How to keep your dog cool in the heatwave

How to keep your dog cool in the heatwave

Published at 11:13am 23rd June 2020. (Updated at 11:21am 23rd June 2020)

6 minute read

Dogs Trust Salisbury have got some top tips to ensure your four footed friend stays safe and happy as temperatures soar.

The Uk's largest dog welfare charity says it's important owners are aware of the dangers of overheating.

If dogs are too hot and unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they will develop heatstroke which can be fatal. 

Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke than others – such as very old or young dogs, those with thick heavy coats or those with short, flat faces (such as Pugs and Boxers). Dogs with certain diseases or on some types of medication are also more prone to heatstroke.


The charity advises:

  • Avoid walking or doing activities either indoors or outdoors with your dog at the hottest times of the day, so early morning or later in the evening is often best.
  • Always take plenty of water with you when out with your dog and make sure they have access to fresh water at home at all times. 
  • Tarmac can get very hot in the sun - check it with your hand before letting your dog walk on it so they don't burn their paws. Try the 'seven-second test' - if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws
  • If you need to take your dog out in the car, even if travelling a short distance, avoid travelling during the hottest times of the day and never leave your dog in a car on a warm day. Not even with the window open.  
dog cooling off in river
A walk in the evening with a river dip!


Dogs Trust says that having fun with your dog indoors can be just as stimulating as a long walk, but owners still need to be aware that they need to make sure their dogs stay cool indoors too, so choosing the coolest room in the house, staying out of direct sunlight, always having fresh water available and making sure your dog has somewhere cool to relax and sleep.

To help owners keep their dogs entertained whilst we are all spending more time at home the charity has come up with eight fun ways to have fun with a cardboard box and tubes (like those you'd find in a toilet or kitchen roll).

  • The paw-fect figure 8: Get two boxes and set them out a little distance apart. Hold your dog's treats or a favourite toy in one hand and slowly start to move them in a figure of eight around the two items, swapping the reward into your other hand at the centre point. One arm will guide your dog around the item to the left and the other arm will guide your dog around the item to your right. Repeat several times until you've got the movement smooth and well-rehearsed!
  • Digging deep: Shred or scrunch up newspaper or any paper items and pop them in an empty box. Drop in some treats or toys, and watch your dog dig away!
  • Paws-up: Can you get them to put their front feet on the box? Their back feet? Can you get them to run round to the left, to the right? Can smaller dogs sit in the box? Think outside of the box and we're sure you won't be able to contain yourself with all this fun!
  • Bowling balls: Create a 10-pin bowling alley with spare kitchen roll tubes. Have a competition and see how many pins you can knock down vs. your dog!
  • Snoot challenge: next level - remember the original snoot challenge where you had to make a circular shape with your hands and wait for your pooch to run up and put their nose through the hole? Building from this, cut a hole out in your box and see if you can get your dog to poke their nose through it! *boop*
  • Teach your dog to read: for starters write different words (e.g. sit, down, paw) on different boxes that you want your dog to learn. Say the word that's on the specific box in front of them, and ask them to do what the word says. When your dog does as you've asked, reward them with a tasty treat and repeat several times until your dog has associated the new word, with the specific box!
  • Tunn-els of fun: Cut the sides of a few boxes and line them up to make your very own DIY tunnel. Encourage your dog to go through with the promise of treats or their favourite toy at the end of the tunnel!
  • Jog your dog's memory: Lay out multiple boxes in a semi-circle and pop a treat in one of them, making sure your dog is watching. Hold up a sheet to block your furry friend's vision, drop and then see if they remember which box the treat was in! Repeat the game and change the box with the treat in, see how many times they get it right!
    dog paw high five
    Time to teach your dog to high five!

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, says:

 "There are so many things we can do to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy in hot weather, but it is crucial we keep a close eye on them, even if we are playing indoors as many of us are at the moment. 

"If you want to spend time in your garden with your dog, make sure they have plenty of shade and if they have shown they are comfortable around water, introduce them carefully to a shallow paddling pool in the shade."

dog paddling pool
Cooling off!


Despite the age old message some owners still fail to grasp how dangerous it is to leave a pet in a car on a warm day.

When it is 22°c outside - within an hour - the temperature in a car can reach an unbearable 47°c.

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden,

"If you do need to head out in the car with your dog, please be very careful. As little as twenty minutes can prove fatal if a dog is left alone in a car on a warm day. 
"Many people still believe it's OK if the windows are left open or they're parked in the shade, but the truth is, it's not and we strongly advise that dog owners never leave their dog in a car on a warm day, even if it feels cool outside."

If you see a dog in a car in distress, Dogs Trust advises that members of the public call 999. 

Signs of a dog suffering from heatstroke include excessive panting, heavy salivation, vomiting or diarrhoea, lack of co-ordination or loss of consciousness. 


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