With the warmer weather here to stay for the next few months, it is important to keep your dog cool and safe during the summer. To help you as pet parents we have created some useful tips below. Never leave your dog or cat in a hot car. The temperature inside a car can increase rapidly making it unbearable for your pets and can cause serious illnesses and even lead to brain damage or death. If the outside temperature is 22 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 47 degrees within a matter of minutes. If you are running errands, it is probably best to keep your dog at home or leave them with a cat or dog sitter, ensuring they have plenty of access to water and somewhere cool to retreat to. If you come across an animal in a car, please call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty helpline on 0300 1234 999 or call the police who will be able to help you. Heatstroke in dogs Dogs can only get rid of heat by panting or sweating through their paws which makes them prone to heatstroke. Any hot environment can cause heatstroke, along with over exercising. If your dog is excessively panting and showing signs of discomfort, this indicates overheating, which if not acted upon can lead to heatstroke, illness, or death. Does your dog have access to plenty of water? Always provide access to clean, cool water. If you’re at home, add ice cubes to their bowl to help keep the water colder for longer. Make cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer Exercising your dog Try and limit the amount of exercise your dog does when it is too hot and walk them early morning and late evening when the sun is not at its highest. When going for a walk, take the water with you in a portable water bottle and don’t forget the sunscreen – your dog needs protection from the sun too. If your dog is energetic, limit play time to short sessions to make sure they do not get overheated. Your pet’s paws can be sensitive to the heat. Test the pavement with your hand and if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog. If possible, walk them on areas where there is more grass Fur, glorious fur! If your pet has long hair that grows quickly, they should be groomed regularly to remove excess fur, knots, and tangles. Please make sure you visit a certified groomer who has experience of grooming pets. Items you can buy to keep them cool Cooling mats can provide a place for your pet to go to if they are feeling hot Fill a paddling pool with water, if you have an outdoor space, so your pet can jump in whenever they start to feel hot. Let them play with a cooling toy that you can fill with water and put in the freezer Try a cooling bandana collar when going for a walk. Don’t forget the sunscreen – your dog needs protection from the sun too We hope this article has helped you to keep your dog cool and safe in summer.