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Keeping dogs safe in the heat

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Dogs can overheat a lot quicker than humans in hot weather so it is essential to keep a close eye on your canine friend in the heat especially when being exercised, when out in the heat of the day with no shade and travelling in a car.


  • Your dog may show some or all of the symptoms below
  • Extreme thirst
  • Excessive panting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Bright red tongue and pale gums
  • Vomiting
  • Thick Saliva
  • Skin staying tented when pinched – sign of dehydration
  • Collapse or Coma
  • Increased heart rate 
  • High rectal temperature


Acting immediately to cool your dog down could be the difference between life and death.
  • Take your dog to somewhere cooler, into the shade, indoors or somewhere with air conditioning.
  • Cool your dog down. This can be done by covering them in wet towels which need to be changed frequently, Pouring cool (but not ice cold) water over your dogs head and body.
  • Encouraging your dog to lie down on a cold floor.
  • Don’t cover them with ice cold water as this can send your dog into shock.
  • Give them water to drink but don’t let them have too much too quickly.
  • Make your dog rest.
  • Seek medical advice if the symptoms continue or worsen, or if you are still worried about him

A few of years ago on a warm summers evening I was playing ball with our lively Springer Spaniel in the garden at the same time as talking to a friend on my mobile phone. I suddenly noticed she looked drunk and had started staggering about. I ended my phone call immediately, bought her indoors and called for Darren to help. The first thing we did was offer her some water then encouraged her to lay down on the cool kitchen floor tiles and rest. Darren soaked and wrung out her Ruffwear cooler coat to help bring her body temperature down. Within minutes she was looking much better and after a further drink and a good rest she was back to her normal self.
The whole experience taught me a lesson though, if I hadn’t been chatting on the phone at the same time as playing, I would have noticed her signs of over heating a lot sooner. Dogs as lively as spaniels would play all day given half a chance, so it is our responsibility as dog owners to limit the amount of play on a hot day, and recognise the signs that they have done enough.