Landlord EPC obligations: what you need to know

Introduction

By reading this article you will understand what an energy performance certificate (EPC) is and why every rented property must have one. Furthermore, you will also learn what the penalties are if you are found to not be meeting regulations relating to EPCs.

What is an energy performance certificate?

The certificate shows how energy efficient a building is on a scale from A to G, with A being the best and G being the worst. They also identify changes that can be made to improve the energy efficiency of a building. They are required for selling or renting any commercial or domestic properties in England and Wales.

EPC Rating explained

What do landlords need to know?

Every landlord must adhere to the following (last updated: April 2019):

  • A valid energy performance certificate
    Since April 2008 every property must have a valid certificate.
  • Minimum rating
    From April 2018 onwards, rental properties must have a rating of E or higher, unless the property qualifies for exemption. A property is exempt if the landlord has spent up to £3,500 and the property still doesn’t meet the minimum rating. This came into force in April 2019 and is considered a ‘soft cap’.
  • Section 21 compliance
    Landlords in England from October 2015 must show potential or existing tenants a valid energy performance certificate. Failing to comply to this means that a valid Section 21 eviction notice cannot be served legally. This makes compliance a crucial element of every tenancy agreement.

When must a landlord renew an EPC?

Energy performance certificates last for 10 years unless major work has been undertaken on a property. However, if you undertake any work that is likely to change the EPC rating, it is recommended you apply for a new one.

Are there any penalties if you do not have EPC for a rented property?

Trading Standards is responsible for enforcing relevant regulations and they can fine landlords £200 for every breach of the regulations in-place. Furthermore, failing to meet minimum rating standards could result in a penalty of up to £4,000.

Can an EPC rating improve the value of a property?

According to research undertaken in the UK, the value of a home can be improved by increasing the EPC rating. For more information, see our dedicated article title ‘what is the value of improving your home’s EPC rating?’

How do I get an EPC?

Get an EPC Rating for your home:

Get in touch using our contact form for more information. We are certified assessors and can provide you with a valid EPC certificate.

How much wind power does the UK generate?

Off-shore wind power

In 2017, the UK was accountable for creating more than half of Europe’s off-shore wind power, but the UK wants to build more to meet its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions as part of the United Nation’s Paris Agreement.

Renewable Energy

Power stations, such as coal-fired plants, are becoming a thing of the past as they are being replaced with renewable energy sources such as off-shore windfarms. Renewable energy means that it is naturally replenished over time. Wind farms generate energy by harnessing the wind to spin a giant ‘fan’ using a generator to convert each rotation into power.

Offshore Wind Farms

As stated earlier, the UK are clearly leading the way in terms of off-shore wind farms. This is because the country is home to 6 of the 10 biggest windfarms in the world. The UK houses the two largest off-shore windfarms in the world, producing a combined capacity of 1,289MW. These two farms alone produce more than the total off-shore wind farm production of Denmark, who are currently 4th in the world’s off-shore windfarm energy production.

Largest off-shore windfarms by capacity:

CountryWind Farm NameCapacity (MW)Year Built
UKWalney6592012
UKLondon Array6302013
NetherlandsGemini Wind Farm6002017
UKGreater Gabbard Wind Farm5042012
DenmarkAnholt4002013
BelgiumBARD offshore 14002013
UKRampion Wind Farm4002018
BelgiumThontonbank3252013
UKSherringham Shaol3152012
UKThanet3002010



Total off-shore wind farm capacity by country

As you can see, the UK are ahead of the competition and they don’t appear to be slowing anytime soon, with plans for two new farms already under construction. (Beatrice extension and Hornsea One).

Hornsea One

Hornsea is intended to become the world’s biggest offshore windfarm on completion in 2020, by supplying over 1200MW. This will dwarf the current leader by almost double. Hornsea One, once completed, will be 5 times the size of the city Hull, where the turbines are being manufactured.

