Dog Care in Hot Weather

Australian Silky TerrierAustralian Silky Terrier

On hot days, how often do you look at your dog and wonder what you can do to help keep it cool? Here are a few tips:

Fresh Cold Water

There should always be fresh cold water available for your dog. A water bowl needs to be changed at least a couple of times on hot days. Your dog will also appreciate putting an ice block into the water to keep its drinking water cool. Don't be surprised if the dog tries to immerse part or all of itself in the drinking bowl!


Mixed breed dogMixed breed dog

Your dog must have a shady spot in which to lie outside, and/or provide a cool spot within your house. Given the opportunity, a dog will usually seek out the coolest spot. Outside they may dig a hole under a tree. Inside dogs find all sorts of cool surfaces on which to lie - even the floor of the bathroom!

The Problem of Insects

English Springer SpanielEnglish Springer Spaniel

If your dog is outside in hot weather, insects, especially flies can be not only an annoyance, but also a problem. This is particularly important if the dog has long ears like the English Springer Spaniel pictured. Unlike horses and cattle, they do not have tails with which to flick the flies away. So, flies can settle on the dog's skin, especially on the ears where they adjoin the head, where blood vessels lie close to the surface. Here the flies burrow into the blood vessels and literally feed on the dog's blood. This causes other flies to settle on the same spot. So, after a short period of time, that spot can become a nasty sore.

Prevention is better than cure in this case. If your dog is prone to this type of attack by flies or other insects, it is essential to be diligent with placing some type of insect repellent on the ears at least once every day.

Exercise on Hot Days

Chow ChowChow Chow

Unless your dog is working, plan its exercise in the cool of the early morning or evening.

Heat Exhaustion

Dogs can quickly die of heat exhaustion. This can occur because of over exercise in the heat or if they are left in a parked car on a hot day. If you have to take the dog out in the car, never leave it in the car whilst you are not in it yourself.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, water sprinkled over the dog is the quickest way to cool it down. This should be followed by a trip to a qualified veterinarian.


Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless Dog)Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless Dog)

If your dog is hairless like the Xoloitzcuintle or Mexican Hairless Dog pictured, you will have to place a small light rug on the dog to protect it from the sun. If has a pink nostrils or pink on the bridge of the nose or any skin exposed to the sun, a dog (or baby) friendly sun screen should be applied. Fatal cancer is common among dogs which have bare or pink skin, especially on the bridge of the nose or on the nostrils.

Excess Coat

If you dog is carrying excess coat, depending on the breed a thorough grooming is recommended to prepare your dog for hot weather.