Helping your pets to cope with the hot weather - Cockburn Vets Skip to content

Helping your pets to cope with the hot weather

It is important to keep your pet cool during hot weather to help prevent heat stroke and dehydration. These conditions, sadly, can make your pet seriously ill and can even prove fatal. Just as with people, the very young and the old, together with ill animals are most at risk. Those with breathing problems, particularly a condition called laryngeal paralysis, or with heart problems, also have a significantly higher risk. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting and heavy breathing leading to collapse, whilst dehydration causes dullness, lack of energy again leading to collapse. Additionally for rabbits hot weather brings with it the risk of fly strike or maggots. If you are concerned that your pet is suffering from any of these conditions please phone us for advice.

Some tips to help keep your pet cool

  • Make sure they always have access to clean cool water – try adding some ice cubes to the bowl to the keep the water cool
  • Make sure your pet has access to areas of shade if outdoors, or cool areas when indoors. Closing the curtains during the hottest parts of the days can help to keep the house cool and remember that downstairs will be cooler than upstairs.
  • Use fans to circulate cool air.
  • Use damp towels and cool mats. Dogs may also enjoy playing in a paddling pool or being cooled with a garden hose
  • Keep them calm – exercise on a hot day increases the risk of exhaustion and dehydration
  • Protect white areas on ears and noses using sun blockers as they are prone to sunburn and long term exposure can lead to cancer of these areas.
  • Only walk dogs very early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures cool down. Remember to check the temperature of the pavement using your hand – if it’s too hot for your hand then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws
  • Only transport your pet by car if it is absolutely necessary. If you really need to travel with your pet make sure the car has been cooled by the air conditioning before they get in. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle as the temperature inside a vehicle can be significantly higher than the temperature outside and can lead to heat stroke which can be fatal. Please remember that even what seems like a very short time can be too long!


If you find a dog or cat in distress inside a locked car please phone 999 and ask the police for advice. These situations are considered an emergency and the police will tell you the correct course of action to take. Breaking the window of the vehicle without permission from the police could lead to a prosecution for criminal damage.

You may also find the information on the following website useful.

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