Keeping your dog safe in warm weather

01 November 2018

As we move in to the warmer part of the year, it’s important to remember the impact high temperatures can have on your dog. With many parts of the country forecast to reach over 30C today, here’s some expert tips on advice to keep your dog cool, happy and healthy.

Keep dogs indoors

Unlike humans, dogs can cool themselves only by panting and sweating through their paw pads.

Keeping them inside in a well-ventilated room is the best option on a hot summer day.

Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water and shade

If dogs must be left outside, they should be given plenty of water and have constant access to shade, with the shifting sun taken into account.

Walk, don’t run

It’s important to remember that dogs need exercise, even when it’s hot, but it’s best to walk in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.

Also, do a ‘touch-test’ on pavements. If it’s too hot to touch with your hand, then it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

Recognising the signs of heatstroke

Heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heatstroke and become an emergency situation. Be aware of the signs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of response to commands
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High fever
  • Possibly vomiting/diarrhoea
  • Collapse. 

If you think your dog has heatstroke you must act quickly and calmly. Follow these steps from Dr Nicola Cotton, Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs manager of dog development:

  1. Move the dog to a cool, shaded area, ideally with air flow such as a fan or air conditioning
  2. Wet the dog’s coat with tap temperature water. Don't use iced water as this can impair the dog's ability to cool down initially and can cause hypothermia if their body temperature drops too far.
  3. Place ice bricks wrapped in damp cloths in the groin and armpits. Don't cover the rest of the dog as they rely on evaporation to cool down.
  4. Don't delay. Travel immediately to your nearest vet with the windows down or air conditioning on high.
  5. Call your vet on the way, so they are prepared to give your dog immediate emergency treatment. 

For more expert advice on keeping your dog healthy, check out our Expert Video Series: