With the European summer warming up, it's imperative we pay particular attention to our fur friends. Our pets don't often have the same coping mechanisms in the heat as we do, so make sure you ensure they're kept safe with these simple reminders!
Summer's here so it's time to think about how to help our fur friends cope with the heat. And a few reminders about what not to do as well...
- Never, ever leave your pet alone in a car, even with the windows open!
- Always ensure they have access to clean, cool and fresh water but avoid ice-cold water
- Ensure any medications they take are ket out of the heat as this may alter their effectiveness
- Keep exercise to the coolest part of the day, especially the mornings (paws burn very easily!)
- Make sure they have access to a cool resting place at all times, out of the sun
Heatstroke can affect our pets quickly and easily, and poses a real threat to their lives. This can be caused by a warm, poorly ventilated room (much worse still a car), physical exercise during the hottest times of the day, limited access to water, or being exposed to the hot sun for too long.
When it comes to cars, the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cites that an outside temperature of 22 degrees can cause a car to heat to 47 degrees within an hour. Needless the say, this becomes far more extreme with hotter external temperatures.
Signs of heatstroke
- Heavy panting
- High temperature (above 39°C)
- Excessive drooling
- Drowsiness or collapsing
- Rapid heart rate
It's vital your pet is cooled down quickly. However, it's equally important not to do it so quickly, such as dunking them in a bath or pool of cold water, that the sudden change in temperature triggers other stresses on the body.
Instead, concentrate on getting them cool by following these steps:
- Quickly move your pet to a cool, shaded area
- Gently splash, not drench, your animal with water (not ice-cold). Wet towels can also help
- Provide small, regular sips of water but stop them from gulping down quickly
- If you have a fan, place this a few metres away from your pet on a setting that isn't too strong
- Call a vet immediately and let them know you are coming straight away
- Stay with your pet at all times and avoid touching them too much (soothing tones are best)
Some breeds like Bulldogs and Shi-Tzus are more susceptible to the heat, however pets suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, are overweight or elderly are also more likely to experience severe complications.
However, for any pet, the rule of thumb should always be to keep them out of the sun and heat, and in a safe and cool environment in which to ride out the day.
You might also like to check out these iced-treat recipes to help your pet keep cool this summer.
So, look out for your fur friend this summer so you can both enjoy the warmer weather together without finding yourselves in trouble!
How do you keep your pet cool in the summer?