Travelling with Pets

How to Keep Your Dog Cool When Travelling in the Summer

Read this helpful guide to helping your dogs, cats, and other pets stay cool in the heat this summer

Most of us long for the warm sunny days of summer, but the same can’t necessarily be said for our four-legged friends. While they may enjoy joining in on the fun with camping trips, and days at the beach, dogs, cats and other pets often struggle to keep cool in the heat. We’ve put together this guide of handy tips to help you to keep your pets happy and safe as temperatures rise.


Never leave your dog in a car unsupervised, especially in warm weather

Never Leave Your Pets in a Hot Car

This ought to go without saying, really. We’ve all seen the campaigns, and we all know that hot cars can kill. But we still often underestimate just how hot a car can get, even on a seemingly mild day.

According to PETA, on a 78F (25C) day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to between 100F (38C) and 120F (49C) in a matter of minutes; and on a 90F (32C) day, the temperature can reach as high as 160F (71C) in less than 10 minutes.

If you can’t stay with your pets to supervise them, try to take them with you and find a shady place to secure them outside if you need to run into a non-pet-friendly shop.

It’s also a good idea to have the air conditioning on whilst you’re driving, as well, to help them stay cool. It may look cute to see a dog sticking their head out the window, but it’s actually a breach of the Highway Code, and not safe for you, your pet, or your fellow road users.

Avoid the Midday Sun

Just like us, pets don’t do well in the full heat of the day, so it’s best to avoid walking your dog between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Just imagine walking around on hot pavements with bare feet to get an idea of how your pup feels!

To check the temperature of the ground, rest the back of your hand on the pavement for a couple of seconds – this should give you a good indicator of what it’ll be like for your dog or cat to walk around on it.

keep hydrated

It’s really important to keep your pets well-hydrated during the summer months

Keep Hydrated 

Dogs don’t sweat like we do. Their much less effective method is to pant, which forces air over their tongue in an effort to cool their blood. This makes it even more important to have a supply of cool water with you at all times, as it will help to cool them down as well as keep them hydrated.

Ideally, if you have access to a hosepipe or water for your pooch to paddle or swim in, all the better! This will be appreciated by all dogs, big and small alike, but particularly for our more hirsute canine friends. Maybe you could treat them to a summer haircut, as well.

Know the Signs of Heatstroke 

Heatstroke in dogs is really serious, which makes knowing the symptoms to look out for all the more important.

Is your dog panting and/or drooling excessively?

Do they appear lethargic, confused, drowsy, or uncoordinated?

Are they collapsed or vomiting?

If you notice these symptoms in your dog, take them straight into the shade and start to cool them down gradually. Don’t let them get too cold too quickly, though, as you can send them into shock, which is just as dangerous as heatstroke.

If you can, douse them in cool (not cold) water, or apply cool, damp towels to their body. If you have a fan to hand, put them in front of that, as well. And most importantly, make sure they have a supply of cool water to drink, but in small amounts at a time.

If you happen to notice these symptoms in a dog trapped inside a car, the best thing to do is to call 999, and request the police come to your aid. It does actually constitute criminal damage if you break a car window to let a dog out, so this should only be done if you don’t have another choice. If that happens to be the case, make sure you take photos and videos as evidence of the condition of the dog, as well as seek out any witnesses.

Once your dog’s breathing has returned to normal, and they seem to be in a more stable condition, take them straight to a vet as a matter of urgency.

other tips

Follow our hot-weather tips for a happy holiday for you and your dog

Other Tips for Travelling with your Dog 

Try not to feed them for an hour or two before you travel, just in case they get motion sickness.

Take them for a long walk before you set off to help tire them out.

Schedule in regular pit stops for walkies and bathroom breaks along your driving route.

Make sure your pets are properly restrained during your trip, with a crate, harness, or guard. If they’re not, and you find yourself in an accident, you may invalidate your car insurance and end up liable for a hefty bill!

Pack an emergency break-down kit for your dog, including their favourite food and toys, just in case you end up stranded for a couple of hours.

Our final tip is to make sure that all their microchip, vaccinations and pet passport are up to date well in advance of your trip. We look forward to welcoming you and your furry friends aboard on your next holiday road trip with LeShuttle!