The hot weather we have all been enjoying this summer has had many wonderful moments, and we’ve all slipped on our shorts and summer dresses to make the most of it. But imagine if you had to go through a heatwave wearing a fur coat. That’s just what your poor dog has to do every day, and it is up to us as dog owners, to make our pets as comfortable as possible and keep them from harm.

The most important thing in hot weather is to make sure your dog has access to plenty of clean fresh water. This may involve putting extra bowls around the house and in the garden, to make sure that your dog is never shut away from a drink. On really hot days, you should change the water regularly to keep it cool, or you can even add a few ice cubes.

You should also make sure your dog has somewhere to lie in the shade, and perhaps lay some damp towels in his favourite sleeping spot to cool him off. If they are out in the sun, you should use dog friendly sun block on exposed skin such as their nose and the tips of their ears. It may sound crazy, but dogs can get sunburn too, and it is every bit as painful and potentially dangerous.

When to walk your dog

They say that only ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ go out in the midday sun, and that’s good advice for pet owners. Try to walk your dog in the early morning or in the evening when it is not too hot. In the heat of the day, the pavement can get so hot it burns your dog’s paws, so watch out for any signs of reluctance to walk, limping or licking of the feet. Try to exercise them on grass wherever possible.

The beach is always a popular spot with hot dogs, especially if they can cool off with a dip in the sea. However, it’s worth remembering that not all dogs can swim, and just like us, they will need to learn what to do when they first try it. If you’re not sure if your dog can swim, the waves and swell of the sea are not the best place to find out!

It’s worth remembering that there are lots of dangerous things that can wash up on the beach, from jellyfish to toxic palm oils. Even too much seawater will make your dog ill, so keep a close eye on them and what they are investigating, and make sure they don’t eat or drink anything they shouldn’t.

The dangers of hot cars

The biggest danger of soaring summer temperatures is leaving dogs in hot cars. ‘Not long’ is always too long when your dog is shut in, as temperatures can quickly climb to lethal levels on a hot day. There is no safe amount of time, so it is best to avoid leaving your dog in the car at all. You never know when you might get delayed, bump into an old friend or simply take longer than you expected.

If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, you should call 999 straight away. The police will advise you on what to do and send help if they can. If they cannot respond in time, you may have to take matters into your own hands. If so, inform the police about what you are planning to do any why. Take pictures or video on your phone to back up your decision and take details from any witnesses.

According to the RSPCA, ‘The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971)’.