Tips and Tricks to Avoid Heatstroke This Summer

2 June 2023


It’s starting to heat up here in the UK, and whilst many of us enjoy the heat over the summer period, it can be a danger to your pets. Animals are unable to cool themselves down and regulate their temperature like we can. Furthermore, they may not be able to move out of direct sunlight and find a cooler location by themselves.

Some dogs such as brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, breeds with thick coats, particularly young or old animals and animals with lung disease may be more susceptible to developing heatstroke than other animals.

There are some simple steps we can take to reduce the risk of our pets developing heatstroke in the warmer weather!

Walk your dogs at cooler times of day

Make sure to walk your dogs during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or late evening) and avoid exercising during the heat of the day. Always supervise any activity – some dogs may have too much fun and not know when to stop! Check the pavements aren’t too hot as they can burn your dogs’ paws too.

Always have fresh drinking water

Your pet should always have access to clean and fresh drinking water. You might find that your pet drinks more than usual during the hot weather, so make sure to keep them topped up!

Shade and well-ventilated areas

Shaded and well-ventilated areas are crucial for your pet during warm weather. This includes both animals that are housed indoors and outdoors.

Risk of sunburn

Pets such as cats can be at risk of sunburn, especially hairless breeds, or those with white or thin fur. Use a pet-safe sunscreen on vulnerable body areas and ask your vet for advice if needed.

Never leave your pet in a hot car or room

Temperatures within cars and rooms within your house e.g. a conservatory can rise to dangerously high levels very quickly, even on cooler days. Never leave your pet in a room or a car that is likely to get hot!

Maintain a healthy weight

Try to make sure that your pet maintains a healthy weight, as being overweight or obese can make animals more susceptible to heatstroke.

Watch out for signs of heatstroke

If your pet is showing signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, drooling, restlessness, and lack of coordination, please contact your vet immediately. Heatstroke in pets is an emergency and can result in organ failure and in some cases, even death.

For more information on heatstroke in dogs, you can access our collection within the BSAVA Library, which includes a number of resources for vets on how to treat a dog with heatstroke successfully.

For more tips to ensure your pet has a healthy and happy summer, read our latest blog post here.