How to keep your pets cool this summer

We might be suffering in the heat, but think about our poor, furry pets...

The summer season can be a tricky time for pets and with the latest weather predictions revealing that the heatwave in Britain is set to stay for another two weeks, and temperatures soaring up to 33 degrees, it’s important to keep your pets cool and calm.

Jenny Philp, managing director and practising vet at Vet’s Kitchen, gives her five top tips on keeping your dog or cat happy and healthy as temperatures continue to hit new heights.

1. Avoid walking your dog during the hottest periods of the day

dog on bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Michael Sinclair)

Be sure to walk your dog either early in the morning or late at night as hot pavements can burn delicate paws. Even at cooler periods of the day, the pavement can still be warm so try to keep to the shade, wherever possible. If it’s too hot for you to hold the palm of your hand against the pavement, it will most certainly be too hot for your dog to walk on.

2. Identify the coolest rooms in your home

room with table fan

(Image credit: TBC)

Keep your pets as comfortable as possible by encouraging them to stay in the coolest areas of your home. Rooms with tiled floors can provide a good space for them to relax away from the sun, whilst cooling mats and wet towels can help keep their body temperature down. Drawing the curtains will also prevent direct sunlight from heating up your home but your pets are still suffering from the heat, wetting their ears and paws can help to cool them down.

3. Protect your pets’ skin and coat

pug and cat

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Similar to humans, sunburn can affect animals too so it’s important to keep them protected with pet safe sun cream, by providing plenty of shade and using protective t-shirts for hairless breeds.

Cool coats have become increasingly popular items for dogs to keep their body temperature down and protect against sunburn however, these only work if the coat is kept wet at all times. If allowed to dry out, it will heat up and will make your dog even warmer. A good alternative would be to drape a wet towel over them and sitting them in front of a fan!

4. Keep your pet hydrated

soft-coated wheaten terrier dog

(Image credit: Future PLC/tewart Grant)

Hydration is very important, particularly in warm weather, so why not use ice cubes in your pet’s water bowl to keep the water cool? This will give them a cold, refreshing treat and by providing extra bowls in different areas around the home, you can ensure they are properly hydrated in the heat.

5. Think creatively when it comes to treats and exercise

cat on table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mel Yates)

Freezing treats in ice cubes can be a fun reward that will keep your dog cool. Also, why not get your dog a paddling pool? This provides a creative alternative to walking them and playing with toys in a shade covered pool can be just as rewarding and will keep them cool whilst ensuring they are still getting enough exercise.

For smaller animals, be sure to move hutches into the shade and use ice pods or frozen water bottles to keep them cool. To avoid sun stroke, it’s also important to ensure that protective rain covers are not covering the hutch and blocking air flow.

How will you keep your pets cool this summer?

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.