The summer months and sunshine are always a welcome addition to the year, but summer months can be uncomfortable, even dangerous for pets and people alike. Keeping your furry friends cool in hot weather is about being prepared and taking some precautions. So, as well as having fun in the warmer weather, it’s important to think about keeping your cat or dog safe, healthy and happy in the heat. We've put together some top tips, so pets can enjoy the heat and stay safe.
Keep dogs cool in the summer
Dogs have fewer sweat glands than people, hence keeping cooler in summer can be tricky. Dogs main sweat glands are in their paws, they release heat either through their paws or panting to help lower body temperature.
1. Plan Walks Carefully: Limit exercise and avoid walking your dog if the weather is too hot. Plan gentler walks for a shorter period of time either very early in the day before or late in the evening when the temperature is naturally lower, and significantly reduced. Allow your dog to take regular breaks in the shade during a gentler walk.
2. Protect Paws: Avoid contact with surfaces which heat up in the sun such as tarmac or sand. Walking on these hotter surfaces can be painful for your dogs paws. Stick to grass and shaded areas instead. Check your dogs’ paws too, if they feel hot, then the chances are your dog is feeling the heat.
3. Remember Fresh Water: Ensure you replenish cold water in your dogs drinking bowl frequently throughout the day. Invest in a pet water bottle specifically designed for dogs for walks and whilst on-the-go.
4. Never Leave Dogs in Cars: Leaving a dog in a hot car can be fatal. On warmer days, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Do not be tempted, even if the car is parked in the shade, if the windows are left open or air conditioning left on, as dogs can easily become distressed and develop heat stroke. Avoid leaving your dog in the car at all costs.
5. Use A Cooling Mat: Gel filled cooling mats, are designed to keep pets cool and comfortable on warmer days. They are activated by weight when your dogs sits on it and will help them to maintain a cooler temperature. These mats are ideal to use in dog beds, kennels, crates, and when traveling. Perfect to use after a walk and in the garden to help keep your pet cool. This large pet cooling mat by RSPCA is only £20.
6. Provide Shade: Creating areas of shade in the garden for dogs is important. If you don't have natural shade from trees or hedges, then a large umbrella or pop-up canopy are good alternatives. You can also get some dog beds with their own canopy too or a pop-up gazebo.
7. Look Out for Signs Of Heat Stroke: Dogs can easily develop heatstroke if they overheat. It’s important to know what signs to look out for and how to avoid it, to avoid urgent veterinary treatment.
Signs can include: Heavy panting, lethargy, confusion, loss of coordination, drooling, foaming at the mouth, vomiting or diarrhoea, shaking, general weakness and seizures.
If you think your dog may have developed heat stroke, act fast, and contact your vet immediately. In the meantime, move your dog to a shaded and cool area, keep them calm and still, put them on a cooling mat or on cool wet towels, give them cold water to drink, poor cool water over their paws, ears and head (avoid ice water or very cold water). Seek more advise on Battersea.org.uk.
Keep cats cool in the summer
1. Keep Your Cat Hydrated: Cats need to stay hydrated in the heat. Ensure to leave bowls of fresh cold water dotted around the house, encouraging them to stay hydrated in the heat.
2. Provide Shade: Create areas of shelter in the garden, so that your cat has the option to keep cool when roaming around outdoors.
3, Use A Fan: Indoor cats can feel the heat just as much, so investing in a small fan will help. See our collection of fans.
4. Keep Cool Flooring Uncovered: Don’t be surprised to find your cat stretched out on a tiled bathroom or kitchen floor to keep cool. Therefore it's worth considering removing the bat mats and rugs.
5. Use A Damp Wash Cloth: On hotter days stroking your cat with a cool damp wash cloth will help them cool down.
6. Use A Cooling Mat: Cool mats are also a great option for cats, and especially helpful for protecting senior cats and cats recovering from surgery.
7. Look Out for Signs Of Heat Stroke: Cats are affected by the sun, same as dogs and can develop heat stroke in the summer.
Keep an eye out for the following signs: Agitation, breathing rapidly, extreme distress, skin hot to the touch, glazed eyes, vomiting and drooling, lethargy and weakness.
Visit the RSPCA for more pet welfare tips and advice.
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