We don’t always get a good summer in Britain but when the temperatures do soar, it’s important to keep your pets cool to prevent sun burn and heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Here are our top tips for keeping your pets cool in the hot weather:
- Avoid walking your dogs at the hottest part of the day. Walk early in the morning or late at night when it is cooler and avoid throwing balls and vigorous activities.
- Hot pavements can burn delicate paws, even at the cooler times of day try to keep to the shade. If the pavement is too hot for the palm of your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
- Keep your cats and dogs in the cooler areas of your home. Rooms with tiled floors, cooling mats or wet towels can be cool to lie on. Keep curtains shut to stop the sunlight heating up the room.
- Keep your cool coat wet! Cool coats have become popular items for dogs but these only work if the coat is keep wet at all times, if it is allowed to dry out then the coat will simply be heating your dog. Draping a wet towel over your dog and sitting them in front of a fan can be a good alternative.
- If your pet is hot, wetting their ears and paws can help cool them down.
- Use Ice cubes in your pet’s water bowl to keep the water cool and provide extra bowls in different areas around the home. Hydration is very important.
- Get your dog a paddling pool! Instead of walking them, playing with toys in a shade covered pool can be just as rewarding.
- Freeze treats in ice cubes as a fun reward that will keep your dog cool, Vet’s Kitchen Little Stars are ideal for this.
- Groom your dog, cat or small animal. Removing dead fur helps to keep them cool by removing loose fur. Shaving your dog’s fur can actually make them hotter depending on their coat type.
- Take particular attention to flatter faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, Persian cats and lop-eared rabbits. Their skull shape and smaller airways means they are more likely to overheat in the hot weather and struggle to breathe.
- White cats, dogs and hairless breeds can easily become sun burnt. Keep them protected with pet safe sun cream, provide plenty of shade and using protective t-shirts for hairless breeds.
- Don’t forget pets in hutches! Rabbits and guinea pigs can also suffer from heat stroke. Move hutches and runs into the shade and use ice pods or frozen water bottles to keep them cool. Offer bowls as well as bottles of water and make sure protective rain covers are not covering the hutch and blocking air flow.
Signs of heat stroke
These are just a few ideas to keep your pets cool and enjoying the summer, however it’s important to recognise the signs of heat stroke in pets. You are more likely to see these in dogs and the first signs are fast and heavier panting, signs of agitation (barking, whimpering, unsettled), excessive drooling and thirst. As the condition progresses, the heart rate and pulse will increase and dark red lips, gums or tongue can be seen.
The tell-tale signs that your dog has heat stroke is they will appear uncoordinated and may appear to stagger, become very weak and/or collapse. In very severe cases seizures can develop and/or the animal will lose consciousness. Detecting early heat stroke signs early in your pet and seeking veterinary treatment immediately is critical to the animal’s survival.