Not all people like or can cope well with hot weather, and the same can be said for our pets. Summer is here, bringing with it rising temperatures that sometimes become too much to handle. Since your pet has limited ability to manage her body temperature, it is down to you, as her owner, to implement strategies to keep her cool and safe this summer.
To help you do just that, here are some of our favorite hot weather tips for pets.
Don’t leave your pet in a hot car
For many people, it may be obvious, but there are still a shocking number of cases each year where animals become seriously ill or pass away because they have been left unattended in a vehicle on a warm day. It doesn’t even need to be particularly hot outside for temperatures inside the vehicle to reach dangerous levels, often in just ten minutes. If the outside temperature is 84° it will be at least 98° inside your vehicle. Unfortunately, parking in the shade or leaving windows open won’t help. For your pet’s sake, leave her at home.
Make sure she has plenty of access to water
Your pet probably drinks a fair amount during the day anyway, but her water consumption is particularly important during the summer months when the temperatures rise, and her body uses more water just to function. Make sure she has access to cool, fresh water at all times and be sure to refresh and replenish bowls regularly. Know the signs of dehydration so that you can seek veterinary advice if needed. These include dry, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, a dry nose, lethargy, struggling to urinate or total failure to urinate. The latter can be deadly, so urgent veterinary attention is required.
Limit exercise to cooler times of the day
Do you fancy going on a hike in the heat? No? Neither does your pet. Not only is doing any form of physical activity when it is hot but if you aren’t careful, you may also find that the ground, which you have the luxury of walking on in shoes, is too hot for your pet’s paws. Be sure to check it with the back of your hand before you head out. If you can’t hold your hand it for more than 10 seconds, it will burn your pet’s paws. Save walks and any other exercise for the coolest parts of the day instead.
Groom her coat
Your pet’s coat doesn’t just keep her warm in winter, it also lets cooler air in to circulate against her skin and help her regulate her body temperature. However, it can only do this if it is in good condition and not clogged with matted, dead hair and debris. A super-intense brushing session will help remove any tangles and fluff, leaving her coat in optimal condition for keeping her cool.
Give her access to shade
It’s fine for your pet to continue to spend time outdoors provided that she has plenty of access to shade. Sunburn doesn’t only affect humans, our pets can be affected too so it is important to keep her out of the direct sun for prolonged periods, and to apply sunscreen when she is. Better still, create a cool room in the house where she is safe and comfortable to hang out when the temperature gets too hot. Rooms with tiled floors are ideal as these stay cool for your pet to lie against. Make sure there is water in the room, and air circulating.
Feeling prepared to protect your pet from the heat this summer? If you need more advice and support, our dedicated veterinary experts will be happy to help. Contact our offices today to speak to us or to arrange an appointment.