We all know that awful feeling of being too hot, struggling to get cool and being restless because you just can’t get comfortable. Our pets can also feel this way during the warmer months and because they can’t tell us when they’re feeling this way, it’s important that we know the signs of overheating and how to keep dogs and cats cool as well as our smaller pets.
Below you’ll find plenty of tips and handy pet accessories to make sure your pet is chilled this summer.
Pet grooming in summer
Because of how our pets have evolved, experts have now determined that their long fur can actually often help to keep them cooler during warm weather. It prevents the UV rays from penetrating their skin, which means if you shave their fur it could leave them exposed to these harmful rays, causing sunburn and the risk of skin cancer.
A good way of keeping both dogs and cats cool is to groom them regularly to get rid of any tangles or loose fur. Dog brushes are perfect for clearing away any old fur, and there’s lots of cat grooming tools to keep kitty happy too. Don’t forget smaller animals like rabbits too – there’s plenty of small animal grooming options for keeping rabbits cool in summer as well as other small friends.
Keeping your house cool
If it’s particularly hot outside, it’s best to keep your pet indoors and out of direct sunlight, especially during the middle of the day. There are a number of ways to make your indoor space as cool as possible:
- Close curtains and blinds: this will help to keep rooms much cooler.
- Open windows: create as much of a natural breeze as you can in your home by opening all the windows.
- Install fans: to circulate the air in your home, place fans in the rooms that your pets have access to. Try to leave some space in front of the fans too so your pets can take their afternoon naps there.
- Keep floor space clear: try to keep the floors clear of rugs etc., especially if you have tiled or wooden floors. These will be naturally cooler than carpets, which will be a welcome relief for a warm dog or moggie.
- Always have fresh water available: place their water bowl somewhere that will prevent it getting knocked over while you’re out. A double diner set on a stand is perfect for dogs – and don’t forget a dog water bottle for when you’re on the go.
- Make it icy cold: a great way to keep your dog cool at night is to wrap a frozen water bottle in a towel and place it next to their bed. This works for keeping smaller animals cool too when placed next to their cage but avoid putting it in their sleeping areas as it could get too cold for them.
Exercising in summer
If it’s going to be a warm day, the ideal time for pets to be exercised is early in the morning or late in the evening. You also need to take care in areas where your dog is walking on certain surfaces, e.g. asphalt or concrete as this can burn their paws. For example, when it’s 25°C (77°F) outside, the heat of asphalt can be as much as 52°C (125°F). If you are concerned about this, place the back of your hand on the surface first to see if it’s okay for your pet’s delicate paws.
Dogs in hot cars
Do not leave your dog in the car in warm weather. A car can quickly heat up and become an oven even if you don’t think it’s that hot outside. If you see an animal that’s in distress in a locked hot car, call 999 and follow instructions from the police. Dogs in hot weather in the car can quickly become poorly and it’s important to take this matter seriously.
Top tips for how to cool down a dog
- Make sure your dog always has access to clean, fresh water
- Don’t walk your dog in the middle of the day when it’s warm
- Keep your house as cool as possible
- Never leave your dog alone in a car
- Buy a blow-up paddling pool for dogs to splash around in (never use freezing cold water). Or, try a sprinkler to see if they like it
Preventing heatstroke and dehydration
If your pet is suffering from heatstroke, they’ll display some of the following symptoms: diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of coordination, lethargy, red gums/tongue, a rapid pulse, excess salivation and heavy panting.
If your pet has any of these symptoms, try to reduce their temperature by covering them in cool water (or using a towel soaked in cold water) and try to get them to take sips of water, until their breathing slows back down. Call your vet to get their advice, and if you’re concerned take them straight to the vets as heatstroke can be fatal.
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