The turbines being used will stand 190 metres tall, which makes them 10 metres taller than ‘The Gherkin’ building in London. The first of these turbines is now in-place and began producing electricity for the national grid for the first time in February. This giant turbine is the first of 174 turbines expected to be completed in 2020 and will supply power to more than a million homes.

comparison of the size of wind turbines

Why ‘Clean’ Energy? Renewable Vs. Non-Renewable

The UK, as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, which gives member states the objective of reducing the amount of CO2 they produce, is one of the primary motivations for moving to renewable energy production. In the past, coal power stations were the go-to for energy production. However, these are believed to be one of the worst producers of carbon dioxide. Because of this, the UK is aiming to shut down all coal-fired power stations by 2025. As of early-2019, only 7 coal power plants remain and plans for a further three to be shut this year are in-motion.

Breakdown of energy production in the UK between July and September 2018:

Non-Renewable (66.8%):

  • Gas Power 38.7%
  • Nuclear 23%
  • Coal 2.5%
  • Other 2.6%

Renewable (33.2%):

  • Onshore Wind 7.4%
  • Offshore Wind 6.6%
  • Hydro 1.1%
  • Solar 6.1%
  • Bio 12%

Should The Public Be Doing More?

We think it’s clear that the government is trying to do their bit to make use of renewable energy where possible, so that leaves us with a question… Is there more we, the public, can do? The government and local councils believe so. In many counties, it is possible for homeowners to get funding to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

This is part of the governments commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions and is a full-cycle approach. Not only are they trying to harness clean energy, they are trying to reduce the amount of waste from each home. This is done through offering funding for cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, draught proofing and loft insulation.

If you’d like to know whether you can get funding for insulating your property, get in touch with us. We can check, with no obligation, to see if you can benefit from free insulation.

The worst and best home improvements to keep your neighbours on side

Imagine this: you have an idea that you genuinely believe is amazing, only for others to swiftly shoot it down. That can happen a lot, but sometimes we are able to implement our ideas before they are shot down. In some cases, this may lead to others being annoyed at what you’ve done as it impacts them too.

With the above in mind, we’ve compiled two lists of the worst and best changes you can make to your home based upon the impact the changes have on your neighbours. This is a highly subjective topic, but when you see some of the worst changes people have made, we think you’ll see why we created this article…

Without further ado, here are three of the worst changes you could make to your home that may upset your neighbours:

  1. Garish colours
    Adding a personal touch to the exterior of your home could make your return every day that little bit more enjoyable, but at what cost to your neighbours? Painting your house or fence bright pink or blue when every other house is very similar may not appeal to everyone. In fact, some people have been forced to revert their personal touch by local councils.

    Multi-coloured House in Garish Colours

    The above is a property in Sunderland that lies within a genteel conservation area. Neighbours returned one day to find the changes were made without any consultation. It upset quite a few people living on the street who subsequently logged complaints with the local council.

  2. An extension that blocks sunlight
    One homeowner believes roughly £100,000 was wiped off the value of her home in 2014 when her neighbour built an extension that blocked one of her windows. The wall was built just 24 inches from the window and was different to the plan submitted to the council.

    Extension blocking sunlight

    It goes without saying that this impacted the relationship between the two neighbours, and we suspect other surrounding properties were impacted by this conflict too.

  3. Poorly directed outdoor lighting
    Did you know that councils have the power to make you turn off or restrict a light on your property if it is a nuisance to your neighbours. This can range from a security light through to decorative lights at Christmas time (although you’d have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to complain).

    Imagine you have a security light on the outside of your house that activates whenever someone walks past on the pavement and the light shines into the house across the road. This may be considered a nuisance. Councils assess this based upon one or more of the following:

    • Whether it interferes with the use of a property
    • Whether it impacts health
    • How it will impact others
    • How often it happens
    • How long the light stays on for
    • At what time of day does it happen
    • Whether or not it’s in the countryside or a built-up area.

