With temperatures set to soar this weekend, and the UK Health Security Agency raising a heat-health alert to a more severe amber warning in some parts of the UK, The Kennel Club is urging dog owners to keep their pets safe.

The organisation says that the temperatures forecast across the country pose a serious risk to the nation’s pets if owners don’t take the necessary precautions. These include not walking their dog during the hottest parts of the day, never leaving their dog in a car (even with the windows down or with air conditioning) and ensuring their dog has access to water and a shaded area.

“It’s essential that owners remember that dogs aren’t as good at dealing with hot weather as we are,” commented Nick Sutton, health expert at The Kennel Club. “When we’re hot, we sweat to cool down but dogs use a different technique and pant instead. Panting isn’t as effective as sweating, which means that they’re more at risk of heatstroke. One in seven dogs that are treated by vets for heatstroke die, so it’s important to keep dogs from overheating.

“While most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, most cases of heatstroke happen when owners over-exercise their dogs or exercise them on hot days, particularly for those more at risk of heatstroke, including overweight, elderly and flat-faced dogs. It’s vital that owners know the signs of heatstroke – which include heavy panting, tiredness, confusion dribbling and sickness – and, if their dog is affected, cool them down immediately while calling a vet for advice.”

To help protect pets this summer, The Kennel Club has released practical advice to keep dogs safe in the heat:

When out walking

  • Exercise is the most common cause of heatstroke, so on hot days walk your dog in the early morning or evening – if it’s cool enough – and avoid the midday sun
  • Take extra care in heatwaves as your dog may not be acclimatised to warmer weather
  • Always carry water and something for your dog to drink from
  • Consider attaching a lead to a walking harness rather than to their collar. Leads that pull on a collar can press on a dog's airways and stop them from cooling down as effectively. Remember that it’s a legal requirement for a dog to wear a collar with their owner’s name and address on when out and about
  • Pavements on hot days can burn your dog’s footpads, so try to avoid them. If it’s too painful for you to place the back of your hand on a pavement for seven seconds then it’s too painful for your dog to walk on

When travelling

  • Never leave your dog in the car by themselves
  • Make regular stops to check on your dog and ensure they have access to water
  • Travel with cool water in a thermos to give to your dog
  • Avoid travelling during the hottest times of the day
  • Drive with the windows open or the air conditioning on

At home

  • Keep your dog out of direct sunlight and make sure their bed isn't in direct sunlight
  • Ensure your dog always has access to drinking water
  • Ensure your dog has a shaded space to keep them cool
  • Give your dog a paddling pool to splash around in
  • If your dog has a long or heavy coat you could keep them clipped to make them feel more comfortable

More information and advice on preventing heatstroke in dogs and keeping them safe in hot weather is available at thekennelclub.org.uk/heatstroke