Summer loving… for your pets

The sun is out, we have our shorts, t-shirts, and sunscreen on and are enjoying the warmth on our skin, but if we get too hot, we regulate our temperature by sweating or we have the choice to take shade or go indoors.

So how do our pets differ? Firstly, they cannot sweat like we do so regulation of body temperature is more difficult and secondly, as their carers often we make the decisions for them.

So, what can we do to help over the warmer months?

Just a few simple rules will ensure you pet is cool, comfortable, and healthy this summer.


  • Walk either early in the morning or later in the evening, a short walk at that, avoid running or cycling with your dog. Remember if you put your hand on the pavement and it’s hot, it’s hot for them too and pads can burn!
  • As with humans lots of water and a cool or shady place to be is in order, ideally do not leave outdoors all day and if leaving in doors whilst you are out, close the curtains, leave a window open and ensure the water bowl cannot be knocked over.
  • Do not leave your dog in a car, even with a window open. According to the RSPCA, if it's 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside a car.
  • A good haircut is necessary when it is warm so book that appointment with the groomer.
  • Like humans, dogs with pale skin burn so pet sunscreen on noses and ears can help protect when out and about.
  • Pay special attention to keeping cool the elderly, sick, overweight, young, or dogs with long hair, short or flat noses.
  • Warning signs of heatstroke can be heavy panting, profuse salivation, a rapid pulse, very red gums/tongue, lethargy; lack of coordination, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting; diarrhoea, little urine production, and loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.
  • Check paw pads regularly - signs to look out for include; limping, or refusing to walk, pads are darker than usual or missing parts of the footpad, visible blisters or redness, licking and chewing at paws.
  • Do call us if your dog displaying any of these symptoms.
  • To cool your dog gradually, apply gently or spray cool water (not cold or icy) to the coat and skin, keep in a cool place with a fan if you have one, and let it drink small quantities of cool water, until its breathing has steadied


  • They may think they love to be in the sun, but they still need consideration to keep them healthy in the sun.
  • Consider keeping your cat indoors at the hottest time of the day – 10am-3pm.
  • As with dogs apply pet sunscreen to noses and ears to cats with pale fur and skin.
  • Again, as with dogs provide lots of water inside and out (cats often like water away from their food) and a cool or shady place to be is in order. Leave indoors in a cool room whilst you are out, close the curtains, and ensure the water bowl cannot be knocked over.
  • Cats will often find their own cool place to be (probably in the middle of the kitchen floor!), so do not worry too much if they stay there for some time. Remember they like to sleep up to 16 hours a day!
  • Keep playtime to a minimum on especially hot days.
  • If you are able, a regular brush or comb will help keep them cooler.
  • As you lock up for the day check your sheds, just in case one is taking a cat nap!
  • Warning signs of heatstroke are similar to dogs as above.
  • Do call us if your cat displaying any of these symptoms.
  • Move your cat to a cooler place. You can lightly spray with a cool (not cold or icy) water mist and use a fan to keep the area cool.

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

  • Let’s not forget our small furry friends. They are often kept outside so need special attention.
  • Keep runs in the shade and move in accordance with the sun and keep any hutches off the floor (perhaps with bricks) to allow air to circulate. If you cannot move the hutch or run, then ensure there is sun shelter such as an umbrella or tarpaulin to keep it shady.
  • If indoors keep a window safely open and ensure some areas are in the shade. Cardboard boxes are a favourite hidey cool place!
  • Regularly clean them and their hutches. In the heat the possibility of flystrike is more likely so check rabbit bottoms daily!
  • Ensure water is kept topped up and try offering water rich fruit and vegetables (not too many), as a supplement to their staple hay and grass.
  • Don’t be tempted to dunk your small furry into cold water. This could lead to shock! A cold tile or frozen water bottle wrapped in a towel so it is not in direct contact with the skin, in a shaded hutch can help them keep cool.
  • Rabbits and Guinea pigs also need a groom so a regular brush will ensure excess hair is removed and help keep them cooler.
  • Warning signs of heatstroke include drooling; taking short, quick breaths; acting very sleepy or lethargic; unconsciousness; having fits
  • Do call us if your rabbit or guinea pig is displaying any of these symptoms.
  • Move to a cooler place and spray a cool (not cold or icy) water mist and use of a fan in the room can help.