How to take care of your dog in the heat
This is how you help the dog in the heat
- Never leave your dog alone in the car
- Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water
- Be extra careful with old, sick and flat-faced dogs
- Long walks should be done when the weather is coolest, late in the evening or early in the morning
- Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can damage your dog's paws
- Remember it can get very hot on buses and other means of transport
- Be wary of your dog getting sunburnt
What to do if your dog gets over-heated
Dip your dog with great care in water or rinse the dog with cool water, about 15 degrees. Avoid ice cold water as it can worsen the condition. Ice cold water causes the blood vessels to constrict and reduces the effect of the cooling.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition
If your dog appears weak or confused, or starts vomiting, take them to the vet immediately. Meanwhile you can try to cool down your dog, as outlined above.
During the trip to the vet, your dog can be wrapped in wet, cold towels. Change the towels often to avoid them becoming warm. At the clinic, the vet can then continue the treatment to stabilise the body temperature and then gradually lower it.
Dogs in cars
Never leave a dog in the car on a hot day. It is not enough to have the windows down, as extreme temperatures can still occur.
It can also get hot in the car during a drive. Make sure to offer your dog water, have air-conditioning on, use sun protection on the windows and take regular breaks. Don't pack tightly around the transport cage.
Think about in the indoor environment
- Arrange a bed in a room that doesn't get too hot
- If possible a room with AC or a fan
- Curtains that do not let in sunlight
- Good ventilation
When temperatures rise, water is especially important. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water. Also take water with you when you go out with your dog, even on a walk.
No matter where you are; at home, in the country, on a walk, or at an outdoor restaurant - make sure your dog can lie down in the shade. Even the shade can get hot and other surfaces can reflect UV light, so it can be helpful to have a fan on as well.
Extra sensitive dogs
Be extra careful if you have an old dog or puppy as they are extra sensitive to heat. Sick dogs, such as dogs with heart defects, need extra care in the heat to. In general, dogs with abundant fur and black colour are also more sensitive to heat.
Dogs with flat faces have extra difficulty with temperature regulation and become overheated more easily and swell in the respiratory tract even with fairly mild heat exposure.
If you need to get out in the day, only take short rest laps. Longer walks and other types of stimulation or exercise are best done in the early mornings or late evenings when temperatures are lower.
Cooling vests and cooling pads/cooling beds
There is a wide range of products that, if used correctly, can help the dog in the heat. Water bottles or bowls that are easy to carry are good for all dogs. You can also buy cooling vests and cooling pads or beds - commonly found in pet stores.
A cooling dip is nice for a dog when it's hot. However, there is a lot to keep in mind when taking your dog swimming. Dogs are not allowed on all beaches. If you bring your dog to the beach, it is important that the dog can lie in the shade. Do not allow a dog to bathe if there is a risk of algae bloom. And keep in mind that not all dogs are always good swimmers. A life jacket is then a good aid, which should be worn even by the really good swimmers if you are on a boat or jetty.
Buses, trains and subways
It can get extremely hot on buses, trains and subways. Not all means of transport are equipped with air conditioning and can quickly become too hot for our dogs. Get off immediately if you notice it's too hot!
Dogs can burn in the sun, just like us humans. Sunburn on dogs manifests itself in the same unpleasant way; the skin becomes red and stings. Dogs may try to relieve the pain by licking themselves, which in turn can worsen the inflammation. If the dog seems to be in a lot of pain or if the problems worsen, you should seek help from your vet.
Related guides and advice
Keeping your pets cool and safe: Essential tips for hot weather care