Summer Safety: Keep your pets safe this summer

Barbecues, ice-creams, paddling in the sea; hot lazy days that stretch into balmy, light evenings – summer is almost here, and we really can’t wait! It’s only natural that we want our four-legged pals to join in the fun, but the warmer months can be challenging for our pets, with some summertime hazards that we need to watch out for. So pour yourself an iced tea and read on for our top tips to keep your pets safe this summer!  


Beat the heat

Keeping cool in the warmer months can be challenging for our furry friends. They can’t take off their thick coats for starters; and unlike us, they have very few sweat glands, so they rely on panting to try and cool themselves down. 

This makes them prone to heatstroke; a condition that occurs when the body can’t cool down quickly enough, and the body temperature gets dangerously high. Symptoms of heatstroke include panting, drooling, an increased heart rate and red gums, and can quickly progress to disorientation, seizures and collapse. Untreated, it can be fatal.

Most owners are aware of the dangers of leaving pets inside hot cars. Even when parked in the shade with the windows open, temperatures inside cars can soar frighteningly quickly, and dogs can die of heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes.1 There’s actually an even more common cause of heatstroke in UK pets, though, accounting for almost three quarters of UK heatstroke cases.2 It’s called “exertional heatstroke”, and occurs when our furry pals exercise in hot weather.

If this all sounds a bit alarming when all you wanted to do was enjoy a bit of sunshine, then fear not, as armed with this knowledge we can take some practical steps to help keep our pets safe when the sun comes out!

  • Avoid the heat of the day when walking your waggly-one and aim for an early morning or late evening stroll.
  • If your pet is older, overweight or a breed considered more at risk like a French bulldog or pug, consider avoiding walks altogether on really hot days.
  • Never leave your pet inside a car on a warm day, not even for a few minutes; it’s been shown that leaving windows open and parking in the shade has very little impact on the rapidly rising temperatures inside.1
  • Be aware of the ground temperature; sand and tarmac can get especially hot and can burn those sensitive paws.
  • Make sure dogs and cats have easy access to shade and plenty of fresh water to drink when outside; a shallow paddling pool is another great way to help pets cool down, if they’re keen!
  • Go easy on the games! Dogs are nothing if not enthusiastic, but they don’t always know when to stop, so avoid games that encourage your pet to race around in the heat of the day.
  • Consider using a pet-safe sunscreen on ears and the tip of the nose, especially if your pet has white fur.
  • Crank up the cool by putting ice cubes in water bowls, or making icy treats (a Kong filled with treats-in-ice makes a great ice-cream substitute for our pets!)

summer safety keep pets safe this summer

Barbecue safety

There’s nothing like the smell of sizzling sausages on a sunny day to signal that summer’s really arrived! But just like young children, our pets have no concept of the risks involved, so follow our top tips for a stress-free al-fresco feast!

  • It sounds obvious, but burns can happen in the blink of an eye, so keep those inquisitive noses well away from the flames, and when you’re done cooking, cool the ash down quickly and dispose of it.
  • Ignore those puppy dog eyes, and keep food well out of your pet’s reach! Not only will a burger straight from the barbecue burn their mouths, gobbling down food they don’t usually eat can cause tummy upsets, too.
  • Beware of foods  that can be poisonous to pets. Along with the usual culprits (like chocolate, grapes and raisins), there are some common barbecue favourites to watch out for:
    • Onions can be poisonous for both cats and dogs
    • Corn on the cub husks can cause gut blockages
    • Bones can splinter when crunched and cause internal damage if swallowed
  • Keep kebab sticks well out of reach! If pets swallow these (or attempt to!), they can cause serious internal injuries; it doesn’t really bear thinking about!
  • There’s nothing  like a barbecue to bring people together; but your pet might need a break from all that socialising, so make sure they’ve got a bed tucked away somewhere cool and quiet that they can retreat to for some peace if they need it!
Protect against parasites

As the weather gets warmer, it’s natural that we want to spend more time in the great outdoors, but we’re not the only ones that come out to play in the summer months! Pesky parasites become more active as the temperatures rise, and chances are our pets are going to meet at least one of these creepy crawlies when they’re out on their adventures:

  • Fleas are irritating pests that leap onto your pet and bite them to feed on their blood. They’re not just a nuisance though, fleas can cause severe itching, anaemia, and can even pass tapeworms on to your pet.
  • Ticks hide out in vegetation, and latch onto your pet (or you!) when they brush past them, feeding on their blood for days, and potentially passing on serious diseases.
  • Worms are a year-round threat to our pets, but the extra snuffling around they do in the warmer months increases the chances of them encountering these creatures. Roundworms and tapeworms live in the guts of infected cats and dogs, where they feast on whatever your pet eats. They can grow to almighty lengths (the common tapeworm that affects cats and dogs can grow up to 70cm long!!3).

Getting out into nature is one of the best things about summer, so don’t let parasites put you off! Fipnil Plus is a simple spot-on, available for both dogs and cats, that kills both fleas and ticks, and is recommended for monthly use. Combine this with Prazitel Plus tablets for dogs, or Prazitel tablets for cats, to kill the intestinal worms commonly found in UK dog and cats.

Keeping up with regular parasite treatment gives you peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to protect them against these pesky critters, letting them get on with their summertime adventures!

keep your pets safe this summer

Be water wise

A cool dip on a summer’s day can be irresistible when the sun is blazing, but water hides a multitude of dangers so follow our safe-swimming advice to help keep your four-legged friend out of trouble!

  • Not all pups are natural water babies! If your pooch doesn’t want to get their paws wet, respect their decision and don’t tempt them into the water!
  • Beach-days rule, but if your pet heads into the sea, make sure you’re aware of any local currents, especially riptides, and only let them swim in areas that are safe.
  • Try and put them off swallowing too much sea water by making sure they stay hydrated!
  • Beware of hidden dangers in rivers and lakes: weeds, branches, or even rubbish can cause even the strongest swimmers to get into difficulties
  • Don’t let pets swim in lakes with blue green algae, which can be toxic.
  • A shallow paddling pool is a great addition to the garden in the summer months, filling this with fresh water so pets can paddle and even drink from this is a great way to enjoy the water safely! 

There’s nothing like a sunny day to make our spirits rise, and there’s no reason that our four-legged friends can’t enjoy the warmer weather too; just slow down the pace, take things easy and keep cool, and you can enjoy these glorious days safely together!

keep your pets safe this summer



  1. Vets Now Summer Safety Information:
  2. Hall EJ, Carter AJ, O’Neill DG. Dogs Don’t Die Just in Hot Cars—Exertional Heat-Related Illness (Heatstroke) Is a Greater Threat to UK Dogs. Animals. 2020; 10(8):1324.