How Can I Help My Pet In Hot Weather?

Unlike us, cats and dogs only have sweat glands in their paws and around their nose which makes it difficult for them to regulate their temperature – this can lead to overheating and heat stroke on hot days.

To help keep your pet cool...

Make sure they have cool shaded areas to relax in and plenty of fresh cool water available. Keep your house cool and never leave them in a hot car. It can take as little as 15 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. Always have water with you when you take them out, and try to walk dogs when it’s cooler – either early in the morning or later on in the day when it’s cooler. Bear in mind that pavements can become extremely hot and burn their paws.

Heat stroke in cats and dogs

All cats and dogs can suffer from heat stroke, however, it's much more common in dogs, particularly those that are overweight or flat-faced breeds (French Bulldog, Pug, English Bulldog etc).

There are a number of possible reasons why we are less likely to see cats with heat stroke: they are generally smaller and more agile than dogs and find it easier to search out cool places to sleep, they don't go for walks with humans, they don't chase balls and they don't tend to get left in cars.

Signs of heat stroke

  • Fast and heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Dark-coloured (red or purple) gums or tongue
  • Excessive thirst
  • Very high body temperature
  • Weakness, unsteady or collapse
  • Seizures or unconsciousness

How to cool your pet down

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, move them to a shaded area and call your vet urgently.

NEVER immerse your pet in very cold water as this can lead to shock. The best way to cool your pet is by temporarily placing cool wet towels across their body and/or positioning them next to a fan. Allow your pet small amounts of water to drink and continue to cool them until their breathing starts to settle. Wet towels should not be left on for more than ten to fifteen minutes, otherwise they can start to heat them up rather than cool them down. Take them to the vet immediately for further treatment.

Please do not, under any circumstances leave your pet unattended in a car during a hot day.

For more information about heat stroke, please call your surgery.