Dogs outside on a hot day


What pet owners should know to keep their four-legged friends safe


Summer is here, and the mercury is rising. The warmer it gets, the more important it becomes that our pets are given the chance to cool themselves down and escape the heat. In this fact sheet, FOUR PAWS offers useful tips to help humans and animals avoid problems so they can enjoy the hot, sunny days.


  • Take extra care of your dog when the weather is hot. In addition to serious cardiovascular complications that can lead to heatstroke, dogs are also at risk of sunburn at points where they have no hair, such as their nose and ears.
  • The right balance of fluids is very important in hot weather, and fresh drinking water should always be available. Always carry enough water with you on outings, and take regular breaks. Older dogs in particular will need more time out to cool off and rest.
  • More strenuous activities with your dog, such as jogging or cycling, should be left to the relative cool of the morning or evening.
  • Never underestimate how hot stones and asphalt can become in the sun. Try to find shady routes for your walks, if possible in the woods or fields.
  • Take care in your car. If you do not have air conditioning in your car, you should keep longer trips with your dog to the mornings and evenings. In hot weather, a traffic jam can quickly spell trouble for your dog. And never leave your dog alone in the car, even for just a few minutes! The temperature in a car can quickly exceed 100°F. Even in the shade, a car will get hot very quickly and become lethal for your dog. If you come across a dog shut in a car on a hot day, tell the police immediately.


  • In hot weather, cats will usually find a shady spot for themselves, so are in less danger than dogs. However, you should still keep a careful eye on them.
  • Make sure your cat always has access to water.
  • Dispose of any uneaten food promptly, as it will quickly go off in the heat.

Small mammals

  • Constant access to fresh drinking water is also top of the list for small mammals.
  • Make sure that animals in outdoor enclosures have shady places and objects they can slip under to avoid the sun.


  • Pet birds must always be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • Make sure to position aviaries away from extreme temperatures and draughts.
  • Change the water in bathing tubs and drink bottles every day, to avoid a build-up of bacteria.

See More of Our Guides for Responsible Pet Owners


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