Summer safety tips for dogs

Hot Weather Safety Tips: Keeping Your Dog Cool in Summer

As the weather heats up and we spend more time outside, it’s important to consider what rising temperatures mean for your dog.

We’ve put together a handy guide filled with summer safety tips for you and your dogs!

Caring For Your Dog in Hot Weather

There are several dangers that dog owners should look out for to keep dogs safe in the summer.


  • Garden poisons

  • Car journeys in the heat

  • Water dangers (such as blue-green algae)

  • Dehydration

  • Heatstroke or overheating

  • Sunburn (yes dogs get sunburn - especially on exposed skin)

  • Walks in the heat 

  • Stings and bites from insects or snakes

  • Barbecues

Dog Care in Summer

Worried about walking your dog in hot weather? Perhaps you want to check for things to be aware of, or ways to keep your dog cool? Here are some tips!

When is it too hot to walk a dog?

Vets recommend being very careful if temperatures rise above 19 degrees. Even at cooler temperatures, you will need to be cautious with older or overweight dogs as well as flat-faced (Brachycephalic) breeds. 

Stick to walking your dog in the cooler parts of the day. Try to walk before 8 AM and after 8 PM. 

Tip: Before heading out, put your bare hand or foot on the surface outside, if it’s too hot for you, it’s going to be too hot for your dog.

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

If you think your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, act immediately! Call your vet straight away. Here are some common signs of heatstroke in dogs:

  • Heavy panting

  • Excessive drooling

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Vomiting

  • Collapsing

  • Appearing drowsy or uncoordinated

If they show any of these signs, contact your vet immediately. 

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

Happy dog in pool

How Do I Keep My Dog Cool?

Your dog might be a bit of a sun worshipper, following the sun around the room and enjoying basking in the warmth. However, when they are outside, it’s important to make sure they don’t overheat.

Here are a few ways to keep them cool:


  • Always make sure they have access to cool, fresh water

  • Make sure they have access to shade or cool spots

  • Try freezing a kong or other treat toy such as a licky mat 

  • Don’t engage in throwing balls or anything too strenuous that may cause them to overheat

  • Give them a damp towel or cooling mat to lay on

  • Groom regularly to help get rid of excess hair at a time when they will be shedding more

If your dog is outside and it looks like they are getting too hot, bring them inside and find other activities to do to keep them occupied. Be especially careful if your dog is very small, a large breed, elderly, overweight or brachycephalic. The heat can be hard to tolerate for many dogs.

Read more tips about keeping dogs safe in the sun

Garden hazards for dog owners to be aware of:

When you spend time outside this summer, check that your garden is dog-friendly. There are a number of everyday garden things that pose a danger to dogs.

Common garden things that are poisonous for dogs:

  • Acorns and Conkers
  • Toads
  • Grass seeds and fertilisers
  • Holly and Mistletoe
  • Wild mushrooms and Toadstools
  • Some fruits
  • Composted food (especially if mouldy)
  • Spring bulbs
  • Ivy
  • Slugs and Snails

Want to know more? Check out the Kennel Club’s list of garden poisons

Travelling with dogs in hot weather

Wherever possible, avoid taking your dog anywhere when temperatures are over 20 degrees. 

If you have to, here are some tips for travelling with dogs in the heat:

  1. Always bring plenty of cool water to keep them hydrated
  2. Consider bringing a travel-safe cooling mat for your dog to lie down on.
  3. Use air conditioning to lower the temperature of the car whilst travelling.
  4. Consider using window sunshades for extra protection.

Remember: Never leave your dog in a hot car. If it can’t be avoided, park in the shade and leave the windows open. Have someone remain in the car with them and never leave them for more than a few minutes. However, we’d never advise leaving your dog alone in a hot car. This can be fatal very quickly.

Barbecue safety tips for dog owners

A barbecue can pose a real threat to dogs for a few different reasons:

  • If the barbecue is their level, they risk burning themselves on the hot surface.

  • Dogs shouldn’t eat foods that you might be barbecuing. For example, seasoning foods with garlic or topping with onions (not safe to eat).

  • Wooden skewers present a real danger for dogs as they can be very sharp!

  • A dog could choke on bones left over from meat or fish.

  • Disposable barbecues that are placed on the ground remain hot for a long time.

Read our dog feeding guide with tips on what foods your dog should avoid.

Enjoy a fun, safe summer armed with tips and advice to keep your dog safe and well! 

Remember: If you’re concerned about your dog, always consult your vet for further advice.

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