Ensuring a Happy, Safe Dog Summer

As the sunny season approaches, it's vital to address the needs of our pets in the heat. Here's a guide to ensure your dog has a fantastic summer...

If the predictions are correct, we're in for a long, hot summer here in NZ. It's about time, you might say! However, while hot summer days are a pleasure for many of us, they can be long, enduring, and sometimes dangerous for our canine companions. As we look forward to the sunny season, we must remember that our furry friends have different needs when dealing with the heat. Here, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide to ensuring your dog's summer is not only fun but also safe.


First and foremost, maintaining proper hydration is essential during the summer months. Dehydration can pose a significant threat to your canine friend. To safeguard against this, always make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water. Whether you're at home or out and about, carrying a water bottle and a portable bowl can ensure your dog is adequately hydrated.

Avoiding Hot Surfaces

Pavement, asphalt, and sand can become searingly hot under the summer sun, potentially causing discomfort and burns to your dog's paw pads. To protect their delicate paws, opt for walks during the early morning or late evening. A simple rule of thumb is this: if the ground is too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.

Shade and Shelter

Providing your dog with a shaded retreat is crucial when the sun is at its peak. When spending time outdoors, set up a comfortable, shady spot with a dog-friendly canopy or bring an umbrella. And, of course, ensure a well-ventilated shelter at home where your dog can take refuge.

Exercise Timing

While it's essential to keep your dog active and engaged, the timing of their exercise is equally crucial. The midday heat can be punishing, so opt for activities in the early morning or late evening. This schedule helps prevent your dog from overexerting and experiencing heat-related issues.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

One of the most dangerous actions during hot weather is leaving your dog inside a vehicle. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can quickly become life-threatening for your furry companion. On a scorching day, it might take only a few minutes for the interior temperature to reach dangerous levels. It's best to leave your dog at home when they can't accompany you to ensure their safety.

Learn to Recognise the Signs

Understanding the signs of overheating is crucial. Panting is a natural way for dogs to cool down, but excessive panting can signal trouble. The other signs of overheating include laboured breathing, an increased heart rate, drooling, and mild weakness. In severe cases, overheating may lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and even seizures.

Home is Often Safer and More Comfortable

Though it's tempting to take your dog with you wherever you go, it's often best to leave them at home on hot days to avoid the risks associated with overheating in a vehicle.

Watch the Breed

Certain dog breeds, especially those with flat faces like pugs, find it harder to cool themselves due to their inefficient panting. Be mindful of these breeds during hot weather, ensuring they have easy access to fresh water and a cool environment.


Contrary to popular belief, shaving your pet to keep them cool can be counterproductive. It disrupts their body's natural cooling process and exposes them to sunburn. Instead, trim long hair and regularly brush your pets to remove excess fur.

By keeping these considerations in mind and being attentive to your dog's needs, you can ensure that your canine companion has a safe and enjoyable summer.