As the temperature dial swings around to the red zone and our thermometers are set to burst, it’s important that we keep our fur-lined family members comfortably cool. Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and remaining wary of them is extremely important. Excessive or loud panting, thick saliva, and a bright red tongue are all symptoms to watch out for. Here are a few ways to prevent your pup, kitten, or small fluffy friend from overheating in the summer sun…
If you’re feeling the heat, then you can be sure your pets are too. Just like you, they need somewhere shady to retreat to when the temperatures get too much. Regularly bring them back indoors to cool down and try to keep them inside during the hottest hours of the day. The best place for an overheated cat or dog to lie is on a cool tiled floor with a fan blowing around the room.
If you’re leaving your animals home alone, ensure that the curtains are closed and the windows are open enough to allow fresh air in.
Ensure your pets have constant access to plenty of fresh, clean water! Dehydration can set in quickly on hot days. Keep any water bowls topped up and have a spare in a shady spot in the garden to encourage them to take a break. If you’re leaving the house with your dog then take plenty of bottled water and a travel bowl, stopping regularly to top up their fluid levels. A lot of dog-friendly cafés and pubs put out bowls of water for thirsty pooches so keep an eye out for these while you’re out and about.
Remember that your pets don’t wear shoes like you do. Their paws make direct contact with the hot ground which can burn or damage their pads. Check the ground outside is cool enough by pressing your hand on it for 5 seconds – if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for them. Avoid going on daily walks with them until the temperatures are comfortable again and try to go on a grassy route rather than over concrete or asphalt. If it is extremely hot outside, it’s much better to leave your pet at home rather than take them out with you.
Your cat might not take too kindly to a dip in a river or the sea, but your dog will! Let them have a refreshing swim to cool down, just don’t stand too close when they get out or you might end up soaked too. Paddling pools aren’t just for kids! Fill one up in the garden and watch them splash around or set off the sprinklers for more fun.
Your pets can get sunburnt too! On patches when their hair is thin or their skin is completely exposed, such as their nose, you can apply special sunscreen to prevent burning.
Smaller furry friends such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters are in just as much danger from overheating as your bigger buddies. Ensure their cage is indoors and out of direct sunlight and consider draping some wet towels over it or installing a fan if the temperatures are extremely hot. Like cats and dogs, these critters will love cool kitchen or bathroom tiles and a frozen water bottle or icepack in their cage will help them to regulate their own body temperature.
If you suspect that your animal is suffering from heatstroke and isn’t responding to cooling methods, contact an emergency vet straight away.