Without further ado, here are three of the worst changes you could make to your home that may upset your neighbours:

  1. Soundproofing insulation
    If you live in a terrace or semi-detached property and have a young family, it goes without saying that there will be noise. There is absolutely nothing wrong with noise, as it is how memories are created, but does this affect your neighbours? Simply asking them to tell you honestly is a great place to start. Installing soundproofing might be a blessing for them or for you, if it is the other way around.

  2. Improving the curb appeal of your home
    Improving the visual appearance of your property from the outside can not only increase the value of your property, it can help make the area a much nicer place to live. We’re not saying you should go over-the-top to make your property look the best in the street. Think more along the lines of matching the standards of others or going slightly above that.

  3. Garden entertainment
    This may seem a little unorthodox at first but improving your garden (back/rear) and hosting a get-to-together for your neighbours may help bring people together and create a community of happy homeowners. Ok, so some may see this as a tad bit of gloating, but you can word it as if you’re letting everyone enjoy the new features to your garden. For example, you could install a new patio area with a pizza oven or BBQ. If that’s not enough, you could even opt for a hot tub.

    We are not saying you should do this just for your neighbours enjoyment. It’s your garden so it’s about you. But there’s nothing wrong with making friends at the same time.

That’s it! You’ve reached the end of our list. Have you got any experience of the points we’ve listed or perhaps a neighbour of yours has made drastic changes to their home and annoyed you in the process? If so, contact us as we’d love to hear from you. If it’s good, we’ll update our list!

What is the value of improving your homes EPC rating?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives your home a rating (or score) from G to A, with G being the worst and A being the best. Every property must have one of these if it is sold or rented as they are a legal requirement and give potential buyers and tenants a guide on how energy efficient a property is.

Does a better EPC rating increase the value of your home?

According to research by Moneysupermarket.com, homeowners can boost the price of their property by as much as £24,000 by increasing their EPC rating. Going into more detail, the research suggested that moving from G to F could improve your property value by 6% and going from G to A could increase it by 14%:

Energy Rating BeforeEnergy RatingPotential Value Increase
EPC GEPC F6%
EPC E7%
EPC D8%
EPC C10%
EPC B14%
EPC A14%

 

What are the most efficient ways to improve your EPC rating?

Below are common methods undertaken by homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home. If you want specific advice about your home, you can start by reviewing your existing EPC if you have one. This will list methods to improve your rating.

  1. Insulate your home
    There are many different types of insulation, from loft through to cavity wall insulation. It’s best to speak to an expert who will advice you at no cost. We offer this service, as do many others. If you’d like our opinion, please call us on 01482 588591.
  2. Use energy efficient light bulbs
    You can purchase LED bulbs for under £3-5 each and they can dramatically reduce your energy bill and make your home more efficient. This is one of the cheapest ways to improve the efficiency of your home.
  3. Upgrade your boiler
    This is one the most expensive item on the list, but sometimes it is necessary if you want to make a big improvement to your energy rating. When factoring in the potential increase in house value, replacing your boiler could be a very sensible investment.
  4. Draught proofing
    Controlling the ventilation of your home is important and so is keeping out draughts. Draughts let out the warm air in your home, which makes your heating source work harder. Draught-proofing doesn’t isn’t an overly expensive job, but it is recommended you seek professional help as you do not want to unsettle your controlled ventilation, as it could lead to damp issues.

There are many more ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, especially if you are not particularly interested in improving the EPC rating. Read our handy guide on the easiest ways to heat your home for more information.

How is an EPC rating calculated?

Every house that is listed for sale or to rent will have one of the following charts for you to review. ‘Current’ is self-explanatory, but ‘potential’ is what the assessor believes the house could achieve with work, which could draught proofing, heat insulation through to a new boiler.

EPC Rating explained

When must you renew an EPC certificate?

They are valid for up to 10 years. However, it is recommended you renew the certificate if you have made improvements to your property that are likely to improve its rating and you are looking to sell or rent.

Get an EPC Rating for your home:

Get in touch using our contact form for more information. We are certified assessors and can provide you with a valid EPC certificate.

