Summer Pet Care

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Caring For Your Pets During Summer

Helpful tips on how to prepare in advance + enjoy summer time + stay safe

PET CHECK UK Siamese cat exploring a tree

Pre-planning for summer provides with the care and comfort your pet needs

Summer is an important time to prepare for the welfare of your pet when temperatures can start soaring. Pet Check Summer Pet Care feature provides helpful tips and advice to ensure your dog, cat, or rabbit’s welfare is looked after.

Before summer arrives, it’s a good idea to get ‘pet prepared’.

Summer brings new problems for the pet owner, that is keeping pets cool, just as humans like to do so, and it’s important to provide them with some care and essentials they need.

Thick-haired and long-haired dog and cat breeds, even rabbits, need more regular grooming to comb out excess hair, to try and keep them cooler.

Pugs, bulldogs, and greyhound breeds are more susceptible to suffer in high temperatures

PET CHECK UK Pug dog in garden


Our pet dogs love summer and the freedom of roaming around, smelling summer fragrant smells, and longer, extended, warmer evenings.

Unfortunately, dogs are not suited to hot temperatures just like humans.

Daytime, particularly lunchtime walks, must be rescheduled for earlier and later in the day to avoid the hot sunshine.

Dogs hurt their paws when walking on hot pavements to parks, becoming blistered and sore.

It’s best to think about new routes that may help dogs’ welfare, even walking on grass verges will help.

Warmer weather brings the worst out in dogs, they get grumpy just like humans.

Dogs particularly with light-colored extremities suffer from the sun the most, their ears and nose can catch the sun and burn. Dog sunblock is important to use.

Just like wintertime when you buy your dog a coat to keep warm, you may be buying a dog cooling jacket in the summer. Pet owners use these to help keep dogs cool, they also buy general-purpose cooling mats which can be taken on holiday and days out, used as mats in vehicles, or around the home in a shaded room where your pet will enjoy cooling down.

Dogs that live outside and have to remain so, need to be kept cool. They need a place that they can retreat to out of the sun and have access to plenty of fresh cool water. Placing dog kennels in direct sunshine will need moving. Cooling mats can also be an added benefit for outside kennel dogs to lie on during the day.

Dogs love paddling pools. Larger dogs will immerse themselves in the water to keep cool on hot days whilst you may have to help smaller dogs get into the pool so as not to damage the walls of the pool with sharp claws clambering over the side.

Pools positioned in a shady position are even better and the temperature will stay cooler for a lot longer.

Car Journeys

PET CHECK UK Dogs travelling in harnesses in a car

During hot weather leave your pet at home.

It is advisable not to leave dogs in cars unattended at any time, even more so when the temperatures zoom up causing heat exhaustion within minutes

When you do have to carry your pet in your vehicle, use sun shades to help block out direct sunlight and keep their area cool.

Take extra water in bottles and a collapsible bowl for more water stops.

PET CHECK UK Siamese cats exploring a tree

GPS Pet Activity Trackers

Tracking devices are in demand especially due to the problems of pet theft which the PDSA states (unbelievably) happens most often from your back or front garden.

Dogs and cats love to roam around summer gardens so it’s becoming more and more essential to monitor their movements.

Police are now hiring officers specifically to head up teams to try and prevent the rise.


During the summer vets see a range of heat-related pet symptoms.

Often cars can be parked up in a car park with dogs returning from a summer walk with their owners, naturally thirsty, see pools of water as a quick refreshment before getting in the car to go home. Unfortunately, these pools can hold a combination of toxic car waste, oils, leaking petrol. Don’t let your dog drink from these pools.

Signs that dogs are struggling with the heat are losing their appetite. This is not necessarily a problem unless they consume significantly less food or vomit after eating.

Dogs will constantly move from one position to another trying to seek the coolest place.

They will excessively drool, pant, and gulp water, being thirsty. 

Cats sweat through their paw pads and will pant if they are extremely hot.

If symptoms persist get in touch with your online vet or local surgery.

Important – Ensure your dog’s microchip details are all up to date and that your pet is wearing their ID tag on their collar.

Routine Treatments

PET CHECK UK Dog biting itself with fleas

Fleas become more active springtime and during summer months multiplying in your home after being carried back on your clothing after a walk, and on your dog without you realising.

They love the warmth and will hop quickly from clothing onto your pet, be it dog, cat, or indoor rabbit, and cause them much body irritation. You’ll see your pet furiously scratching and biting themselves particularly near their ears and towards their backs.

It’s important to stay on top of this essential routine treatment.

Continue treatments as usual to protect your pet, where fleas cause the most distressing irritant skin infections.

Be warned – fleas can also bite and irritate human skin.

Pet Insurers

Caution – Most pet insurers expect you to carry out routine treatments such as flea treatments and pet dental cleaning regularly to qualify when claiming for other problems which may affect your claim if you haven’t.

Summer Gardens And Plants

PET CHECK UK Puppy in garden drinking pond water

Dogs and cats get very thirsty during summer and keeping them hydrated is so important. Leave fresh bowls of extra water out in the gardens for them and top up with fresh water in the home more regularly.

Cover ponds so that dogs and cats cannot drink infested water, causing dangerous suspected algae poisoning needing urgent veterinary care. 

PET CHECK UK Siamese cats exploring a tree

Summer sees our gardens full of gorgeous blooms, plants, and shrubs in a riot of colour. There are many plants toxic to pets but also many that are not.

