How to keep your pets cool in a heatwave, from sunscreen to cold treats

With a heatwave on the way, you’ll no doubt be looking for ways to make the most of it, whether that’s a swim at your local lido , or getting in a sunbathing session at the park or heading to a shaded beer garden.

It’s not quite so much fun, however, for our four-legged friends, which can find coping in the heat difficult, as many domestic animals have fur coats that offer little respite. Not to mention, there’s little air conditioning to be found in homes across the UK.

As RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines explains, some pets, like dogs, don’t sweat, so once their body temperature begins to rise, it can be difficult for them to cool down.

As a result, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet’s behaviour in hot temperatures, as they could be displaying signs of heatstroke.

Once your dog has removed all of the fabric from the ball, you can stuff the scraps right back in!

“If your pet is excessively panting or drooling, seems lethargic, is vomiting or collapses, then these can all be signs of heatstroke,” says Dr Gaines. “If you see any of these symptoms, we would urge you to speak to your vet as soon as possible.”
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With some animals that require daily walking, such as dogs and horses, take them out early in the morning or late in the evening when it's cooler.

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“Keep in mind that pavements can get very hot and can burn dogs' paws – if the ground is too hot to touch with your hand, then it's too hot for them to walk on.”

There are, however, some simple steps you can take to help stop your furry friends from overheating, which we’ve rounded up in our guide to keeping pets cool.


You may be surprised to hear that pets, just like humans, need sunscreen, but it's just as important.

“Some pets – particularly those with white or light-coloured coats – can get sunburn so we would recommend using pet-safe sunscreen,” says Dr Gaines. “Cats and dogs may need some sun cream on their ears, while horses may need sun cream on their nose.”

Make your own hammock-style car seat cover. The hammock style keeps the dog from getting hurt if he or she falls during any sudden stops or starts. Get the pattern here.

This Petkin doggy sunscreen wipes (£4,, is perfect for wriggly animals who won’t stay still.

(Pets At Home)

Fast and convenient to apply, it will protect pets from UV rays without giving you too much work.

Or try this Dermoscent sunfree for dogs and cats (£18.05,, designed for sensitive and light-haired skin.

SPF for animals is just as important as it is for humans


It’s waterproof, fragrance-free and recommended to apply where your pet has little or no fur, such as around the edges of ears, around their nose, abdomen and any areas they have scarring.

Cooling mats

Along with ensuring your pet has access to shady areas and plenty of water to drink, there are DIY measures you can employ to cool them down, such as using a damp towel for them to sit on, or wrapping an ice pack in a towel.

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For a more permanent solution, try this Danish Design cooling mat for dogs (from £14.99,
(Waitrose & Partners)

The bed is naturally cooling and doesn’t need to be frozen or refrigerated to use. You can keep it in the garden or indoors in some shade so they’re as comfortable as possible, and it won’t leave any damp stains on any decking or carpet.

If you have bigger dogs, an extra-large mat will do the job best, such as this Scruffs self cooling mat (£33,, which is filled with a non-toxic gel that is five to 10 degrees cooler than room temperature.

(Scruffs )

Paddling pools

Dr Gaines recommends filling a paddling pool with water for your pooches to play in. It will keep them active and cool simultaneously, and doesn’t need to be expensive.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Your dog is as smart as a two-year old! Ever wonder why children around this age seem to have a special bond with the family dog? It could be because they speak the same language, roughly 250 words and gestures in fact.

Smaller animals will enjoy splashing about in this Pawise dog paddling pool (£25,

(Argos )

It’s compact and collapsible, so won’t take up lots of room in the shed when it's not hot and sunny, which, let's face it, is during most of the year in Britain.Larger dogs (along with some of their younger human friends) will fit better in this GoStock dog pool (£49.97,
(Amazon )

It’s made out of a strong PVC material, with wood fibreboards ensuring its durability. There’s also a non-slip interior and a foldable design that opens and closes in one minute – just fill up with cold water and leave your pets to it.

Plan for When You’re Not There. Make sure your pets are provided for during those long hours when you’re away. Dr. Becker suggests technological options. “DOGTV has stimulation and relaxation channels, and there are apps that control contraptions that talk to your pet, or dispense treats. Pheromone sprays can also reduce anxiety, creating that kumbaya atmosphere.” And, of course, daycare and dog walkers are a great way to enrich your pet’s day. “Know someone who wants exercise? Maybe they’ll walk your dog.”


“Make frozen treats out of pet-friendly ingredients to keep your furry friend cool,” says Dr Gaines, who also suggests adding ice cubes to keep your pet’s water bowl nice and chilled.

Fill up your ice cube trays and add to their food bowels


This two-pack silicone ice cube tray (£9.99, is a handy kitchen essential that will benefit everyone in your household. Pop some frozen cubes into your pet's bowl and to your own cocktails when it's hot.

We’ll be stocking up on these Woof and Brew pawsecco freeze pop for dogs and cats (£5.99,, which will deliver instant refreshment for your pets.

Keep your fridge stocked with these frozen treats


Stick them in the freezer until they’re good and icy, then serve them up. They’re non-alcoholic of course and don’t contain any grapes, but while you sip on your prosecco, they can enjoy munching on these.

Put a ball in your dog's food bowl if he or she eats too fast. They be forced to move the ball around to get to all the food.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on pet essentials, try the links below:

  • Very discount codes
  • Made discount codes

For more summer essentials, read ourguide to keeping cool while working from home andeverything you need to know about SPF