Cavity Wall Insulation Damp Problems & How To Avoid It

Cavity wall insulation is an excellent solution to reducing your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient. This makes it very attractive to homeowners, especially considering there are a lot of grants that allow eligible homeowners to get the insulation for free. However, issues can arise and the biggest threat is damp.

Should you be concerned if you have or want to get cavity wall insulation?

If you’ve had cavity wall insulation installed for years and haven’t experienced any damp issues, then there is likely no reason for you to be concerned. However, there’s a simple list of points you can check yourself to ensure you’re not at risk. If you’re not sure about any of the questions or how to answer them, speak to a professional. If you’re in the process of looking into cavity wall insulation, this is also an excellent checklist to go through beforehand. 

  1. Is your house expoAreas of the UK exposed to wind and rainsed to severe levels of rain that is wind-driven? See zones three and four in the map.
  2. Is your house in an unsheltered position (e.g. with no other houses, structures or natural objects blocking the wind and rain).
  3. Are your external walls in poor condition (e.g. crumbling brickwork or mortar).
  4. Ensure you use a CIGA-approved installer
    See the below paragraph for more information.

 

If you comfortably believe you do not suffer from any of the listed points, the next step is finding or ensuring your cavity wall installer is accredited by CIGA. This means you’re unlikely to fall foul of damp issues as it is an independent body that guarantees your cavity walls for 25 years. To ensure you’re not being fooled by a rogue trader, you can check the CIGA website for an up to date list of members.

What causes damp issues associated with cavity wall insulation?

The main reason is a poor installation process and a lack of checks beforehand to ensure there will be no issues. Cavity wall insulation fills the gaps between your bricks and ensures your home stays warm. However, if a gap is left, the cold air will remain there. These spaces are where the moisture builds up and over time it will move through your walls, potentially also bringing black mould with it.

Furthermore, the damp will also spread through the cavity wall insulation, which means it is likely to cool and draw heat from your property. The result of this is it does the complete opposite of what it is supposed to do – keep heat in your home.

Closing Notes:

By using a CIGA-approved installer, there is very little chance of you falling foul of the issues described in this article. We are CIGA-approved and if you are interested in learning more on how cavity wall insulation can help you reduce your energy bills and keep your house warm, please contact us.

Earth Overshoot Day – 1st August 2018

Each year humanity consumes natural resources produced by the Earth and the Earth Overshoot Day marks the point each year at which we consume more resources than the earth can regenerate.

Earth Overshoot Day - 1st August

In 1970, Earth Overshoot Day came on December 29th, in 2000 it came September 23rd, and this year, 2018, it came on August 1st. Everything after Overshoot Day will never be available again, like borrowing more money from a bank to cover the cost from the previous year. Only this deficit is paid by consuming more and more resources and producing waste such as pumping ever greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere beyond Earth’s ability to absorb it. This results in global warming as the extra CO2 is kept within the atmosphere around Earth.

Share of year remaining after Earth Overshoot Day by year

To combat the effects of global warming and climate change, world leaders gathered and ratified the Paris Climate Accord in 2015. 196 nations committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the average global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the year 2020. In the UK the agreement spurred the creation of a series of initiatives aimed to tackle sources of CO2 emissions. Heating the existing UK housing stock accounts for 10% of the nation’s carbon footprint and tackling this waste can make a significant contribution to reducing our footprint and pushing Earth Overshoot Day back towards a state of equilibrium.

At Heat Insulation Ltd we are doing our part to reduce CO2 emissions by helping homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. We do this by providing a range of insulation that keeps the warm air in and the cold out, which results in you needing to use your heating less. Contact us for a no obligation discussion about how we can reduce the carbon footprint of your home and help the UK and the world save our planet.

You can read more about Earth overshoot day here (https://www.overshootday.org/about-earth-overshoot-day/) and more about the Paris Climate Accord here.

Greenhouse Gas and Emmisions: Are we doing enough?

