Nine ways to have fun (and stay safe!) with your dog during a heatwave

With another heatwave sweeping across the UK this weekend, the RSPCA is urging dog owners to take extra care and keep their pets safe.

The animal welfare charity doesn’t recommend walking dogs during the hot weather as it can be dangerous for their health and welfare.

Pavements and roads can get very hot and can burn their paws and they can overheat if exercising during the heat. But there are lots of ways to keep your dog entertained and keep them mentally and physically stimulated without putting them at risk during a heatwave.

Have a pool party

Winston

Many dogs love playing in water so you could buy a paddling pool and fill it with cool water for them to splash in. Winston, who is waiting for a home, loves to paddle in the pool at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Essex. It’s important to supervise your dog around water and don’t force them into the pool if they’re nervous or frightened.

Build a fort

If your pet prefers to stay in the shade and take it easy in the heat, why not build a fort in the shade or inside? Many dogs find dens and shelters comforting, so having their very own cool, shady fort can give them a nice spot to have a snooze. Plus it’s fun to build one together!

Barking baking!

Freeze your dog’s kong or make some tasty ice cube treats to keep your pooch happy and cool. If you fancy something a little more adventurous you could try our recipe for frozen banana and peanut butter treats – find out how to make them on our Youtube channel.

Water fight!

Break out the hose or sprinkler and have some fun! Just because you can’t go for a long walk on a hot day doesn’t mean you can’t play in the garden for short periods of time. Keep your pet cool by playing with a hose or playing under a sprinkler.

Movie night

It’s really important to take extra care in the heat with young puppies, older dogs or dogs with health problems. But this can create the paw-fect time to spend some quality chill time together. Draw the curtains, flick on the fan and curl up together to watch a movie. Why not try The Secret Life of Pets or Hotel for Dogs?!

Learn a new skill

Going for a long walk is sure to tire out your pet – but using their brain to learn something new is also tiring for your pooch. Why not use the op-paw-tunity to practice a new trick or learn a new skill? Find out how to teach your dog ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ here: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/training.

Get sniffing

Just as learning a new trick is mentally stimulating for our dogs, so is using their nose! Dogs are natural-born sniffers, and using their snouts gives their brain an excellent work-out. Why not send them on a treat hunt in the garden instead of walkies?

Stay cool!

Remember to stay cool! There are lots of ways to keep your pooch cool during the warm weather:

  • Freeze their water bowl or add ice cubes to their water;
  • Give your dog access to cool, tiled floors and shady rooms or buy a cooling mat;
  • Soak a towel in water or wrap an ice block in a tea towel to keep your dog cool on his bed;
  • Keep your windows open for airflow but close your curtains to keep your house cool and shady, use a fan if your pet enjoys a breeze!

Stay home

And remember, please stay home! Dogs can quickly suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke out in the sun – and you should never leave your pet alone in a stationary car or caravan. Remember: dogs die in hot cars.

For more information about keeping your pets safe in the summer weather, visit our seasonal advice pages online. If you’re concerned your dog may be suffering from heatstroke please contact your vet for advice immediately.