • But don’t let them drink too much too quickly or them 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 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
  • Don’t feed your pooch within an hour either side of a 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
  • Avoid walking them on dark pavements or areas likely to have absorbed a lot of heat as it will burn their paws

Things worth noting:

  • Dogs might lose their appetite in the heat. This is not necessarily a problem unless they consume significantly less food or vomit after eating
  • Dogs with black or brown coats will absorb more sunlight and overheat more quickly
  • Dogs with lighter coats, however, ware more likely to get sunburnt
  • Don’t annoy or irritate your dog in hot weather – like humans, they are more irritable in the heat
  • Breeds that typically overheat include: pugs, bulldogs, greyhounds and any thick pup with thick fur – but any dog can suffer in high temperatures
  • NEVER lock you dog in the car, no matter what the weather as this can severely dehydrate and overheat them
  • Conservatories are susceptible to greenhouse effects and can get unbearably hot in the sunlight, so avoid locking your dog in there

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Feeding times are even more important in the heat, as you don’t want to induce vomiting and dehydrate them further. Don’t feed dogs an hour before or after they have been out and for cats don’t leave wet food out in the heat – little and often is best[/caption]


  • 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 11 am and 4 pm
  • 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

Things worth noting:

  • Like dogs, cats may lose their appetites in hot weather. Again, this should not cause concern unless they consume significantly less or vomit after eating
  • Cats are actually better adapted to coping with hot weather than dogs and humans – they often sit in their litter trays to cool off as they know the sand can keep them cool
  • NEVER lock a cat in the car, no matter what the weather, as this can lead to extreme dehydration and overheating
  • Conservatories are susceptible to greenhouse effects and can get unbearably hot in the sunlight, so avoid locking your cat in there

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