The UK has an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and in particular CO2 emissions by 50% before 2025 and then 80% by 2050, but will we succeed?

 

What are greenhouse gasses?

Greenhouse gasses are compounds which keep the earth’s surface warmer than it would be if they were not present by trapping heat within the atmosphere, this causes what we call the greenhouse effect. The more of these gasses the stronger the greenhouse effect.

Without these gasses and the greenhouse effect, the earth average temperature would go from 14.4°C to around -18.1°C. If the earth were to be at this temperature then life as we know it would not be possible, meaning some greenhouse gasses are essential for life. However, it is getting to a point where the increase of the earth’s temperature is resulting in things such as melting ice caps, drastic changes in weather patterns, and shifts in habitat effecting biodiversity, all a cause for great concern.

 

What are we doing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions?

One of the worst generators of CO2 is coal, however, the UK has been powered for over a thousand hours this year without coal. The UK government, within the ‘coal phase-out’ have laid out rules meaning all coal power stations will be forced to close by October 2025. One of the UK’s Eight remaining stations is expected to shut this year, following 3 other stations which shut in 2016.

UK emissions fells by 5% between 2015-2016 meaning the UK is leading the race to ‘beat’ emissions.

1990 has been used as a benchmark from which the UK has to improve from, and since that point, our greenhouse gas emissions have fallen a whopping 41% including the main cause (carbon dioxide) which has been reduced by 36%.

This reduction has largely been driven by energy suppliers. Within the first 3 months of 2018 over 30% of the energy supplied was by renewable energy sources, which has all allowed them to cut their emissions by 57%!

By comparison, the transport industry has only reduced their emissions by 2%, resulting in them, and other sectors, being condemned for not doing enough.

Housing is one of those sectors, where companies such as Persimmon have been ‘named and shamed, by giving a bonus of £110million to their CEO, yet not insulating their houses which would allow customers to both lower their energy usage and their bills.

The UKs Goals and Commitments

The UK government has made many promises around how it is going to combat greenhouse gas emissions, and with their legal obligation to reduce their 1990 CO2 equivalent emissions 50% by 2025, and then by 80% by 2050, they’re going to need to live up to them.

Many things such as insulation, changing the way people commute and energy production can help to reduce these emission. The UK has stated such, with ambitions to end sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. It has also been said by rail minister Jo Johnson that they would like to see all diesel only trains off the tracks by 2040, to be replaced with alternatives such as hydrogen.

Overall, the government is doing a lot to help ensure our emissions go down such as phasing out coal and other fossil fuels, however, there are still big segments such as agriculture, public transport and home usage which need to be pushed harder.

 

Are we doing enough?

Although the UK has come leaps and bounds in reducing its carbon footprint, this is largely thanks to the suppliers. They have been pro-active in phasing out coal energy whilst increasing the use of renewable sources such as turbines.

It is other sectors that are hindering our progression, meaning as the energy suppliers advancements begin to plateau, the progress must be picked up and carried forward by other sectors, and the public.

One of the biggest impacts everyone can have to make a difference is to ensure our homes are as energy efficient as possible, and the biggest factor for most homes is energy waste through poor, or missing insulation

Cavity Wall Insulation Grants & How To Apply

There are many grants available for households throughout the UK to cover the cost of cavity wall insulation, but not enough has been done to promote their existence. Cavity wall insulation is an excellent way to prevent heat escaping from your home and will save you money as you require less energy to achieve the temperatures you desire.

It may seem like a magic fix that is too good to be true, but there has been extensive research on the subject that highlights the many benefits. For example, a government study found that around a third of all heat in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of cavity wall insulation and whether or not it’s right for your home, see our dedicated page on cavity wall insulation. From this point on we’re going to assume it’s right for you and tell you how to get the cost of it covered.

Cavity wall insulation grants

There are many different schemes available, both locally and nationally, from council-led initiatives through to grants from energy providers. The easiest way to find out whether you’re eligible for any of these is to speak to us or a similar company.

