Heat and dogs — give them a break

So, we have a bit of a heat wave in the UK. Unfortunately, there are, as usual, many dog owners that do not understand that extreme heat and dogs don’t mix well.
I was at the beautiful North Norfolk Holkham beach at the weekend. The weather was forecast to be fine and hot. So a trip to the sea was in order with Ziggy. A trip not to be taken lightly.

Here’s the thing — dog’s have fur coats. They wear them all the time. They can’t strip down in the heat. They struggle to regulate their temperatures. Therefore, it is up to us to help them.

So, back to Ziggy. We got to the beach early, around 10am — an early start for us humans but very important for Ziggy. We went to the beach and had a couple of hours fun in the water. By midday it was very hot. Time to get back to the air-conditioning of the car, more food and water for us all. Then back home. Yes — a fairly short trip but a very enjoyable one.

What was everyone else doing? Well, clearly, after having a nice lie in and a leisurely trip to the beach, the great unwashed were turning up now the temperature was really getting hot. There were tiny children, countless dogs all swarming to the now boiling beach. The small children were already crabby. It seems that many dog owners are not listening or, are not prepared to adjust how they do things when they have a dog or, a child for that matter.

Dogs can suffer with heatstroke, a potentially fatal condition. Something that is entirely preventable. Some of the signs:

  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing
  • Lethargy, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Excessive drooling
  • Glazed eyes
  • Weakness or seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Seizures or collapse

How to avoid it:

Never leave the pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes, and break the window if you see an animal trapped in a vehicle who is clearly in trouble (you might be in a little bother with the law but, you may save the dog’s life) .

Walk your dog before the sun comes up in the morning or after sunset and, if they are outside in the day make sure they have access to complete shade and plenty of water.

Avoid long car journeys.

Stay off hot pavements. As well as burning your dog’s paws, heat rising off concrete and asphalt can overheat smaller breeds.

Limit the walks. Too much physical exertion in hot weather can cause heatstroke.

Make sure your dog has plenty of drinking water to stop them becoming dehydrated and ensure they are drinking it.

Gently hose or sponge them down with cool water to lower their body temperature.

Consider using a rectal thermometer to take your dog’s temperature

If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, do the following:

The RSPCA say for the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.

  • Move him/her to a shaded/cool area.
  • Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan.
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Continue to douse the dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.

Once the dog is cool, take him/her to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

Failure to act promptly could result in the dog’s death.

Final thought — prevention is better than cure. Think about your dog before venturing out on hot days.

I make no apologies for posting this again.  Only yesterday, I saw 3 large dogs in the back of an enclosed truck – the sliding windows a few inches open.  It was extremely hot, however, the dogs owners – a few yards away, were queuing for coffee, while the’re dogs were, clearly, overheating.


Time – 11.30 – Temp – 30C.  This is NOT the time to take dogs out.  I have seen multiple idiots today with their dogs – walking them in extreme temperature on hot pavements, in the blazing sunshine. NO! NO! NO!

I make no apologies for posting this article again.  What is it that idiot dog owners do not understand – heat can KILL a dog.  In temperatures like we are experiencing at the moment – take your dog out early or a lot later in the evening – when it is COOLER.  Better still. get of your butts and take you dog to the nearest river, stream or sea and get them in the water to cool down.

C’mon people, THINK!