Pet Check Pet-Gardens guide provides a list of the best and worst flowers that are unsuited to dogs and cats.

Whilst millions of us are encouraged to compost food and garden waste to help sustainability, this provides our pets with a golden opportunity to scavenge. Compost heaps need to be kept covered to avoid emergency visits with your pet to your vet a&e.

Pet Rabbits outside

Your pet rabbit needs to be kept cool just like you do during summer and there are several things to make sure their health is unaffected by the hot weather.

Move their hutch position so that they may be in the shade particularly around midday and early afternoon.

Ensure the hutch is kept in good repair and cleaned out even more so during hot weather to prevent fast-growing bacteria and smells.

Your pet rabbit needs to be hydrated with plenty of fresh cool water in bowls that may need filling up several times during very hot days.

Let your pet rabbit have some freedom in the garden under your watchful eye when you may be sitting out during summer, best times morning and early evening. Use a rabbit pen if need be.

Cats Outside

PET CHECK UK Kitten in garden playing with an insect

Cats suffer just as dogs do in hot weather. Whilst they originate from hot sandy desert environments, they adapted to sleep during the day and hunt in the cool of the night.

You’ll often find them hiding around shed corners in the best shade, or under trees escaping the midday sun.

They too need lots of freshwaters, not just inside their home, but outside, leave some extra water bowls outside daily in the shade during hot weather.

Water fountains are a huge success for pets if owners are regularly out of the house for long periods during the day where these can generate a constant supply of clean aerated water.

Cats will take shelter under cars for shade and this becomes a problem for motorists who need to check there are no animals are sheltering before driving off.


Lillies are absolutely toxic to cats. Avoid the risk, don’t leave any growing in your garden or buy as cut flowers in your home.


Never throw out your old hand and bath towels as you’ll need towels when visiting lakes, beaches, and coastal regions to dry off your dog if they’ve been swimming.

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Around The Home


Long-haired dogs suffer the most and you’ll often find them trying to find the coolest room in the home to settle down to.

Keep rooms cooler by drawing the curtains or dropping the shades to help your pets.

Dog sleeping

This is a good time to think about the positioning of their dog bed, and perhaps site in another place, which may be cooler, out of direct sunlight.


Dogs need to eat less during the summer daytime. It’s best to feed them later in the evening and earlier in the morning.

Work dog meal menus around earlier and later walks being taken in the day and leave dry kibble out for ‘nibbles’ during the day.

Provide your dog with a frozen treat such as a Kong toy that has peanut butter and has been stored in the freezer. Your dog will have endless fun trying to lick the refreshing snack out.

Treats such as apple slices and carrot slices can be frozen and these will last longer. (No apple pips as these are toxic).

Buy secure pet food containers and place them in lockable cupboards so there’s no chance of pets opening doors and enjoying unexpected and possible toxic feasts. There’s plenty of treat jars and containers now available at all good pet stores.

Dogs with runny noses, sneezing, and coughing do not suffer from summer colds. Check with your vet immediately as they may be suffering from kennel cough.

Indoor Cats

Cats when not outside will try and find the shady spots in the home to snooze and sleep during the day in the summer months.

You can close curtains and blinds to help keep the temperature cooler in a specific room and use fans to help lower the temperature for them. Ensure you leave them their cat litter tray and water bowl nearby in the same room.

Ice water can shock pets so it’s important to provide cool fresh water. If you are worried about your pet take immediate advice from your vet.

This can be a good time to renew the scratchpad making sure your pet has an adequate pad where they can stretch and scratch as often as they like when it’s cooler at night, taking some needy exercise.

Just like dogs, cats may be ‘off’ their food when it’s very hot and food left out can turn smelly within a short space of time attracting bacteria.

Feed your pet a little in the morning and evening and leave dried kibble out during the day.

Garden & Inside House Plants – Flowers

‘Safe’ summer cut flowers and plants include favourites such as gerbera daisies, sunflowers, roses, asters, carnations, gladioli, Michaelmas daisies, stocks, petunias, freesias, lilac, lavender, and more.

These plants are pet-friendly for both dogs and cats.

There are many ‘unsafe’ plants during summer where if eaten dogs and cats may suffer mild toxicity or even life-threatening symptoms. Read Pet Check’s Summer Garden feature for more information.


Pet Gardens

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Keep reading

If your pet has been naughty and ingested parts of the plant, try and assess how much they have ingested quickly and contact your vet immediately for the best advice.

Symptoms of illness ingesting these plants can include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.

A helpful checklist of items you’ll need for summer months ahead for dogs and cats

  • Summer dogs need
  • Dog bed
  • Dog lead and collar
  • Dog cooling jacket
  • Dog rain jacket
  • Dog ID tag
  • Dog food bowl
  • Dog water bowl
  • Dog food
  • Dog treats
  • Dog flea and worm treatments
  • Dog grooming brush
  • Dog shampoo
  • Poop bags
  • Spare towels
  • Dog toys
  • Dog sun block
  • Summer cats may need
  • Cat bed
  • Cat scratchpad
  • Cat toys
  • Cat collar and ID tag
  • Cat food bowl
  • Cat water bowl
  • Cat food
  • Cat litter tray
  • Cat flea and worm treatments
  • Cat grooming comb

Images courtesy freepik

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