Many energy providers provide free cavity wall insulation regardless of the household income and situation. Others are more specific and may look at income or whether an occupant receives a certain benefit.

The great news is that many providers do not even require you to be a customer for you to benefit from their specific scheme as their objective is to simply reduce household emissions overall.

Tip:

Don’t forget to check local schemes that you may be eligible for (the easiest way is to let us check by phoning or using our contact form).

Sometimes these are much easier to apply for as they work with businesses, such as ourselves, who will handle all the entire process, from the initial assessment through to installing the cavity wall insulation.

Councils offering grants for cavity wall insulation –
Many councils throughout the UK provide some form of a grant for cavity wall insulation and it is recommended you look at your local council offering as well as looking elsewhere. Below is a selection of councils in the UK that offer grants. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does show that many offer such schemes.

Council
East Riding of
Yorkshire Council
More Information
Manchester City
Council
More Information
Oxford City
Council
More Information
Sheffield City
Council
More Information

The ‘big’ energy providers offering free cavity wall insulation grants –
Below is a selection of some of the largest energy providers in the UK and their criteria for receiving free cavity wall insulation.

Energy
provider
Criteria
for free cavity wall insulation
NpowerNoneMore information
E.onNoneMore information
EDFScheme on holdMore information
SSEMust be receiving certain benefitsMore information

How do I apply for a cavity wall insulation grant?

The easiest way is to simply fill out our contact form and we will assess your situation and tell you what schemes are available to you. If you’re outside of our catchment area, we have an extensive list of third-parties that are trusted and we can refer you to.

How do I find out if I already have cavity wall insulation?

Most homes built within the last 20 years or so have cavity wall insulation. If you’re not sure, check the documentation you have for your home as there may be paperwork for it. You can also speak to a company such as ourselves and we can check to see whether you do have filled cavity walls.

Am I likely to be rejected free cavity wall insulation?

The following is a list of common reasons for rejection:

  • Your home is not eligible for cavity wall insulation (e.g. you have solid walls)
  • You live in a flat and other occupants do not want cavity wall insulation
  • You have on-going damp issues
  • Your cavities are too small (an assessment will identify this)
  • Your house does not rely on a steel or timber-frame

How much can cavity wall insulation save me on your energy bill?

The Energy Saving Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, estimates that a typical semi-detached home could save £145 per year on their energy bill after cavity wall insulation has been installed. This is by no means a small amount when you could get the insulation completely free of charge.

Type of homeSaving per year
Detached house (four bedrooms)£225
Semi-detached house (three bedrooms)£150
Terrace house (mid with three bedrooms)£95

What’s The Easiest Ways To Heat Your Home?

The UK is well-known for its unpredictable weather. One day you could be hosting a BBQ in your garden and the next day you’re wrapping yourself up in blankets to keep warm inside. What does this mean? Simply put, having the right heating system in your house is vital if you want a happy household.

With the above in mind, here are our top tips for keeping your house warm without making drastic changes to your home.

  1. Bleed your radiators
    Do you know if all of your radiators are working to their full potential? If you don’t simply go to each radiator in your home when your heating is on and check whether they’re heating up to the top. If they’re not, they may need bleeding.

    Bleeding a radiator is extremely simple. All you need is a compatible key (purchasable from a variety of places, from DIY shops to Amazon). Once you’ve got a key, use it to simply open the little valve at the top of your radiator. You’ll hear air escape and as soon as you see a drop of water, close it.

