Dog owners warned about warm weather dangers as thousands set to enjoy UK staycation

The Kennel Club issues hot weather advice to protect the UK’s dogs post-lockdown

With warm temperatures and sunshine set to sweep the UK today (2 June), The Kennel Club is issuing a new warning to owners to protect their dogs during hot weather.

As Covid-19 restrictions continue to lift, and sunnier forecasts across the UK, this half-term might be a first ’staycation’ for many families with four-legged friends. Whilst new adventures are mostly exciting for dogs, The Kennel Club is reminding owners to keep their dog safe during warmer weather and when planning a trip. This includes not walking their dog during the hottest parts of the day, never leaving their dog in a car - even with the windows down, ensuring their dog has access to water and a shady place, and checking all planned visits or trips, including to beaches or pitstops during a longer journey, are dog-friendly.

“It’s getting warmer and whilst we might be enjoying the sunshine, it’s important for owners to remember that dogs aren’t as good at dealing with hot weather as we are,” commented Nick Sutton, health expert at The Kennel Club. “When they’re hot, dogs mostly cool down by panting, but sometimes this just isn’t enough. As their temperature rises, it can make them very unwell and this can be fatal. Many people know that it’s absolutely vital to never leave your dog in a hot car, but around 75% of cases of heatstroke are a result of exercise, with most cases occurring in the summer months. Some dogs are more at risk of heatstroke, including overweight dogs and flat-faced breeds like Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs."

“Knowing the signs of heatstroke and getting your dog to the vets early if they are affected can drastically improve their chance of survival. Particularly on hot days, owners should watch out for heavy panting, tiredness or an unwillingness to move as well as dribbling, sickness and signs of upset stomach. If you think your dog has heatstroke it’s vital that you take them to the vets and gradually cool them down along the way using water on their skin and fur.

“If you want to take your four-legged friend on a longer adventure away from home, make sure they are safe and comfortable at all times. Keep your dog cool, think about when is the best time to exercise them and make sure they have water to drink. We urge dog owners to plan their trips carefully and ensure all places they want to visit or stay at are dog-friendly to avoid leaving their dog in a car. If it’s really hot, consider re-scheduling as it might not be safe or pleasant for your four-legged friend.”

The organisation has released practical tips and advice to keep dogs safe and cool when travelling or enjoying the sunshine at home:

When out walking:
  • Walk them early morning or evening and avoid the midday sun. Choose shaded areas to walk in
  • Always carry around water and something for them to drink from
  • Consider attaching a lead to a walking harness rather than to their collar. Leads that pull on a collar can press on their airways and stop them cooling down as effectively. Remember that it’s a legal requirement for a dog to wear a collar with their name and address on when out and about
When traveling:
  • Never leave your dog in the car by themselves
  • Make sure your dog has a comfortable and cool spot in the car when travelling
  • Make regular stops and ensure your dog has access to water
  • Avoid travelling in the hottest parts of the day
  • Check all places you want to visit or stay at are dog-friendly
At home:
  • Create a shaded space to keep your dog cool
  • Give them a paddling pool to splash around in
  • Add ice cubes to their water bowls
The Kennel Club’s post-lockdown ‘Paw by Paw Guide’ also provides practical advice for dog owners to help them to navigate the post-pandemic world alongside their four-legged friend. More information on planning staycations, travelling safely with your dog and visiting dog-friendly places can be found on The Kennel Club website.