Pets rely on us and owners to keep them cool during warm weather. Even here in the UK we get heatwaves and warm spells, so here are a few hints and tips to help keep your pets cool this Summer.
- If your pets are outside, make sure there is access to a cool or shady area at all times of the day - remember as the sun moves areas of shade will change. If it gets too hot you may need to bring them indoors altogether.
- Make sure to keep an eye on your pet when they are outside, as when animals are thirsty they will drink anything – including liquids like Antifreeze which is toxic to animals and from dirty water sources.
- Offer your pet plenty of fresh water, possibly in a few bowls just in case one is accidentally knocked over.
- Animals can get sunburn too, so apply sunscreen to the nose and ears of pale coloured cats and dogs – if in doubt please ask your local veterinary practice for advice.
- Not all pets are the same when it comes to keeping cool; muscular dogs, overweight pets, long haired pets, young and old pets need extra care during hot weather.
- Don’t worry if your dog or cat starts panting – they will do so in order to take on cooler air if they’re really hot. Cats pant more rarely than dogs so any heavy panting should be cause for concern, if this happens please seek veterinary guidance.
- Remember for any pet that is kept inside; ensure that the room is cool and well ventilated. It may be necessary to close the curtains and open a window if there is a breeze.
- If your pet seems in discomfort then wetting their feet and using a cooling mist may help. This is an option for dogs, cats, and small animals as many control their body temperature through their feet.
- Don’t leave your pet in a glass conservatory, caravan or car, even for a minute. An open window is not an adequate way to keep them cool.
- Remember to take plenty of water when you go out for a walk. There are various collapsible and lightweight options for travel water bowls which can be used.
- Did you know that up to a third of dogs may suffer from hay fever? This can lead to skin irritations which may become infected if your dog is continuously scratching. Please seek veterinary guidance if there is excessive scratching.
- Be particularly careful with short nosed dogs such as bull breeds, boxers, pugs, older dogs, and those that are overweight. These dogs can get heatstroke simply by running around.
- Take care of your dog’s delicate paws. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paw pads too. Check that any pavements aren't too hot to walk on, this can happen when the day is at its hottest between 10am-4pm
- Grooming your dog is important in the summer months, especially for long-haired breeds, to get rid of matts and tangles. A tangle-free coat will protect your pet’s delicate skin and help to keep them cool. Plus, if your pet’s coat is dirty and matted then you run the risk of flies laying their eggs and becoming maggots. Some breeds may need their coats trimming to keep them comfortable. Ask a professional groomer for advice.
- There are toys available which help to keep pets cool when playing. Available from all good pet stores you soak them in water then freeze until needed. See pictures below of Willow and Crumpet enjoying their watermelon toy! (These toys retail for around £5.99).
- Dogs also enjoy supervised playtime in paddling pools. Although there are 'special' pet versions available the classic plastic shell type we all know from childhood is a good and cheaper option.
- Make homemade cooling treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong (our absolute favourite dog toy) and pop it in the freezer.
- Cats tend to groom more often when it’s warmer- this is a cooling mechanism which is similar to us sweating. The saliva evaporates off the fur and helps the cat to cool down.
- Cats need a massive 16 hours of sleep a day! So they are often sensible and nap more when it’s a warm day as opposed to running around.
- Cats don't tend to like putting their head into water bowls so it is best to keep them topped up to the rim or use a cat water fountain.
- Another essential tip is to provide water away from feeding bowls. This is due to a cats wild instinct that water near their kill could be contaminated. Cats prefer to seek out water away from their food source.