  2. Close your curtains
    Curtains act as an extra layer of insulation to keep your rooms warm when it’s cold outside. The thicker the curtain, the better. But closing any curtain will provide an additional layer to keep the cold out and the heat in.
  3. Get your boiler serviced
    It’s not a glamourous task, but your boiler needs looking after just like a car or your own body. Getting your boiler serviced could make a big difference to how fast your home heats up or how much your boiler has to work to maintain a comfortable temperature. Whatever you do, do not try and do this yourself. Only an engineer who is Gas Safe registered should undertake the inspection and any required work.
  4. Move your sofas
    Many homes have radiators in places where you’d typically also place a sofa. This results in you putting your sofa in front of your radiator and the result is your sofa will be lovely and warm inside, but the rest of the room may not be. Simply moving your sofas can make a huge difference, as it allows the heat to circulate in your room.
  5. Draught proof your home
    Draughts not only do the obvious – make your room colder. They can also have a psychological impact. Getting a cold breeze on your arm can make you feel a lot colder than you actually are. You can either look to patch it up yourself or if you have too many for you to handle, you can speak to experts (such as us) and potentially even get a grant to cover the cost!
  6. Put tinfoil to good use
    Did you know that simply placing tin foil behind your radiators will reflect the heat into your rooms? Don’t bother with pre-made foil insulation if you’re going to do-it-yourself. Tin foil that you’re likely to have in your kitchen is more than enough for the job.

Bonus: Insulate your home for free

You could potentially insulate your home for free by taking advantage of a government grant that can cover a variety of insulation methods, such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or draught proofing.

Contact us online or call us on 01482 588591 for more information.

That’s it! Following these simple steps can help you boost the efficiency of your heating and keep everyone happy under your roof. After reading this article, we hope you can see that little changes in your home can make a big difference.

Prevent Heatstroke in your Dog

With recent bank holidays reaching record-breaking heats as well as increasing summer temperatures, it is important to make sure we take care of our dogs to prevent our beloved dogs getting heatstroke.

Heatstroke affects tens of thousands of dogs every year in the UK, this can result in your pup being out of action for a few days, unplanned veterinary bills and in worst instances even resulting in the loss of a loved one.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs include but aren’t limited to:
• Faster, heavier panting
• Extreme thirst
• Frequent vomiting
• Reddening of tongue and gums
• The skin around muzzle/neck doesn’t snap back when pinched
• Thick saliva
• Increased heart rate
• Signs of agitation
• Excessive drooling
• Glassy eyes
• Weakness or collapse
• Seizures
• Unconsciousness

If you see any of these signs, the best cause of action is to consult with your vet.
The best way to deal with heatstroke is prevention, here are some top tips to keep your pup safe and comfortable in hot weather.

#1 Get to know your dog!

Get to know your dog!

Knowing the needs and requirements of your dog is always important, especially during the summer! Not all dogs are the same and some dogs especially need that bit of extra care during the warmth.

Unlike human’s, dogs don’t sweat all over and instead use respiration such as panting to cool down, unfortunately, snub-nosed dogs such as pugs have sweat glands in their feet and cannot pant as efficiently as dogs with longer snouts.

Snub-nosed dogs aren’t the only at-risk dogs during hot weather: black dogs, due to their colour are more heat absorbent and therefore have a larger risk of heatstroke as well as dogs with thicker coats.

#2 Hydration

Ensure your pets are hydratedIt may be obvious but the most important thing to remember during the hot weather is to keep your dog hydrated, especially during exercise.

If you take your dog out, make sure you have some water in a bottle or container to make sure that your dog does end up dehydrated. You should also make sure that at home there is water for your dog and it can even be a great idea to have multiple bowls.

On hotter days placing ice cubes in the bowl can be a much nicer alternative for your dog so it doesn’t have to drink hot water. This ice is a great idea if you are leaving your dog alone for a while as the ice melting will make sure that there is always cool water for your dog. If you’re leaving your dogs for a longer amount of time, multiple dogs or even just want to make it the best experience for your dog you can purchase water bowls online which automatically refill when getting low or even fountains which spray when your dog stands on them!

#3 Ice Treats

Dogs eating frozen treats in summer

Who doesn’t love a nice icy snack to help cool down in hot weather? Dogs are not different!

Keeping in mind of allergies and what your dog can and cannot eat there are many little snacks you can make for your dog to ensure they’re happy and cool!

Frozen treats for your dog can be as simple as freezing fruits, meat, and bones! Most dogs love ice and there are plenty of toys made to fill and freeze which you can grab to help keep your dog cool while playing and exercising during the summer!

