With temperatures across the UK soaring, an experienced vet is warning dog owners to think very carefully about walking their pets to avoid putting them at risk of heatstroke – which can be fatal in some cases.    

Dr Karlien Heyrman, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, said: “Most pet owners know the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, but often people don’t realise just how life-threatening it can be to take them for a walk in temperatures as high we’re currently experiencing.  

“Sadly, research shows that more dogs die from heatstroke on a hot walk, caused by overexercise and dehydration, than from being left in hot cars. Heatstroke is particularly prevalent in dogs as they don’t sweat like humans to regulate their body temperature.  

“So, even if your pooch seems up for a walk, don’t be afraid to skip the stroll for some indoor fun to make sure they stay safe and cool. Dogs are able to cope with missing a couple of walks – it just isn’t worth the risk of them exercising when it’s too hot.”   

Dr Karlien adds that even when the summer weather is cooler, you must always be alert to these three things:     

Keep them hydrated  

Just like us, pets drink more when it’s hot to help cool themselves down, so it’s important to take some fresh drinking water on any walks.  

While drinking from a full bowl shouldn’t cause a problem, keep an eye on them if playing in a pool, river, or stream and move them on if you think they’ve had their fill. 

Keep them away from hot surfaces 

Surfaces like concrete, sand and asphalt can absorb a lot of heat on sunny days and can easily burn your pet’s paws, causing blistering and pain. 

You should check the surface temperature with the back of your hand before heading out on a walk, and it’s best to stick to routes with lots of grass or shaded areas such as woodland, as these are much cooler.  

Grass has cooling properties that mean it will always feel slightly colder, whether it’s in the sun or shade. Remember to look for natural grass, though, as the artificial type can heat up rapidly in hot weather.  

Be alert to signs of heatstroke  

Heatstroke can develop rapidly, so it’s important to know the signs to look out for, this includes reddening and warming of the ears, moisture around the nostrils, rapid breathing or panting, lethargy and any odd behaviour.  

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, you should contact your vet immediately for advice on how to cool your dog before taking them to the practice for further treatment.  


For more information on how to keep dogs cool, visit: https://www.petsathome.com/pet-talk/seasonal-advice/how-to-keep-dogs-cool-in-summer