How to keep your pet cool in the summer sun
With the summer fast approaching, it’s important to ensure your pet remains cool during the hot summer months. While most pets enjoy the summer weather, with the sun shining down on them while they’re running around the garden, it is important to ensure they don’t become overheated and ill as a result.
Hot weather can cause a number of health problems for pets as their smaller body size means they’re more likely to suffer from heatstroke. They are also unable to tell us when they’re too hot which means we’re responsible for spotting the signs that they need help.
To get you started, here are some tips to help you and your pets make it through the summer safely.
Keep dogs and pets out of cars
Never, ever leave your dog or cat in your car unattended on a hot day. Not even for a few minutes.
Although you may choose to leave your windows or the sunroof open a little, temperatures can still rise quickly and lead to heatstroke. According to the RSPCA, the temperature in a car with its windows up can reach 47°C within an hour, even if it’s only 22°C outside.
We all get delayed in shops and queues, so never take the risk and keep your dog and other pets out of hot cars at all times.
Plenty of shade for your pet
It’s important you always place any cages or runs in shaded parts of your garden and never allow any pet to sit in direct sunlight.
When your pets are outside during hot weather, you should also ensure they have ample access to clean, fresh water and change this regularly throughout the day to ensure they stay hydrated.
Always be on the lookout for warnings
Making sure you know the signs of heatstroke is essential for any pet owner because all animals get overheated easily. Unlike humans, who sweat, our pets do not have efficient cooling systems and need to be checked regularly. Be vigilant and ensure you keep an eye out for the following main symptoms:
- Excessive panting
- Extreme salivation of the mouth
- Distress and possible collapse
If any of these symptoms occur you can begin to gradually reduce your pet’s temperature by wrapping them in wet towels which are cool but not freezing cold. Change the towels frequently and call your vet for professional advice immediately.
Walk your dog at the right time
It is always important for dogs to get regular exercise through daily walking, but particularly in the summer months when you need to plan your strolls a little more carefully. Your usual walking time may no longer be the most suitable and instead you should aim to go out any time before 8am or after 5pm. This will allow the hottest part of the day to pass and means road and pavements are less likely to be uncomfortably hot or even burn your pet’s delicate paws.
You should also keep your dog’s fur as short as possible in summer so they don’t overheat on their walks.
Ensure they have access to clean, fresh water when they return home and take water with you on your walk. If you are planning a long trip, water is also essential.
Remember basic car safety
While you should never leave animals in a car unattended during summer, you should also remember basic safety precautions when travelling with them in vehicles.
Keeping the internal temperature cool via climate control or opening windows whilst moving is fine, but you should never open windows wide enough for animals to put their head outside. You also need to make sure they are securely seated in the car and aren’t able to move around within the vehicle as this could lead to an accident.
Like with walking, it is also recommended you only go out in the car with your pet during the coolest parts of the day.