#4 Pool Party

Dogs relaxing in a swimming poolWe know not everyone has a full-size pool they can let their dog play about in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw them an awesome pool party to keep them cool in the hot weather.

Little paddling pools are great cheap ways for dogs to cool down, for as little as £5 you can grab a small ankle-deep pool for them to play around with in your garden helping them keep cool and look even cooler.

Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with pools, however, there are many ways to make it fun for the both of you! Why not grab some toys to throw and watch them bundle after or even grab a hose or water pistol and watch them darting about trying to catch the water!

#5 Keeping a cool house

A dog relaxing on a cool matt during summer

Having a cool house gives your dog an area to keep shaded and cool down, not everyone has aircon but luckily the best spot for this is in the northernmost room in the house due to it getting the least amount of sun during the day.

By giving your dog access to this room you may not even have to worry about leaving windows open or leaving air-conditioning on, especially if your house is insulated as it should manage to keep the room cool enough to let your dog regulate its body temperature. To find out out if your house is insulated contact the specialist at Heat Insulation here.

You may notice during especially hot days your dog or other pets laying on tiles like your bathroom floor, this is because these aren’t very good at absorbing heat and therefore stay relatively cold so getting them a light ceramic tile or cooling mat kept in the shade for them to lay on can be a nice little comfy spot for them to chill out and cool down in the hot weather.

#6 Avoid exercising during midday

A dog being taken for a walk at sunsetAs mentioned above exercising at the hottest points of the day is a big no, no, during these times of day in the summer there are many hazards for your dog which can easily be avoided.

Firstly, at the hottest points of the day the sun has been heating the floor up which can make it unbearable for your dog to walk on and even severely burn their paws, Tarmac has been known to get as hot as 60oC and even begin to melt people’s shoes, imagine how painful this could be for your poor dog’s bare feet!

Secondly, If the heat is uncomfortable for you it is also uncomfortable for your dog, especially if you’re getting them to run around playing and exercising. If you’re going to do this wait for the weather to cool or do it earlier in the morning, the increased heat makes over exercising much more likely in all dogs so beware and try your best to avoid exercising your dog’s during the hotter parts of the day.

#7 Dress For the weather  

A dog wearing specialist equipment

It is easy to forget how hot the ground can get in the summer heat, it is always good to check before you take your dogs on a walk, especially if you cannot avoid exercising them at the hottest parts of the day, if the ground is too hot one way to protect your dog’s paws is booties!

You can get many different styles of boots, shoes, and socks to help protect your dog’s paws and keep them clean, however it is important to make sure you research the attire before putting it on your dog as some shoes are purely aesthetic and can cause your dog more pain than comfort!

Shoes aren’t the only item that you can dress your dog up in to help protect them from the heat, there are also protective and cooling jackets. Some jackets are made to hold on to water and help cool off your dog in a similar way to us sweating.

#8 Sun cream

Sun-burnt dogsYour dog just like you need protection from the sun, this is especially important on dogs with shorter coats and light skin as these are liable to be burned, especially in places like the nose, ears and other areas with less fur.

It is also a good idea to use things like moisturizers or waxes to help protect your dog’s bare paws to help protect them from injury and keeping them in tip-top condition, as well as regularly checking them to make sure any injuries are cleaned out to ensure they are as least painful as they can be.

#9 Don’t shave

Shaved dog

Shaving your dog may seem like a great idea but it’s not.

Dogs fur is there for many reasons and shaving it might have more of an effect than just cooling it down and changing its look. Double coated dogs such as the Husky, Akita and even Pomeranians have 2 layers of fur for 2 different reasons, the first undercoat is a short fine fluffy hair which is used for insulating the dog and changes depending on the weather to regulate their temperature.

The second coat is their top coat which is made of much tougher hair which is used to protect your dog from bugs, plants and the sun. This layer also helps in insulating them from the sun letting the wind get in and under the fur to keep them cool.