Brindle lurcher outside Buckingham Palace

Travelling with your dog in the summer

Everyone loves the summertime - the longer days mean that we can get out for those beautiful long walks with our dogs, perhaps take a trip to the beach or the countryside. 

We naturally want to include our dogs in as much of our summer activity as possible and this usually involves them travelling with us as well.

Below is a handy guide on what to be aware of when travelling with your dog in the heat and ways in which you can prevent them overheating.

London Underground

While the Underground is a great way to get across London very quickly and make it out to those lovely parks you want to explore with your pooch, you should be sure to avoid travel on the tube at peak times in the heat. The Underground can be excessively warm on a normal day but during hot spells, it can reach over 30°C!

Trains

Luckily most trains have air conditioning which can offer a much needed reprieve from the heat in the summer. However, if you find that your train doesn’t have air conditioning or it’s broken, then it may be best to wait for the next train for a comfortable journey.

Buses

Overcrowding on the bus can cause temperatures on board to soar. To avoid your dog overheating, you should try to find a bus that has enough room for your dog to comfortably move around and lie down.

Cabs/Cars

Most of us will use a car with our dog at some point; you should never leave your dog in a cab/car unattended. Temperatures rocket inside a car on a warm day, and your dog can overheat quicker than you would think. They can’t sweat in the same way that people can which means they struggle to keep cool. Never leave a dog in a hot car, even for a moment.

There are some other precautions you should take when travelling by car/cab:

  • make sure your dog is secured by a harness or barrier and that there is plenty of ventilation
  • sun screens on the windows will offer protection from direct sunlight
  • avoid the midday heat by travelling early or late in the day
  • you can use a misting spray to keep your dog cool, but avoid their face
Brindle lurcher stood by Westminster Pier sign

Boats

Whether it’s taking your dog on a fun boat journey or your daily commute via a service like the Thames Clipper, you should ensure that your dog is safely on lead and in from the shelter of the elements. The sun can be particularly strong when you’re out on the water and your dog may not show signs of heatstroke straight away.

Walking

Brindle lurcher (left) and golden labrador (right) by red London phone box

Taking a nice stroll in the sunshine with your dog can be the perfect way to get around. However, during midday the temperature is at its highest point. Pavements can heat up and cause your dog’s paws to burn. 

In hot weather, dogs should only be walked first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

A simple test is to take your own shoes off and stand on the path. If you are unable to keep your feet on the path for five seconds, then it is not safe to walk your dog.

Note: Especially take care of overweight, brachycephalic and elderly dogs which are at a higher risk of getting heatstroke than other dogs.

Top tips:

Brindle lurcher drinking water in the park
  • Carry water at all times and offer this to your dog regularly
  • Avoid travelling at peak times of the day
  • Avoid overcrowded transportation
  • Consider travelling with a cooling mat so that your dog can choose to lie on this if they wish
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car in the heat
  • Check the heat of the pavement before walking your dog on the concrete

Heatstroke in dogs – know the signs and how to prevent it

  • Heatstroke can be fatal and requires urgent veterinary attention
  • Look out for heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs then stop, find a shady spot, give your dog water and wet the coat (with tepid/cool, but not ice cold water). Contact your vet immediately.
  • Never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open – and call 999 right away if you see a dog trapped in a car on a hot day
  • Heatstroke can result in collapse, excessive panting, purple gums and redness of the skin – if this happens, give water, wet the coat or cool your dog with a wet towel and contact your vet immediately.

Read more about keeping your dog safe in summer here.

— Page last updated 17/05/2021

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