How to keep your pets cool in Summer

As the summer season quickly approaches, it’s time to start thinking about how you can keep your four legged friends cool and comfortable as the temperature rises. Just like their owners, pets can also suffer from heatstroke when exposed to sun or warm climates for too long. Unlike us, pets can’t take off any layers to help cool themselves down, therefore, taking the necessary precautions to ensure your pet is protected from excessive heat is vital to keeping them happy and healthy so you can enjoy summer without worry.

Keep reading to discover our top tips for keeping your pets cool in summer, from being aware of when your pet is too hot to figuring out the best times of day to let your pet outside.

What temperature is too hot for pets?

Knowing what temperature is too hot for your pet is vital to keeping them safe in the summer heat. Generally speaking, cats are better at withstanding heat compared to their canine counterparts, however they are still at risk of overheating. Any temperature over 38 degrees is considered too hot for cats, whereas any temperature over 20 degrees can be too hot for dogs. If you are worried your pet may be overheating, it’s important you offer them a cool, shaded place to reside in so that they can bring their temperature back down to prevent heat stroke or illness. 

Signs your cat or dog may have heatstroke

  • Panting and distressed or noisy breathing
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Pacing and attempting to seek shade or water
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

If your pet starts to show any of these signs, it is likely that they have heatstroke and you should act immediately before their condition worsens. Take your pet to a cool or shaded spot that is well ventilated or has a fan and offer them water. We recommend also pouring cool water on them or draping a cold wet towel over them to help bring down their temperature.

It’s important that you do not use ice cold water as this can have an adverse effect, causing them to shiver which in turn increases the generation of heat and will prevent blood flow, reducing their ability to cool down effectively.

If you are still worried about your pet's condition after following the above advice then it is time to seek professional help from your veterinarian who will be able to help further. 

How to prevent heatstroke in pets

In order to prevent your pet from being susceptible to heat stroke, follow the below steps:

  • Ensure your pet always has access to shade - giving your pet a shaded area inside or out that is well ventilated is essential to keeping them cool and comfortable in the heat
  • Choose their exercise time wisely - restricting your dog’s daily walk or your cat’s outdoor time to the times of day that are coolest is the best way to keep your pet cool in the heat - either early in the morning or late in the evening are best. Be mindful of peak temperatures through the warmer months and plan ahead.
  • Always have water available - just like humans, your pets will get dehydrated during the summer, therefore always having a bowl of water to hand both at home and on walks is essential - add ice throughout the day to keep the water cool.
  • Beware of hot pavement - remember that your pet’s paws are sensitive, therefore it’s important to check if the pavement on your walks or in your garden is too hot. A good way to measure this is to check the temperature on your hand. If it is too hot to hold your hand on, then it will be far too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • Never leave pets in a hot room or car with no ventilation - whether its a car, conservatory or south-facing room, any enclosed space that has direct sunlight can get far too hot for your pet. Make sure that they are kept out of these hot rooms for as long as possible throughout the day and always open a window to keep the space as cool and breezy as possible.
  • Make sure your pet is regularly groomed - if your pet has a thick fur coat, getting them groomed regularly throughout the summer will help to keep them cool. On the other hand, if your pet is hairless, they will require regular application of pet-friendly sunscreen to ensure their skin is protected against the sun.

How do indoor pets keep cool in summer?

Keeping your pets cool indoors during summer is vital to ensuring your pets are as healthy and happy as possible in the heat. As mentioned above, ensuring your pets have a shaded, cool and well-ventilated room indoors to relax in is essential, the best way to do this is to;

  • Choose a room that gets minimal sunlight throughout the day
  • Invest in thermal curtains that help to keep the heat out of the room
  • Open the windows for a cool breeze form outside or use a cooling fan
  • Give your pet a cooling mat or bed and a constant supply of water

Dog cooling mats and cooling beds

All For Paws Chill Out Always Cool Dog Mat £14.89 and Scruffs Cool Chilling Dog Pet Bed - All Sizes £32.99  

Cooling mats are a convenient and easy way to help keep your pets cool, from dogs and cats to rabbits and hamsters, cooling mats are suitable for all pets to help keep them cool and comfortable in hot weather. This All For Paws Chill Out Always Cool Dog Mat helps to maintain your dog’s health and happiness during summer, helping them to keep them cool when they need it most. Made from high quality, extra tough PVC and filled with cooling gel, this cooling mat provides an ideal place for your dog to rest and play in hot temperatures.

Suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, the unique and innovative self-cooling technology helps to keep the mat surface cold, no matter how hot it is outside, even under direct sunlight. Easy to use and safe for all cats and dogs, this cooling mat helps your pet to maintain a healthy body temperature and prevent overheating so your pet can play, rest and relax freely, no matter the weather.

During the summer, your pet needs a cool surface to relax and sleep on to ensure they are getting the best rest possible in the heat. This Scruffs Cool Chilling Dog Pet Bed features a soft foam base, covered in breathable mesh for enhanced comfort and improved airflow. Designed to support your pet and provide relief on warm summer days, this cooling dog bed includes an inner self-cooling mat, filled with non-toxic cooling gel to keep the surface 5-10 degrees cooler than room temperature. When in use, this innovative mat will maintain its cooling properties for up to 1 hour depending upon the environment it is placed in. To reset the mat's cooling properties, simply leave it unused for an hour and it’s good to go again.

Cooling dog toys

Rosewood Chillax Cool Soak Ball £8.29 and Rosewood Chillax Cool Bone - All Sizes £7.29  

Another great way to help keep your dog cool in summer is to give them a cooling dog toy to chew on throughout the day. This Rosewood Chillax Cool Soak Ball  is a tough rubber toy, designed to be filled with water and frozen overnight so that when it comes to play time in the sun, your dog can enjoy its cooling capabilities. Featuring ridges to help massage teeth and gums, this toy is not only great for playing fetch but can provide a satisfying and cooling toy to chew on a hot summer's day.

Similarly, Rosewood also offers the same cooling toy in a durable rubber, bone shape with the Rosewood Chillax Cool Bone . Designed to satisfy your dog's need to chew whilst also helping keep your dog cool in the sun. Fill the bone with water and freeze overnight - easy to refill and reuse as necessary, this toy will become your dog’s new favourite throughout the summer.

When should you not walk your dog in hot weather?

As mentioned previously, it’s important to avoid walking your dogs in the middle of the day when the temperature is at its highest. Therefore we recommend that you avoid walking your dog between the hours of 11am and 5pm during the summer months. Instead, choose to give them their daily walks in the early morning and as late in the evening as possible when the air is cooler. 

If walking your pet in the heat is unavoidable, then we suggest choosing a largely shaded area such as a wood or forest and opting for a cooling dog coat or cooling bandana to help bring down your dog’s temperature.

Cooling dog coats 

Animate Pet Dog Cat Cooling Coat Jacket For Dogs £13.79 and All For Paws Chill Out Ice Dog Cooling Bandana £7.29 

This Animate Pet Dog Cat Cooling Coat Jacket For Dogs features water-activated technology that lasts up to 4 hours and can be easily reactivated after use - simply soak in cold water and wring off the excess then place on your pup. Highly absorbent, antibacterial and easy to wash, this cooling coat is ideal for hot summer days in the sun, whether your dog is relaxing in the garden or on their daily walk, this will likely become your pet’s new summer essential. 

If your dog isn’t the biggest fan of wearing coats but you still want an easy way to help keep them cool then the All For Paws Chill Out Ice Dog Cooling Bandana offers a perfect alternative. Simply soak the bandana in cold water and place it around your dog's neck - featuring a simple velcro fastening for easy-wear, this bandana is a fuss-free way to help prevent your pup from heatstroke during the summer.

Let your pet enjoy the summer sun safely with Direct4Pet

With all of the knowledge and advice from our pet experts on keeping your pet cool in summer you’re ready to go and enjoy the sun with your pet without worry. Simply follow our advice and browse through our range of pet products for dogs, cats and small animals to ensure your pet is kept, happy, healthy and cool all summer long.