Summer is a great time to be out and about with your dog; swimming, taking long walks, exploring parks, camping and more. However, Dogs NSW warns the hot weather also brings unexpected summer dangers including heat stress, dehydration and sunburn in dogs that can be deadly!

Pet parents need to protect their pets from many summer threats, such as bushfires, snake and tick bites, sunburn, thunderstorms, heat stress and dehydration, said veterinarian Dr Karen Hedberg.

Dr Hedberg is the spokesperson for Dogs NSW, the peak body in New South Wales responsible for promoting breeding, showing, trialling, obedience and other canine-related activities, and the ownership of temperamentally and physically sound purebred dogs across the state. She is also a Dogs NSW registered breeder and chair of the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) Canine Health and Wellbeing Committee.

Did you know it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of a car to skyrocket by 20 degrees*? That’s why it’s important to NEVER leave your pet in a hot car!

Dogs NSW is turning up the heat on leaving kids and pets in hot cars by reminding families that a child left in a parked car in warm temperatures can very quickly become distressed, dehydrated and can die from organ failure.

“Dogs can’t sweat to cool themselves, so they can develop heat stroke and die very quickly in hot conditions,” said Dr Hedberg. “Very young, senior and brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs are also more susceptible to heat.

Heat stress, dehydration and sunburn in dogs – signs of heat stress are:

  • excessive panting
  • reddened gums,
  • bloodshot eyes,
  • rapid breathing,
  • salivating,
  • wheezing,
  • vomiting,
  • weakness,
  • staggering; and
  • loss of consciousness.

If your dog is showing signs of heat stress, get them to a cooler environment right away, and continue to hose/wet them down with tap water (not iced) until the breathing settles down. Offer your dog some water if he wants and call your vet immediately for advice, said Dr Hedberg.

“Dogs also enjoy lying under the sun and those with a white coat and bare belly are at increased risk of sunburn and skin cancer,” she said.

More about heat stroke.

Cooling tips to prevent heat stress, dehydration and sunburn in dogs

  • Provide shade and cool, fresh water.
  • Leave your dog where it is well-ventilated.
  • Keep your dog out of the sun between 10 am – 4 pm.
  • Hot footpaths may burn your dog’ feet in the summer. Take a walk early in the morning or when the sun goes down.
  • Give your dog ice blocks to lick – you can add vegetable or beef stock to taste!
  • Consider pet sunscreen for protection. Consult your vet which product is most suitable for your dog.