Tips to keep dogs cool in a heatwave

Have you heard? Britain’s having a heatwave right now, which of course means none of us can stop talking about how hot it is. We spend our waking (and sleeping) hours sat in front of fans and consuming ice lollies in an attempt to stay cool, but what about our four-legged friends?

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Dogs don’t have the ability to sweat so can struggle to cool themselves down on particularly hot days. So with Sunday set to be the hottest day of the year so far, it’s time to get prepared so you can help your canine pal stay as cool as possible.

Whether you’re at home or out and about with your dog, there are plenty of things you can do to help pups stay safe in hot weather. Below, pet expert and founder of, John Smith, shares his essential tips to keep dogs cool in a heatwave.

READ MORE: Aldi and Morrisons launch ice lollies and ice cream for dogs

How to keep dogs cool in a heatwave

Be breed aware

‘Dogs generally have poor cooling systems and can’t sweat like humans. Panting is the only way they can attempt to cool down but dogs with short muzzles have even less area to allow heat loss. The dog breeds that are most likely to suffer from heatstroke are the Chow Chow, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Greyhound, Dogue de Bordeaux, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pug, Golden Retriever and the Springer Spaniel.’

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Cooling down quickly

‘If your dog is panting heavier and faster than normal then take urgent medical action. Move your dog to a shaded area and offer small amounts of water. Lie the dog on a wet towel and wet with tepid water, directing a fan on the dog or if you’re in the car, switch the air con on. This is the safest way to cool a dog down quickly. If the dog is really struggling, then you must call a vet immediately as every second counts – dogs can die in as little as 15 minutes.’

Road trip rules

‘If you’re traveling with pets, try to plan a 30-minute pit stop for every three hours of driving, allowing your pooches to stretch their legs and get some essential fresh air. Ensure your pooch is completely secure by using a suitable car harness, seat belt, crate or other dog guard to prevent bolting from the car as soon as the door is opened in service stations and other unfamiliar environments.’

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Camping considerations

‘As a rule of thumb, tents and caravans are around 5-10 degrees hotter than the outdoors. So while it may be tempting to leave puppies in the shade, the rising heat can actually be even more dangerous than outside. Ensure indoor spaces are as cool as possible, with plenty of water available and never leave your pups inside unaccompanied. Cooling mats are a great investment and a great way to ensure your pup stays cool and comfortable even on the hottest of days.’