Summer can be a difficult time for our furry friends, just imagine walking around in the heat of a summer’s day in a fur coat! Unlike us humans, dog’s cannot sweat through their skin, and instead, rely on panting and releasing heat through their nose and paws to keep cool. How to tell if your dog is too hot If your dog is too hot you may notice a few changes to his or her behaviour including: PantingDribblingTurned off foodDrinking more than usual How to tell if your dog has heat stroke Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs, and can be triggered by too much exercise in hot weather, being trapped in a hot environment (such as a conservatory or car) or it can even be down to their breed. Flat faced breeds such as pugs and heavy-coated breeds tend to struggle more in the heat. Even if treated quickly, heatstroke can still kill. Signs of heat stroke include: Bright red gumsSeizuresWobblingHigh body temperature (40°C and over)Collapsing It’s important that as owners, we take steps to protect our pets from heatstroke and keep them feeling calm and cool in warm temperatures. Here are our top tips for keeping your dog cool in the summer: Walk early or late – this is extremely important as walking during the heat of the midday sun will not only be very uncomfortable for your dog, but likely to cause heatstroke. Walk during the coolest periods of the day, whether that’s early morning or later in the evening. Don’t forget, hot roads and paths can also burn and cause soreness to paw pads. Try and keep to shady areas, and set an easy pace, you may even find shortening your usual walk is beneficial or try taking a couple of shorter walks instead. Keep them hydrated – it’s an obvious one but one of the most important! Ensure your dog’s bowl is regularly topped up with fresh, cool water all day long. Encourage your dog to drink more on warmer days, and keep their fluids up. If your pooch is reluctant to drink, there are a few ways you can make water more appealing for them! Clean their bowl regularly to ensure nothing yucky is growing inside and that the water is fresh (green bowls aren’t so tempting!) or, why not look into a pet fountain? Some dogs are much more likely to drink from flowing water as opposed to a bowl. Let them have a splash – a paddling pool is a great way to get your dogs to cool off on a warm summer’s day. A shallow pool filled with fresh water will give them the opportunity to cool down those paws! Remember, safety always comes first, and dogs should always be supervised around water. Consider a cooling bed – these are widely available in pet shops and will provide a nice, cool spot for your dog to enjoy, and they’re ideal for those with longer coats that feel the heat more than others. A homemade alternative is simply a damp towel, positioned in a shady spot, such as under your dog’s favourite tree! Maintain frequent grooming – regular grooming can really help long-haired dogs during the summer. A daily brush will assist in keeping your dog cool as it will remove excess fur and a summer trim is also a great idea. If you’re not quite sure on using the clippers yourself though, it’s best to book in with a reputable groomer – always check for good reviews! Provide a cool shady area – it might be worth moving their bed or creating a new spot for your dog to enjoy when it gets hot. For example, some dogs will prefer to stretch out on cool tiles rather than in their bed on warmer days. Swap blankets for damp towels, and keep them out of any sunny spots. Tidy the toys away – while many dogs will automatically take a slower pace of life on hot days, some dogs aren’t as sensible as they should be! To avoid over-exercising in warm weather, hide the toys and keep the temptation to play at bay. It’s not just dogs that need extra TLC in the hotter months, our cats, bunny rabbits and other furries all need to be protected from heatstroke. Keeping cats cool Cats will also benefit from cool, shady areas to relax, and, of course, plenty of fresh drinking water throughout the day. Bunnies? When it comes to outdoor bunnies, in the hot weather, ensure that their house is suitably shaded and out of any direct sunlight. Keep water bowls topped up and be sure to give them a daily brush to rid of any excess fur. Indoor bunny rabbits may enjoy the cool breeze of a fan, we know ours certainly do! We hope you’ve found our top tips on keeping your pets cool in the summer useful. Have more questions? Check out our free 24/7 vet advice service!