Summer appears to finally have arrived and we are all enjoying the sunny weather and al fresco dining. Here are some tips on keeping our four legged friends cool and healthy during this lovely season.
Top tips on keeping your pets cool in the hot weather
Dogs in hot cars die: Never ever leave your pet alone in a hot car. Even if it feels only warm to us it can get unbearably hot very quickly inside a car. When temperatures outside are 22 degrees celsius they can rise to 47 degrees celsius inside the car within 60 minutes. Dogs pant to keep themselves cool and leaving a window open or putting a sunshade up is not enough to keep your car cool.
Any pets living outside need a cool shaded area where they can shelter.
Don’t leave pets in conservatories or greenhouses, like cars these can get dangerously hot very quickly. Your pet needs to be able to move to a cool well ventilated spot at all times.
Keep your pets well groomed and remove excess hair regularly.
Dogs still need exercise in the summer but take them out in the cooler mornings and evenings.
Animals can get sunburned too, especially light coloured dogs and cats. Use suncream on noses and ear tips. White cats can be particularly prone to developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma on ear tips which is thought to be exacerbated by UV light so be particularly diligent with suncream application if your cat’s ears are white.
Heat stroke can be fatal. Some breeds of dogs are more at risk than others such as short nosed breeds for example bulldogs, boxers, staffordshire bull terriers, mastiffs and similar. Also very old and very young dogs can be more susceptible as can dogs with certain medical conditions such as heart disease.
Signs of heat stroke include: excessive drooling and panting, very red tongue and gums, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases collapse.
If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke then move them to cool shaded area immediately. You can shower your pet in cool (not cold) water until their breathing settles and let them drink small amounts of cool water. Call your vet for advice.
Barbecues and summer parties
We are all enjoying garden parties and barbecues and it can be tempting to let your dog have access to tidbits. The odd bit of sausage won’t hurt but be careful to not overdo it as fatty foods that your dog is not used to can cause an upset tummy and in some instances an inflamed pancreas. Beware of kebabs – these sticks can be dangerous if swallowed whole by a greedy dog. And don’t be tempted to give your dog corn on the cob or cooked bones, if not chewed properly they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
We wish you all a happy and safe summer!