Dehydration & Overheating in Dogs, Cats & Pets

Keep Pets Cool & Prevent Dehydration This Summer

As the temperature rises, so do the risks to your pet’s health. Check out these hot tips on how to keep them cool this summer.

Pets are unable to regulate their body temperature the way humans do through sweating. Dogs and cats have very few sweat glands in the pads of their feet and generally rely on panting and having sufficient blood flow to their ears to cool themselves down.

Tips for keeping all pets cool

  • When possible, bring your pet inside to escape the heat.
  • If they are outside in hot weather, ensure they have plenty of access to shade and multiple sources of cool water.
  • Fill your pet’s water bowls with ice cubes to keep the water cooler for longer.
  • Freeze some treats! PETstock has a huge range of delicious treats, or try freezing watermelon, apple or cucumber for a tasty snack.
  • Avoid exercising during hot weather, walk your dog early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Avoid walking on hot bitumen or sand that may burn your buddy’s sensitive pads.


If the ground is too hot for you to place the back of your hand on, it is too hot for your buddy to walk on.

Check out our pawsome summer products designed to keep your buddy cool

Buddy & Belle Cooling Mat

  • Non-toxic
  • Stays cool without refrigeration or electricity
  • Fits standard beds and carriers

Buddy & Belle Cooling Bowl

  • Simple to use
  • Keeps water cool for up to 8 hours
  • Non-toxic
  • Wipe clean with a damp cloth

Tips for dogs

  • Swimming is a great way for your dog to get some exercise and stay cool! If you aren’t near a beach or river, a small paddling pool is a great alternative.

Tips for birds

  • Use a spray bottle filled with water to help keep your feathery friends cool this summer.
  • A bird bath is also a great option. Ensure the bath is deep enough for your bird to have a splash around, but not so deep they cannot get out on their own. If you are concerned that your bird may not be able to get out on their own, use a large rock that they can climb onto.

Tips for fish

  • Ensure your fish tank is away from windows and direct heat.
  • If you notice the temperature in your tank is rising, you can float frozen bottles of water in the top of your tank. You can then remove these once the temperature is back to normal.

Tips for small animals

  • Bunnies, ferrets and guinea pigs are very sensitive to heat. It’s essential their hutch is kept in a cool, shady place and brought inside on days when the weather gets too hot.

Pets in Cars

NEVER leave your pet in the car on a warm or hot day. The temperature inside a parked car during an Australian summer day can be 20 – 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature as recorded by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Leaving your pet in a hot car can lead to serious injury and even death, so leave them at home in a cool space with lots of fresh water so they can greet you when you return home.

If you see a pet in an unattended car on a hot day, call 000.

Recognising dehydration: signs & symptoms

Your pet’s body consist of about 80% water, which helps maintain their circulation, digestion and waste removal. When the amount of water diminishes, these essential body functions are unable to work as well as they’re meant to, causing dehydration.

Hot weather, lack of shade and unsuitable air flow can all contribute to your pet’s risk of heat stress and dehydration.

All dogs can suffer from heat stress, but those with shorter noses, like bulldogs, pugs and boxers, tend to be at higher risk. Cats can also be affected by heat stress, however their symptoms may be more subtle than those your dog will display.

Common symptoms of dehydration to watch out for in pets:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased skin elasticity
  • Panting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature

Take your buddy to the vet to be checked out immediately if you notice any of these signs.

Can pets get heatstroke?

Yes! Heatstroke is the most serious form of heat illness and needs to be treated as soon as symptoms begin. Heatstroke occurs when your pets natural cooling system is no longer able to cool the body allowing heat to build up to dangerous levels.

Signs my pet has heatstroke

If your dog or cat is suffering from heat stress, they may initially show signs like:

  • Agitation
  • Panting
  • Barking
  • Hyperactivity

Once these symptoms start to appear, the effects of heat stress can escalate quickly causing:

  • Breathing to become laboured and difficult
  • A bright red tongue and gums
  • Thick or sticky saliva
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

If you suspect your buddy is suffering from heat stress, try to cool them down immediately.

  • Gently place them into a cool bath (never cold water, as this can exacerbate the problem)
  • Wipe their body with a cool, wet towel
  • Run a gentle water stream from a hose over their body

Contact your Veterinarian as a matter of urgency and prepare to transport your buddy to the clinic. Take some wet towels for the trip and have the air-conditioning going to maintain a cooling effect. This early intervention before arriving at your Veterinarian can often be lifesaving.

Water – how much is enough?

Your buddy can never have too much fresh, cool water, especially during the summer months.

  • Have multiple water bowls available, placed in the shade.
  • Provide your pet with fresh water daily.
  • Monitor your buddy’s daily water intake. ‘Normal’ intake varies from 20-70mls/kg per day, depending on your pet’s diet and activity.
  • Use a heavy container or place a weight in the bottom of your pet’s water bowl so it cannot be easily knocked over.

Some dogs and cats prefer their water dished up in different ways! While many are happy to lap from a bowl, some prefer the trickle of water from a fountain or have a habit of knocking their water bowl over.

Products we recommend for keeping your pet cool

PETstock offers a huge range of water bowl and fountain solutions and cooling products to keep your pet hydrated and safe all summer long.




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