We know it’s summertime and all you want to do is have fun and play in the sun, but please spare a thought for your pet friends, as heat stress can be fatal.
The best way to deal with heat stroke is to prevent it.
Keeping your pets cool and comfortable on a hot day is your responsibility . Remember, most pets have fur coats and a good groom or clip will help them remain cool.
Watch them closely if they are joining in outdoor activities.
Avoid exercising your pet in the hottest hours of the day and, if possible, bring them indoors during the midday heat. Ensure your pet always has fresh water and shade and never leave them alone in a car on a warm day, even with the windows open!
Watch your pet for heavy breathing or panting or restlessness, especially some of the popular flat-faced (brachiocephalic) dogs like pugs and bulldogs. If your pet is sluggish or suddenly tired, prevent further exercise and offer them water. Senior pets or pets that are a bit poorly also have difficulty voluntarily getting out of the heat.
Look for the warning signs:
- Excessive panting;
- Increased heart rate;
- Seizures or strange behaviour
- Overly red/purple gums;
- Pets that whine or seem agitated;
- In cases of severe heat stress or heat stroke, pets may stop panting and vomit.
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, a vet should be consulted immediately. Keep your local vet’s contact details in your emergency kit.
Tips to keep your pets cool on hot days
- Have plenty of fresh, cool water available always;
- Avoid the midday sun;
- Don’t overexercise your pet when it’s hot – keep your walks or play sessions to early mornings and late afternoons;
- Take extra care of long-haired, overweight, young or older pets;
- Keep in mind that some breeds are more susceptible to heat stress (e.g. boxers and pugs, Pekinese dogs and Persian cats);
- Never leave your pet in a parked car – the temperature in your car can be lethal within minutes;
- Groom and clip your pet to keep them cool and avoid a matted coat;
- Ensure your pet always has shade or bring them inside into a cool room;
- Wipe your pet down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on;
- Wet your dog with cool water several times throughout the day.
- Consider buying a wading pool for your dog;
- For cats, rub damp hands over their coat or along their tummy;
- Place ice blocks in your pet’s water bowl;
- Place ice in a pillowcase and place it near your pets;
- Consider having your dog clipped if its coat is long and thick.