Pets can’t tell us when they’re too hot or uncomfortable in their fur coats, so it’s important for us to ensure they remain happy and healthy in the heat.
PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham has put together ten top tips for owners:
1) Never leave pets in cars, conservatories or caravans.
Not even for just a few minutes. Even on a cloudy day the temperature can rise very quickly, and you may end up being away for longer than you anticipated. Heatstroke can be fatal and every year we hear sad stories of pets that have died. For more information see the national campaign Dogs Die in Hot Cars.
2) Provide plenty of fresh, clean water.
Pets need constant access to this, so check bowls or bottles at least once a day and be on hand to provide plenty of refills.
3)Exercise in the morning or evening.
Just as we wouldn’t go for a walk under the midday sun with our coats on, we should keep our pets in the shade during the hottest part of the day too. Keep strenuous exercise to a minimum and give them free access to cool, indoor areas
4) Check your rabbit for flystrike.
This is a serious maggot infestation that can be fatal. During the summer rabbits should be checked underneath at least twice a day for fly eggs and dirt. Make sure to keep their underneath clean by wiping with a clean damp cloth.
5) Provide plenty of shade.
Not only is this important if your pet lives outdoors in an enclosure or a hutch, indoor cages should also be kept well away from the window to avoid long periods of direct sunlight. Don’t let your pet lie in direct sunlight for too long.
6) Protect them with pet sunscreen.
These are available from all good pet stores and can be used on areas of white fur or on pets with only a thin covering of hair. Protect vulnerable areas, such as the nose and, particularly for cats, the tips of the ears.
7) Enjoy a tidy BBQ.
At PDSA we’ve often had to operate to remove skewers and corn on the cobs from dog’s stomachs– so always tidy up leftovers and rubbish. Remember not to give into those puppy dog eyes and skip the scraps to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach. Along with the food, be mindful of your drinks. Alcohol can be particularly hazardous for pets and glass bottles or cups can be easily knocked over and smashed.
8) Having your pet’s fur trimmed.
This is a great way to help prevent overheating.
9) Take extra care when travelling.
If you’re going away in the car, keep windows open – but not wide enough for pets to get through. Make regular water stops. Never let your dog put their head out of the car window and never leave them in a parked car.
10) Watch out for overheating.
The signs of heat stroke start with excessive panting and can progress to fatal collapse. Keep a sharp eye and keep your nearest vet’s phone number handy just in case.. If your pet does get too hot, wrap them in a cool damp towel, changing it regularly with a fresh damp one.