With a predicted hot and humid summer around the corner, our pet friends are at risk of developing heat stroke. Animals lack the ability to sweat effectively so they rely mostly on breathing and their skin to lose heat. All pets, irrespective of fur, feathers or scales are susceptible to the effects of heat. Here are some tips to keep your pets comfortable and safe this summer.
Top ten tips to staying cool this summer
- Recognise the signs of heat stress and act fast. Quick action could save your pets life! Excessive panting, restlessness, vomiting and ‘brick red’ gums are common signs.
- Provide plenty of cool, fresh water in multiple plastic or terracotta bowls or buckets, add ice blocks and take cold water and a bowl with you on outings.
- Leave fans or the air-conditioner on all day (or during the hottest times of the day)
- Avoid all exercise during the heat of the day, leaving this to the very early morning or if cool enough, at night-time.
- Never leave your pet in a car, irrespective of the time of the year, but especially during summer. Pets can die within minutes in a hot car.
- Avoid ball or frisbee play and don’t allow your pet to over-exert themselves.
- Give free access to shade, cool surfaces (indoor tiles or cold garage cement) to lay on
- Avoid hot pavements or roads that can burn the paw pads of both dogs and cats.
- Don’t tether your pet or leave them outside on hot days.
- Provide extra attention to dogs or cats with short noses, older or overweight pets
Summer care for brachycephalic dogs and cats
Extra special care must be taken with brachycephalic pets – dogs and cats with short faces – such as French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Pekingese, Persians and Himalayans. These breeds have a huge risk of heat stroke as their ability to breathe is compromised via their relatively ‘squished’ small head and throat. The slightest increase in temperature and/or humidity can tip these dogs into a true emergency, especially if they are exercising, resting in the sun or inside a hot room. Watch out for excessive panting, dark ‘brick red’ gums, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures or collapse. Immediately wet them down with cool water, place in front of a fan or air-conditioner and get to your nearest vet (contact the vet on the way for further advice). Find your local Greencross Vets clinic here.